ROY WILLIAMS                    KU Record: 418-101  80.5%  15 years

Roy Williams
  • A Century of Basketball
  • Home At Last, by Will Mack, Sports Illustrated
  • Nothin' But Net


Williams' Honors

National Coach of Year (Naismith)
National Coach of Year (The Sporting News)
Big 12 Conference Coach of Year (AP)
Big 12 Conference Coach of Year (Coaches)
District Coach of Year (USBWA)

Big Eight Conference co-Coach of Year (Coaches)

Big Eight Conference co-Coach of Year (Coaches)

National Coach of Year (Associated Press)
District Coach of Year (Kodak)
District Coach of Year (USBWA)
Big Eight Conference Coach of Year (AP)
NABC East West All-Star Game Head Coach

National Coach of Year (USBWA)
National Coach of Year (Molten/Billy Packer)
Big Eight Conference Coach of Year (AP)
Big Eight Conference Coach of Year (UPI)

National Rookie Coach of Year (Basketball Times)

The Roy Williams Coaching Tree

Seven former Roy Williams assistant coaches, players and managers are currently coaching in the Division I or NBA ranks. Jerry Green, Steve Robinson, Kevin Stallings, and Mark Turgeon are all former Williams aides now serving as head coaches on the Division I level. Green is at Tennessee after previously coaching at Oregon. Robinson is the head coach at Florida State after previously coaching Tulsa. Turgeon begins his first head coaching job this season at Jacksonville State. Eric Pauley, an assistant coach under Green at Tennessee, played for the Jayhawks in 1992 and 1993. Price and Wingate both learned the coaching profession as student-managers for Williams.

Source:  A Century of Basketball



By William Mack, Sports Illustrated, March 10, 1997

Roy Williams, the coach of Kansas, can still close his eyes and see his mother, her raven-black hair pulled back, standing at the stove with her apron on, cooking biscuits and milk gravy and sausages. Or canning green beans and tomatoes for winter meals. Or standing over and ironing board with piles of other folks' clothes at her feet. He doesn't remember her ever taking a vacation. As a mother of two---Roy and his older sister, Frances---and as the ex-wife of an alcoholic whose life had spun out of control, Lallage Williams had all she could do to provide for her family.

"For several years there, I really felt my mom had to battle every day to make things go, so that on Friday she could pay this bill and that and then have enough left for food," Roy says. "Some of my worst memories are coming home in sixth or seventh grade and finding her ironing. Ten cents for a shirts, 10 cents for a pair of pants. And this after she had worked all day. You don't think that was hard to see? I knew that a lot of moms didn't have to do that, and I didn't want to watch her, so I'd just leave."

Every day Roy would go over to the basketball courts at Biltmore Elementary School, and afterward he and his friends would stop at Ed's service station on Hendersonville Road, where each of them got a Coca-Cola from the vending machine---each of them except Roy. "I couldn't, because I didn't have ten cents," he says. When Mimmie heard that the boys stopped at Ed's after basketball, she asked Roy what he drank when the other boys had Cokes. "Oh, I just have some water," he told her. All these years later, Williams, who's now 46, can't tell his story without pausing to swallow hard as he describes walking into the kitchen the next morning, after Mimmie had gone to work, and seeing her on the corner of the table what would become for him the symbol of her goodness and her struggle. "There was 10 cents sitting there," he says.

This remains prominent among the searing memories of his boyhood days in North Carolina. So much so that when his old high school coach, Buddy Baldwin came to spend a weekend at Kansas two years ago, Williams told him the story all over again. At one point Williams escorted Baldwin out to the garage and pointed to a large refrigerator and told him, "Open that up."

Baldwin swung open the door and looked inside. All the shelves, from front to back, were lined with hundreds of cans of Coca-Cola Classic. Four unopened cases were piled on tip of the fridge. Williams then told Baldwin, "I said to myself back then, 'Someday I'm going to have all the Coca-Cola I want.' "  Clearly, Williams isn't a man who has forgotten where he came from.

For Baldwin and all those who remember Williams from his days at T.C. Robertson High, the first and foremost truth about him is this: Neither all the years of grinding in North Carolina nor all the seasons of glory in Kansas have altered his nature a whit. "He's like he was as a senior in high school," Baldwin says. "He hasn't changed at all."

What has changed dramatically, of course, is Williams's status. As of Monday, Kansas not only was ranked No. 1, as it had been through most of the season, but also was favored to win this week's Big 12 tournament and, indeed the NCAA title. But winds at Oklahoma and Nebraska last week, the Jayhawks ran their record to 29-1, their only defeat a 96-94 double-overtime loss at Missouri on Feb. 4.

This is the eighth straight season under Williams in which Kansas has had 25 or more victories. No major college coach has won more games faster. From 1946-47 to '54-55, North Carolina State's Everett Case had 241 wins, the best mark ever for a Division I coach over his first nine seasons---until Sunday, when Williams got No, 242 in Kansas's 85-65 defeat of the Cornhuskers. Along the way Williams has won five Big Eight or Big 12 regular-season conference championships outright. And his Jayhawks have made the NCAA tournament every year for the last seven seasons and twice have gone as far as the Final Four, including that magical tour de force in '91 when, at the end of his third season at Kansas, Williams guided his 12th ranked Jayhawks past No. 3 Indiana, No.2 Arkansas and No. 4 North Carolina---the team coached by Dean Smith, whom he'd served as an assistant for ten years---before losing the tournament final 72-65 to Duke.

"The thing that amazes me most about Roy is how he's gone from a total unknown to truly one of the elite," says Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton one of William's chief conference rivals. "He has accomplished so much so quickly."

Just as remarkable is the fact that Williams almost didn't take the Kansas job. It was July 7, 1988, and Williams had just cut short a Bermuda vacation with his wife, Wanda---the first he had taken alone with her in four years---to answer Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick's request that he fly at once to Lawrence for an interview. Just three months earlier Danny Manning and the Miracles had cut down the nets in Kansas City after beating Oklahoma 83-79 for the national title, but no sooner had the cheering stopped than Larry Brown, the Jayhawks' coach, bolted for the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA, leaving behind an empty chair and a scent of impropriety strong enough that the NCAA has come sniffing.

At the urging of Smith, a Kansas alumnus, Frederick had already met once with Williams, at the Atlanta airport when Roy and Wanda were en route to Bermuda. Before that two-hour meeting was over, Frederick sensed that he had found his man---the heir to James Naismith, Phog Allen and the 90 years of basketball tradition in Lawrence.

"I know I'll catch a lot of heat for this in Kansas," Frederick had told Smith after his first meeting Williams. In fact, Frederick caught heat for it in his own household. The night before Williams was to arrive in Kansas, as Frederick was undressing for bed, his wife, Margey, asked him, "Who are you going to hire?" Her husband did not answer. Reading a message in his silence, she said, "You're not going to hire that no-name assistant from North Carolina, are you?"  "Yes, I am," he replied firmly.  "You can't do that," she said. The alumni will kill you. They want a big-time coach."

So it was, the very next evening, that this obscure, unproven lieutenant of Smith's---who wasn't even his first assistant, mind you, but his second---sat uneasily in Frederick's office, facing a skeptical search committee and trying desperately to come to terms with his own ambivalence.

Because Williams had grown up in a family devastated by alcohol, he had emerged from adolescence reaching for those moorings---predictability and structure---that had always been denied him. Williams had found those thing in Chapel Hill during the years he had safely cocooned himself in the regimented world according to Smith, and now suddenly there he was on the brink of trading them away for the chance, with all its uncertainties, to run his own show.

That he was also hounded by doubts about his own abilities---"Coach, are you sure that you think I can do this?" He had asked Smith---only paralyzed him further. True to himself, thinking that he ought to share his doubts with Frederick and the others, even at the risk of scaring them away, Williams launched into a moving soliloquy about his love for Chapel Hill and North Carolina.

He told his interviewers about how he had grown up in Asheville and gone to high school there; about how he had played freshman basketball as a walk-on at North Carolina in 1968-69 and, not having been good enough to make the varsity, as a sophomore had begun to keep team stats and dream of one day coaching in Chapel Hill; about how he had married a North Carolina girl, born and bred; about how he had gone home again to Asheville as a high school coach and the had been invited by Smith to join the Tar Heels' staff as a part-time assistant; and how about how he and Wanda had packed up the U-Haul and left the mountains of western Carolina to fulfill their dream.

The group listened in silence. "Chapel Hill has been a dream place for me," Williams told them in his Blue Ridge drawl. "Everything I wanted my dream world to be started and happened there. I am coaching college basketball at North Carolina…Folks; I'm not trying to upset you or anything. But I've got this little ol' voice in the back of my head saying, Boy! Why don't you tell these people, Thank you, and apologize for wasting their time and get your tail on back to North Carolina.' That's what I've got to fight. My love for North Carolina and leaving there."

His voice caught once or twice as he spoke, and then his eyes welled up as he finished and looked around the room and saw Galen Fiss, Smith's old Kansas roomie and a former linebacker with the Cleveland Browns, "with big 'ol tears rolling down his face, " Williams says. And Fiss blurted, "Roy, I want you to know this doesn't make me think any less of you at all. It makes me think more of you! Nobody can love Kansas any more than I do, and I know that you could love it like that too. I want that kind of person as our coach."

Williams is straighter than an Arrow shirt, so square that he's divisible by four, and cornier than a corncob pipe. But his emotions play very near the surface, and through Fiss he glimpsed a love of home that he'd been searching for, a sense that Chapel Hill was possible in Lawrence. So when, at the end of that interview, Frederick formally offered him the job, he shook Frederick's hand and took it.

Margey Frederick looks back in amusement at her reservations about Williams, but she had been right. When her husband chose a man who had not coached a varsity game since had a high school job 10 years earlier, there were stirrings among Jayhawks alumni. Monte Johnson, a former Kansas athletic director, says the prevailing sentiment at the time was, "We don't know Roy from Adam." Now Johnson calls him "the best coaching find of maybe the last 20 years." And Williams has become as large a part of the Jayhawks' basketball ethos as Phog Allen's tombstone, at which he dutifully stops and pays homage during his regular jogs through Oak Hill cemetery near the Kansas campus. Eddie Fogler, who worked alongside Williams for eight years as an assistant at Chapel Hill and is now the coach at South Carolina, looks back at all the hand-wringing in Kansas a decade ago and say with a chuckle, "Kansas people wanted every big name in the business, and rightfully so, and they got stuck with little rinky-dink from Asheville, North Carolina…."

Asheville is the birthplace of Thomas Wolfe, the author of You Can't Go Home Again, and Roy's father, Mack Clayton (Babe) Williams, has long lived his own painful variation of that novel's theme. Babe is 70 and works part time doing yard work and hauling loads in his pickup, and on this February night he is smoking unfiltered Pall Malls, one after another, on the front porch of the house on Warren Avenue that he shares with fourth wife, Margaret. Almost 40 years ago, from 1958 to '63, Babe lived next with Mimmie and their two kids, in a household tossed and buffeted by Babe's drinking.

"I had the nicest family," says Babe. "I had the nicest woman a man could ever have. There wasn't no better cook, no better wife in the United States. She was the best mother I've ever known. I've never known two kids as sweet, either. I was stupid, I reckon. I wanted to be a damn smart aleck, trying to show people I could do things which I shouldn't be doin'. We had good times around here until I started drinking. Well, like I said, I went on the wrong track, that's all. If I had only done like a man's supposed to, but I didn't."

Roy had just turned eight when the Willamses moved to Warren Avenue, and he remembers well the pain and turbulence of the five years there. "Things were really tough," he says. "It wasn't pleasant. Back then I didn't understand it, I didn't like it, but I didn't let it dominate my life."

There were days when life with father grew rockier than usual, and Mimmie would pack up and leave home with the children. More than once they lived for a couple of weeks in a room at the Shamrock Court Motel, owned by a relative, and they spent one hot, dusty summer living in a small motor home in a trailer park. Mimmie's periodic flights and the subsequent reconciliation's made for a nomadic existence for Frances and Roy. "We bounced around quite a bit," Roy says.

Through the years, Roy grew fiercely devoted to his mother---a strong, shy, humble woman of whom he says, "If there was ever an angel, it was my mom." Sometimes Frances would stay with a cousin for a while, but Roy would remain behind with his mother. "He never spent a night away from home until high school," Frances says. "He felt he needed to be there. He was like a protector to her."

Mimmie and Babe split up permanently in 1963, when she moved with the children from Warren Avenue into a small, two bedroom house on Reed Street that she rented for $50 a month. After years of bouncing around, Roy at last felt grounded. And free to be a boy. "I was like a kid left all night in a candy store," he says. Just two blocks away way Biltmore Elementary, which had a gymnasium with indoor hoops and lighted outdoor courts, and Roy began spending endless hours there shooting baskets. He had been a lone in those gypsy years, and the game of basketball, more than any other, fit his solitude. "I loved it more because I could do it when I was alone," Williams says. "Give me a ball and a goal, and I was in heaven. It was my refuge. I could go to Biltmore, and there were no problems in the world."

For all that he has been through in his life, Williams betrays no trace of anger or self-pity over his early home life. "I never, never cried myself to sleep at night," he says, "and I never wanted to away from home." The boy who emerged from the house on Reed Street was his mother's son. Possessed of an easy manner, a surpassingly generous nature and a will to sacrifice, he always eschewed the easy way to get where he way going.

If you look closely, you can find expressions of Williams's resolve in the way his teams play the game. As close as Smith and Williams are in the style of basketball they teach---and much of what Williams preaches in Lawrence has its origins in Chapel Hill---they disagree on one finer point of the game: Confronted by a screen, do man-to-man defender switch or do they fight through the pick? With all the illegal moving screens being set these days, Smith argues in favor of switching. No Williams, who says, "I don't want to give players the easy way out. That's lazy. Ever seen anybody screened when he is in a defensive stance? Get in a defensive stance and fight through it!"

This is vintage Williams, and it expresses, with simple eloquence, the approach he has taken at some of the crucial bends and forks of his life. At T.C. Roberson High, Williams found in Baldwin the father figure he lacked, the man who taught him how to play the game and gave the boy a sense of purpose and a belief in himself that he'd never had before. " I liked Roy's attitude, his competitiveness, the way he way always 'Yessir!" and 'Nosir!' and how he played both ends and tried to do everything you told him," says Baldwin. "Watch his teams play. That's how he was."

Baldwin hits all the right cords. "He was the first person to give me confidence," Williams says, "the first to really make me feel I could be somebody."

At Baldwin's prodding, Roy had decided by the time he was a high school senior that he wanted to be a coach. That decision was father to a passion. "It became the most important thing in the world for me," Williams says. "I woke up in the morning, and it was the first thing I thought about, and when I went to bed at night, it was the last thing I thought of." Again at the urging of Baldwin, who had attended North Carolina, Roy aimed straight east toward Chapel Hill, but because he had no money, it was the hardest of the three routes, he could have taken to college. He was a good enough high school player that he could have had a ride at some smaller western Carolina school. He was also an excellent student and was tendered a full scholarship to study engineering at Georgia Tech, but he spurned that offer, much to the dismay of math teacher Rosa Lee Baldwin, whose lilting Southern accent belied her reputation as the toughest instructor at Roberson High. In class one afternoon she chided Roy for tuning down the Georgia Tech scholarship, warning all the girls in class, including William's future wife, Wanda Jones, not to have anything to do with him. Williams, imitating her slow draw, still recalls her remarks with relish: "Now, you grr-lls, I don't want any of you grrr-lls to mess with Roy, cuz Roy is not gonna take this engineering scholarship cuz he wants to be a coach. An' one of these days, Roy is gonna come over to my house to borrow a loaf of bread…"

He could have used a loaf or two during his first year at Carolina, which he financed by patching together enough in loans and grant to make it through. In his second semester he began working four nights a week as an intramural softball umpire and thereby hit upon a way to subsidize his education. Williams later became an intramural official for other sports and then the supervisor of officials. He kept stats for Smith at home games and with Smith's permission, began in his sophomore year to attend practices as if they were academic lectures: Sitting high in the bleachers, he was a lone and feverish scholar, scribbling notes on how Smith taught the game and orchestrated his clockwork practices.

In 1973 Charles Lytle, the principal of Owen High in Swannanoa, N.C., which is 10 miles east of Asheville, hired Williams as basketball coach, and the reaction was a harbinger of what would happen in Lawrence many years later. "I was laughed at when I hired him." Says Lytle. "Everybody told me, He's nothing but a statistician at North Carolina!' But I've never known anybody who could motivate kids like he could."

During his five years at Owen High, he turned his teams into an extended family and tried to instill in his players the same sense of self-worth that Baldwin had imparted to him years before. He took them on steak cookouts, had them over to his house to watch television and fed them milk and doughnuts during off-season shootarounds. He and Wanda, whom he had married in 1973, right after getting a master's degree in education at Chapel Hill, packed ham-and-cheese sandwiches and drinks for road trips. "I felt like a part of his family," says one of his players, Porky Spencer. "My father drove a truck and wasn't around much, and Roy was my father."

The players began to sound like Williams after Baldwin got to him. "He always made you feel like you were somebody," another former player, Bobby Stafford, says. "I don't care how much you had or who you were. He made you feel like you mattered. See his players diving on the floor in Kansas? That's what he had us doing."

Smith had employed Williams at his basketball camp for several summers, and in 1978, when a position for a part-time assistant opened on his staff at North Carolina, Smith offered it to Williams. The job paid $2,700 a year. By then, the Williamses had an infant son and a mortgage to pay on their new house, and they both had good jobs---Wanda was high school English teacher---that would pay them a combined $30,000 a year. When Williams mentioned the offer to Wanda, she groaned in protest. "That's the dumbest idea I've heard of," she said. "We've got a new baby. We just moved into this house. I'm from here. You're from here. Our friends are all here. For $2.700 a year?"

Roy nodded, but the look in his eyes said that staying in Asheville would be like taking that scholarship from Georgia Tech. "When do we leave?" she asked.

And so, with that U-Haul hitched to their old blue Mustang, they left the mountains for Chapel Hill. They scratched to survive. Smith had arranged a high school teaching job for Wanda, at $9,000 a year, and he gave his new lieutenant a job as courier. Every Sunday, during football and basketball season, Williams would rise at 5 a.m., climb in his car and drive 250 miles to deliver videotapes of Smith's weekly television---or in the fall, the football coach's show---to the TV stations in Greensboro and Asheville. After pausing in Asheville to have breakfast with his mother, he would drive back to Chapel Hill. That was 500 miles of driving for $105, minus the cost of gas. "On his day off, he's spending nine hours in the car," Fogler says. Williams did that for five years.

When school was out, he had to find another source of income, so he began another career, as a traveling salesman, selling calendars that pictured members of the Tar Heels basketball team. In the summer of '79, sharing all profits with a middleman who did nothing, he drove 9,000 miles around North Carolina, sold 10,500 calendars and netted $2,400 for himself. "The hardest thing I ever did in my life," he says. "The middle man never made one phone call or drove a mile. I got a lot smarter and got rid of him." The summer of '80 he made $9,000, and his profits soared every year thereafter. By 1987, with all the contacts he had made over the years, he was making $30,000 a year on the sideline. "I was the best calendar salesman in the country," he says.

A year later, of course, Williams was selling Kansas door-to-door around the country, and he was just as persuasive as a recruiter. That first fall he got verbal commitments from three highly regarded prospects---Adonis Jordan and Harold Miner, both from California, and Thomas Hill, from Texas. But then trouble came. Kansas was hit with NCAA probation that fall for violations that had occurred on Brown's watch, and the penalty was severe: no postseason play for a year, and the loss of three scholarships and all paid campus recruiting visits for one year. That scared off Hill, who called to say he would be going to Duke instead. A teary-eyed Miner told Williams that he was sorry but he was going to USC. Now Williams had to the sales job of his life and persuade Jordan, the point guard he needed to stay. "Sometimes you just have to believe in somebody, and that's what I'm asking you to do---to have some belief in me," he told Jordan. When Jordan said he would honor his commitment, Williams went into the coach's office and wrote on the blackboard, HOORAY…ADONIS IS COMING.

Just as revealing was an incident that occurred later in Jordan's career. He was late for the bus as the Jayhawks left for a road game at Oklahoma. That's an intolerable sin in Williams's world. So the bus left without Jordan who had to catch a ride back to Lawrence with the radio crew. Yes, Williams had wooed Jordan hard---but not so hard that he couldn't discipline him later.

Williams's players uniformly offer that they trusted him right off, at the moment they met him. Scot Pollard the Jayhawks 6'11" senior center, says that one recruiter buttered him up by saying he would bet the next Shaquille O'Neal. "I knew that wasn't true," Pollard says. "Coach doesn't blow smoke, and I be the loses players because he doesn't. He just told me, 'You have the chance to be part of a great program and be a great player in it. I've got some things I can teach you, but it's up to you.' No promises."

Not surprisingly, Williams relates to mothers as though they all are named Mimmie. In 1990 Patrick Richey was a high school senior leaning toward Missouri when Williams paid a visit to his home. At one pint, Richey says, Williams looked June Richey in the eye and said, "If your son comes to Kansas, I will take care him exactly the same way I would want you to take care of my son if I sent him to live with you." After Williams left, Patrick says, "My mother stood up and said, 'Folks, we're going to Kansas!' "

What players find when they get to Lawrence is regimented world. Williams is a compulsive organizer. His practice plans are organized literally to the minute, in the manner of Smith's, right down to the Deano touch that seniors get more time for water breaks than freshmen do. In consequence when matters get tight late in a game, the players know they have a system they can count on. Say Nebraska coach Danny Nee, "looking at Kansas basketball is similar to looking at Nebraska football. You might have a turnover here, a bad pass there, but the Jayhawks play with consistency, and certain things are always going to be there---rebounding, defense, the contesting of shots, hustle. That's what separates them from the pack. The team, even when it's playing poorly, plays together. It's not disjointed, ever. The system is a constant. Kansas plays like a team that always has momentum on its side."Williams demands that players work tenaciously at both ends of the floor, and when they don't, he can go off. He has an explosive, vein-popping temper---he fires Magic Markers against walls, kicks over trash cans, throws duffel bags across room---and more than once has kicked all hands out of practice for lack of effort. One day, when guard Rex Walters was playing defense lackadaisically, Williams heaved him from a workout, bellowing, and "Get out of my sight! Don't contaminate me!"

He has been known to plunge into dark depressions when the season is over, and he stews on the defeat that has ended the Jayhawks' latest run in the NCAA tournament. His peers say that no coach takes losing any harder than Williams. "I don't have nightmares, because I don't sleep," he says.

Whatever happens this March, Williams cannot see himself in any better place. He has already turned down a couple of offers to coach in the NBA, including a bid from the Los Angeles Lakers for $1millon a year in 1992, and he has no intention of going anywhere right now. The abiding fear in Lawrence is that Smith, 66, will be leaving soon, and that Chapel Hill be beckoning Williams. "The Kansas guys keep calling me," says Smith. "You know, 'Are you all right? Is your health O.K.?' "

It has been a long, often difficult journey for Williams, but he has brought to his life the kind of order that his childhood lacked---though not without sadness. On July 7, 1992, while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, Mimmie died of cardiac arrest. "Part of my life ended there," he says. "Not just her life, but part of mine."

Roy has what Wanda describes as "an uneasy relationship" with his father---"It's something that his dad doesn't necessarily handle any better than he does," she says---and while Roy phones Babe occasionally, sends him Jayhawks hats and shirts, and keeps a picture of him in his wallet, he's not as close to him as he is, for instance, to Baldwin. Williams has never had his father come for a visit to Kansas. Says Wanda, "its not like Roy's dying to be best friends with his dad, and I think part of it is not so much that his father hurt him but that Roy thinks he hurt his mom." When Babe attended Mimmie's wake, father and son spoke for a few minutes alone, and for the first time Babe apologized to Roy. "I told him I was sorry about everything that happened," says Babe. "I said I lived his mother, and I still do. There's nothing I can do to change what I did."

Roy says he understands that. "It's over and done with, so let's go on," he says. He doesn't blame his father for what happened, he says, and while Frances believes Roy is still angry with Babe for how he treated Mimmie, Roy demurs. "I think I'm mad at alcohol," he says. "I don't think it's my dad that did that. I don't want him portrayed as the villain here. I believe [alcoholism] is a disease. I believe he is remorseful. How can I be mad at him for that? I love him. He's my dad, and that ain't gonna change."

Nowhere has it been more vividly clear that his child of a broken home has found a place for himself than it was on Feb. 22, after Kansas beat Kansas State in its final home game of this season and each senior was given the chance to speak to that day's crowd of 16,300 fans who lingered to hear them. The place was electric. Guard Jerod Haase, who lost his father just before he transferred to Kansas, said to Williams, "You've been like a father to me." And guard Jacque Vaughn began by saying, "You're not just a coach…." But he choked up and couldn't go on, and he and Williams ended up in a long, emotional embrace. In the end Williams told the crowd, "This is not only the greatest place in the world to play college basketball, this is the greatest place in the world to coach college basketball."  The standing crowds erupted as he walked away, reminding him once more that he was home again.


Back in 1988 (the dawn of Roy Williams' head coaching career) he was known as one of the top young coaches in the game. Six conference titles, two Final Four appearances and three national coach of the year honors later, Williams, still relatively young at 47, is simply known as one of the top coaches in all of basketball.

Coming into his 10th season at Kansas, Williams had compiled a record of 247-58. No coach in NCAA history won more games in his first nine seasons than Williams. His remarkable career winning percentage (.809) ranks second among all active Division I coaches.

After last season's sterling 34-2 record, Williams was named national coach of the year for the third time. He was also named the first ever Big 12 Conference coach of the year after earning the same honor in the Big Eight Conference four times.

Williams honed his coaching skills as an assistant coach at North Carolina for 10 years, learning under the winningest coach in college basketball history and Kansas graduate, Dean Smith.

What Williams' teams have accomplished in just nine years at KU is nothing short of remarkable: Two Final Four appearances (1991 and 1993), including a spot in the 1991 NCAA championship game. Six conference championships. Kansas won five of the final six Big Eight Conference crowns (1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996), then captured the first Big 12 Conference title last season by four full games. In the 1990s, Kansas has won more games than any other team. Over the last eight seasons, Williams' teams have averaged 28.5 wins per year, and the Jayhawks haven't won fewer than 25 games in a season since 1989. A school record eight straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament and five straight appearances in the NCAA's Sweet Sixteen. Two conference postseason tournament championships in 1992 and 1997. Williams' players have garnered first team all-conference honors nine times, first team All-America honors twice and conference player of the year twice.

Williams is on the National Association of Basketball Coaches board of directors. On the international level, Williams has worked as an assistant and head coach for various gold medal-winning USA teams.

Source:  Nothin But Net