Roy Williams Calls Leaving Kansas for UNC in 2003 'Low Point' of Career

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 20, 2020

SOUTH BEND, IN - FEBRUARY 17: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels is seen during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Purcell Pavilion on February 17, 2020 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Roy Williams has gone 467-152 and claimed three NCAA national championships since taking over as North Carolina's head men's basketball coach in 2003.

Yet he told Kansas City's 610 Sports Radio on Monday that didn't feel so great about his move from Kansas to North Carolina when he decided to leave the Jayhawks (h/t 247Sports' Scott Chasen):

"If I had known how dirty I was going to feel walking out of that meeting where I told the players I was leaving, I never could have done it. Because that was the low point. I just felt so worthless. And yet my sister was sick back in North Carolina. My dad was sick. My dad died—we weren’t real close, but my dad died the first year I was back. My sister died three years later. And coach [Dean] Smith himself had said, 'We wanted you the other time. We need you this time.'"

The Tar Heels previously tried to lure Williams in 2000, but he decided to stay in Lawrence.

"I went through it in 2000, and I had promised Nick Collison I was going to be there his whole career," Williams added. "And I never could figure out how to justify leaving after I promised a kid. That was the biggest thing."   

Williams led Kansas from 1988 through the 2002-03 campaign. The Jayhawks went 418-101 under Williams but never won a national championship.

The 2019-20 season saw Williams surpass the late Dean Smith, his mentor at North Carolina, for fourth on the Division I all-time wins list:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

North Carolina beats Miami 94-71, and Roy Williams captures career win number 880. He passes former @UNC_Basketball head coach and mentor Dean Smith for the fourth-most Division I wins all time. https://t.co/qjN9Vi1KLI

ACC Network @accnetwork

“He was the best there ever was on the court and he was even better off the court.” — @UNC_Basketball HC Roy Williams on the legendary Dean Smith https://t.co/FkPhKidqsx

The 70-year-old Williams grew up near Asheville, North Carolina, and completed his bachelor's degree in education at UNC in 1972.