Let's Give UNC's Roy Williams Some Credit!

Michael PeilaCorrespondent INovember 27, 2008

Roy Allen Williams is head coach of the men's basketball team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  After averaging about an 80 percent win percentage in 15 seasons at the University of Kansas, he became the 18th head coach at North Carolina when he replaced Matt Doherty in 2003.

Williams is second all-time for most wins at Kansas behind Phog Allen, and third all-time in the NCAA for winning percentage.  He earned his 400th win in January 2003, when Kansas beat the University of Wyoming.  Coach Williams won his 500th career game against High Point University on Dec. 9, 2006 in Chapel Hill.

On April 4, 2005, Williams shed his title as "the most successful coach to never have won an NCAA ring" as his Tar Heels defeated the University of Illinois in the 2005 NCAA Championship game. Williams was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Pretty impressive resume, yet Roy Williams never gets credit for being the outstanding coach and person he truly is.

His "critics" always point out there have been lots of "loaded" teams he has coached that have never won a championship, and that he has only won one championship while winning with another coach's recruits.  Never mind that it takes more than "loaded" teams to win a championship, as injuries, timing, playing as a team, players' mentalities, etc. all play into that scenario.

Also, he took a group of players recruited by Doherty who were talented and had lots of potential, yet were dysfunctional as a team, and he molded them into a championship team.

Still, Roy Williams is overrated as a coach.  Sounds like either petty jealousies or his critics don't know what they are talking about.  I feel both apply.

I never hear how overrated coaches like Lute Olson, Jim Valvano, Jim Boeheim, and others are for not winning with "loaded" teams and only winning one championship.  Some great coaches never win a championship or even get their teams in the Final Four but have not come under the same scrutiny as Roy Williams.

It seems to me that some people are even at the point of loathing Williams.  Why all the hate and scrutiny?

In 1988, Williams left North Carolina and became the head coach of the University of Kansas Jayhawks, replacing former North Carolina assistant and UCLA head coach Larry Brown, who had taken the position as head coach of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs.  He was hired just months after the Danny Manning-led Jayhawks unexpectedly won the 1988 NCAA championship.

Weeks after taking the position, KU was placed on probation for violations that took place prior to his arrival.  Yet Williams coached 15 seasons at Kansas (from 1988-2003).  During that time he had a record of 418-101, a .805 winning percentage.  Williams' Kansas teams averaged 27.8 wins per season.

Except for his first season at Kansas (when the team was on probation), all of Williams' teams made the NCAA tournament.  Not bad taking over a program on probation with a depleted squad that still finished 19-12 with nothing really to play for.

Even though he did not win a championship at Kansas, he helped renew the greatness of a Kansas program that potentially could have fallen on bad times.

Coach Williams is not only an outstanding coach but also an outstanding person.  He donates to charity, and he and his wife are involved in community affairs.

The Williams family has contributed $200,000 to the Carolina Covenant, an initiative at North Carolina that allows low-income students to attend the University debt-free. Roy and Wanda serve as honorary co-chairs of a $10 million campaign to endow the program.

I have read many articles concerning recruits who have said that they want to play for Roy Williams because he is honest, doesn't promise anything, and will ultimately groom them to be better players and persons.

In an interview with the parents of Larry Drew II, Drew's mother did not want him to play so far away from home, but after talking with Coach Williams, felt that her son would be taken care of because Williams cared about his welfare.  The list goes on and on.

This year, I have been particularly impressed with how Williams has handled his team so far.  There is a significant difference in the maturity level and skill level these young men are playing at.  They are playing as a team and not looking to pad individual stats.  Williams demands a lot from his players and they are responding.

I for one am proud to be a UNC fan and love that Roy Williams is the coach.  I look forward to the rest of this year and the years to come, as the 2009 class looks to be outstanding and the 2010 class is rounding out to be another good one.

This year and the years to come will show how great a coach and person Williams is as he molds his players to play team ball and also assists them in becoming valuable members of society.  GO HEELS!!!

Here are some of Williams' accomplishments as a coach.

* Williams won more games in the first 15 seasons of his coaching career than anyone else in NCAA history.

* Williams is the 12th coach to lead two schools to the Final Four and the third (with Larry Brown and Frank McGuire) to direct two schools to the championship game.

* Williams is third all-time in NCAA Tournament wins with 49 and has an NCAA postseason win percentage of .731, fourth-best among active coaches. Eight of his teams have been seeded No. 1 in a region in NCAA play.

* Williams has coached a team to 30 or more wins eight times, which is the second-most in NCAA history. He has won 20 or more games 18 times in 20 years (winning 19 in his first seasons at Kansas and North Carolina), including 14 straight seasons at Kansas, a streak that equaled the third-longest in NCAA history.

* He was the third-fastest coach in history to reach 300 wins and fourth fastest to 400. He reached 500 wins in his 19th season, faster than any other Division I coach.

* He has won more games than any coach after eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 seasons as a head coach. He is the second-winningest Jayhawk coach in history behind Smith's college coach, Phog Allen.

* Williams earned National Coach of the Year honors at Kansas in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1997 and was Big Eight/Big 12 Coach of the Year seven times (1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2002, and 2003). The New York Athletic Club presented him with its National Coach of the Year award in 2005. He received the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award in 2003 from the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

* Williams helped coach Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece with fellow North Carolina alumnus (and former Kansas coach) Larry Brown.

* Williams is the winningest active coach by percentage among coaches with at least 10 years experience. His teams have a 566-134 record, a win percentage of .808.

* Williams captured his 100th overall victory since coaching in the ACC on March 4, 2007, against the Duke Blue Devils. Williams is the second-fastest ACC coach to reach 100 victories.

*  Williams has won at least one game in the NCAA Tournament for 19 consecutive years (all-time record).