Roy Williams is a Hall of Famer who racked up 903 wins over 33 seasons as a college head coach. He earned the right to walk away on his own terms.
With that said, man, he could have picked a better day to drop this bomb on us.
North Carolina’s official men’s basketball Twitter account caused a stir Thursday morning when it sent out a press release announcing that Williams has retired from coaching. The 70-year-old is scheduled to address the media during a 4 p.m. ET news conference on Thursday.
After 33 years as a Hall of Fame head coach, our beloved Tar Heel Roy Williams is announcing his retirement.
Thank you for all you have done and meant to everyone who plays and loves our game.
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) April 1, 2021
ESPN analyst Dick Vitale spoke for everyone when he tweeted, “I thought it was [an] April Fools’ joke, but it is true.”
OMG I thought it was April Fools joke but it is TRUE Hall of Famer ROY WILLIAMS @UNC_Basketball is retiring . He’s been so good that he is one of my MT RUSHMORES OF COACHING in my 40 + yrs @espn Bob Knight – Coach K – Dean Smith – ROY WILLIAMS / Thanks for ALL the memories !
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) April 1, 2021
The initial doubt was understandable given the date, but Tar Heels big man Armando Bacot confirmed the announcement was real.
Not an April fools
— Armando Bacot Jr. (@iget_buckets35) April 1, 2021
Williams had been “frustrated with the direction that college basketball is headed,” according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, who reported that Williams grew concerned about the increase in transfers and the ongoing battle over Name, Images and Likenesses (NIL). It’s possible that Williams was previously considering retirement and those issues pushed him toward the door.
In 18 seasons at North Carolina, Williams went 485-163 and captured national championships in 2005, 2009 and 2017. He coached Kansas for 15 seasons prior to his UNC tenure, finishing with a 418-101 record and four Final Four appearances.
With 903 total victories, Williams ranks third on the Division I all-time wins list behind only Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim. He is the only coach in NCAA history with 400 wins at two different schools.