April 11, 2021

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North Carolina Tar Heels basketball coach Roy Williams retires

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Roy Williams, who has led North Carolina to three NCAA titles in his 33 seasons as a college basketball head coach, is retiring, the school announced Thursday.

The 70-year-old Williams, after a 48-year coaching career, will hold a news conference on the court that bears his name at 4 p.m. ET Thursday.

Williams has spent 18 seasons at UNC, going 485-163 while leading the Tar Heels to national titles in 2005, 2009 and 2017. He also coached the Kansas Jayhawks for 15 seasons, taking them to four Final Four appearances, prior to leaving for his alma mater.

UNC lost to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament in his final game, which was Williams’ only first-round loss in 30 tournaments.

He ranks third all-time among Division I coaches in wins with a 903-264 record (.774 winning percentage), and he was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007. He is the only coach in NCAA history to post 400 wins at two different schools.

At Kansas, Williams led the Jayhawks to nine regular-season conference titles and two national championship game appearances.

After coaching for five years at Charles D. Owen High School in Swannanoa, North Carolina, Williams began his college career as an assistant under Dean Smith at North Carolina. After 10 seasons on the UNC bench, Williams left for Kansas to replace Larry Brown in 1988.

Over 15 seasons with the Jayhawks, Williams won nine regular-season conference titles and went to 14 NCAA tournaments — making it four times to the Final Four and twice to the national title game.

After losing in the national championship game in 2003, Williams decided to return to Chapel Hill.

It wasn’t Williams’ first dalliance with the Tar Heels’ job. He passed on taking over at UNC in 2000, after the retirement of Bill Guthridge. Two years after replacing Matt Doherty, however, Williams broke through for his first national championship in the first of five Final Fours with the Tar Heels.

He proceeded to lead the Tar Heels to the NCAA tournament in all but two of his seasons there. North Carolina won nine regular-season ACC championships and three conference tournament titles under Williams. In addition to his three national championships, Williams led UNC to two more Final Four appearances.

ESPN’s Jeff Borzello and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

2021-04-01 12:02:03

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