Day Three: Ten Keys to Roy Williams' Success

So as much as we hate North Carolina, we have to admit that Roy Williams has had a lot of success in his time in Chapel Hell. But why? Most Heel fans will be the first to tell that they’ve won two titles in five years, but they have no idea what makes Ole Roy so successful. Let’s take a look at the top ten keys to Roy Williams’ success.

10. He loves Coke. Doesn’t everyone?

This legendary commercial just says it all.


Just makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it? Even more fascinating was an interview with Yahoo! Sports earlier in the fall, where Roy admitted that he was, in fact, addicted to Coca-Cola.

I used to drink seven to 10 Cokes a day for 35 years. I’m still on the Coke products, but I drink Sprite Zero now because the sugar content of the Cokes is just too much for me. I went to the Mayo Clinic a few years ago to see about my vertigo, and they told me I needed to stop that other stuff. My triglycerides were through the roof, so they told me to cut back, and I ended up going on Lipitor also. Now I may have one Coke every two or three weeks. If I’m going to have a really good steak, I still love having a Coca-Cola Classic with that.

Steak and Coca-Cola Classic, huh? Stay classy, Chapel Hill.

9. He’s made the Nose Dome the best college basketball environment in the country.

This has been well-documented, but it’s just too funny not to list. Earlier this season, the Heels played Presbyterian at home. (Side note: that win is looking real good right now.) With six minutes to go in the second half, Deon Thompson was at the free throw line when a Presbyterian fan shouted ‘Hey Deon, don’t miss it!’ Of course, with the Dean Roy Dome deafeningly silent, this hardly obnoxious taunt (believe us, we know what obnoxious is) was heard by all, especially Ole’ Roy. He got into a brief shouting match with the fan, and then proceeded to have security escort the fan out of the stadium. After the blowout win, Roy had this to say:

“I don’t think anybody should yell anything negative at our players. Period. Let’s don’t make it a bigger thing than it is. But I just don’t think anybody should yell negative things toward our players (when) you come in on our tickets to watch our game.”

Freedom of speech? No thanks. Cheer for UNC, or out you go. Roy’s going to have a hell of a time in Cameron come March 6th.

8.  He’s loyal to his players.

He’s so loyal to some of his players that he’ll play them over more productive pieces on his team. Case in point: Marcus Ginyard versus Dexter Strickland. Don’t get me wrong – I hate both of these guys – but Strickland is clearly the better player. Ginyard is a fifth year senior (!) but still struggles to fulfill his role as a “defensive stopper” and can’t shoot to save his life. In seven games of ACC play, Ginyard has played 26 minutes per contest, averaging 3.3 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while shooting a whopping 22.8% from the floor. That’s garbage. From a fifth year senior? That’s just flat out terrible. Meanwhile, Strickland, meanwhile, has averaged 6.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while playing only 17.2 minutes per contest. The numbers aren’t eye popping, but it’s pretty clear that Strickland is making the most of his minutes…while Ginyard is just taking up space on the floor. But Roy being Roy continues to maintain that Marcus “grades out better consistently” than Strickland or his fellow freshman, McDonald.

Roy drives a bus, and when he loses, he throws his players under it. Multiple times this season, Roy has singled out his freshmen, particularly Henson and Strickland, for poor play. But it doesn’t stop there. He’s even questioned the mental health of the player he’s defended the most. Here’s what he had to say about Ginyard:

“When he walks in a room, I smile. What greater statement can you make about somebody? But I get tired of worrying about a kid’s psyche. My god, play the dadgum game. That’s what it boils down to. I have been concerned about (his mental health). I’ve been greatly concerned about that. But you know what? I’m also tired of thinking about that. It’s time to play. So either play or don’t play.”

Sounds real supportive, doesn’t he?

7. His players are loyal to him.

In October of 2009, Lawson admitted to the Denver post that he should have left after his freshman year. The only reason he returned for his sophomore season was because he was “scared of being in the NBA”, and a DUI brought him back to school for his junior year. I’m sure that getting coached by Roy was the reason Tywon stayed in school.

Of course, Rashad McCants also enjoyed the two years he spent with Roy. Granted, his first year was the final year of the Doh regime, but McCants publicly compared Carolina to a prison. In 2003 – Roy’s first year at UNC – he sent McCants back to the locker room in the first half of a game against UNC-Wilmington after he thought Rashad was not cheering enough for their teammates.

6.  He knows when to call timeouts.

Timeouts are one of the most important tools a coach basketball has in his arsenal. UNC should be all too familiar with timeouts, as one very untimely one led them to the National Title in 1993. However, Roy is notorious for not knowing how the heck to use them. In one of my fondest non-Duke basketball memories – Kansas’ romp over UNC in the 2008 Final Four – the Heels were outscored by Bill Self’s Jayhawks 40-12 at one point in the first half. During this ridiculous run, how many timeouts do you think Roy called to get his team to calm down and focus?

Yeah. That’s right. One. He called one 30-second timeout during that 40-12 run, from which UNC never fully recovered.

This season, with as immature of a team as he’s ever had, Roy has also failed to grasp the importance of a timeout. In UNC’s nine losses to date, Williams has failed to use all five of his timeouts in eight of those contests (obviously without counting media timeouts). He used only 2 against Texas, 1 against Kentucky, and went without calling a timeout for the entire game in Syracuse’s beatdown of Carolina.

5. He’s one of the best tacticians in college basketball.

Speaking of losses, the thriller against the College of Charleston was exemplary in demonstrating Roy’s coaching prowess in late game situations. So much so that starting point guard Larry Drew II (hah!) had this to say after the game:

“We don’t really work on late game situations.”


A member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and one of the media-proclaimed “best coaches” in college basketball doesn’t work on practicing critical junctures of a game? Are you kidding me?

But that’s not all. Roy runs a system that thrives off of running and scoring in transition. That’s all well and good. He’s had one system for years at Kansas, and implements the same at North Carolina. Last year’s version of Roy’s offense was almost unstoppable, and appropriately won the National Championship. Everyone knows the story from here: UNC lost 80% of its scoring and one of the best point guards in the country to the NBA in Tywon Lawson. His replacement was none other than the illustrious Larry Drew II – whose speed and handles pale in comparison. Nevertheless, Roy has tried to run and gun again this year. Without the personnel, it has failed miserably. Forget the horrendous 13-9 record. UNC averages 16.3 turnovers per game, which is good for 2nd most in the ACC.

Meanwhile, Roy spews nonsense to his players about how K runs one offensive system, which according to Dexter Strickland, changes his players. Obviously, Roy is one of the best tacticians in the game.

4. He’s calm, collected, and mature.

I’ll be honest here: even with loaded sarcasm, I had a lot of trouble typing the sentence above.

From the Presbyterian incident to the way he handles the media, it’s been well-established that Roy is somewhat of a thin-skinned, hypersensitive, and profane baby. Ever since he got to Carolina, he’s made his disdain for Coach K and Duke obvious. He’s publicly gone at it with K over injury reports before, without any sort of provocation. He’s negatively recruited Duke to almost every high schooler who’s ever considered playing for Duke, with the most obvious case being Prince Harry. Hell, he even made calls to Kyrie Irving   when Duke was in heavy pursuit, even though Williams locked up his point guard of the future in Kendall Marshall months before.

But forget Duke. Like his former player, Roy likes to take potshots at anyone who he thinks has wronged him. In his book, Hard Work, Roy made it a point to voice his displeasure with current Michigan State sophomore Delvon Roe, who chose Tom Izzo and MSU over UNC in 2008.

3. He’s Ol’ Roy! Aw, shucks!

Have you heard the man talk? He’s a mountain goat man! The whole ‘dadgum’ routine is just so likeable, isn’t it?

After UNC fell to Virginia in the Nose Dome last Sunday, Roy teared up in frustration, at a loss to what has gone wrong with the team. Yes, he cried. Here are some of his words:

“How can you go any lower? Be honest: how can it be any worse than it is right now? Ol’ Roy’s been awfully lucky in his entire life and things have been very smooth, but right now they’re not. I’ve got to do a better job with my team than what I’m doing right now.”

Well, Roy, it did get worse. You lost to Virginia Tech at home after another late-game blunder, and will probably get  got crushed by Maryland this afternoon. After that, you play Duke. So yeah, it did get a lot worse. But back the the main point: he cried. This dude won a National Title last year, and he cried (he cried!) after a conference loss to Virginia on January 31st. Aw, shucks, I feel so dadgum sorry for him! He’s so dadgum sincere that he refers to himself as Ol’ Roy! Dadgum it!

2. He develops talent.

Another juicy one. Heel fans claim Roy to be a great developer of talent. Heck, even Harrison Barnes claimed Roy to be a great developer of talent.

But let’s take a look at Roy’s track record in the past ten years. In 2000, he spurned North Carolina’s offer, opting instead to stay at Kansas. After Doh! made it clear that he was a terrible basketball coach, Ol’ Roy took the job from his former associate and inherited a  three-man class sophomore of Felton, May, and McCants. He won the title in ’05, got a beast of a class in ’06, and somehow got all of his boys to stay in school and won again in ’09. But did he develop those guys? Or did he recruit them? With the exception of Ty Lawson, who clearly got better every year (whether Roy had anything to do with it or not), I can’t think of one Carolina player who progressed in their years under Roy. Whether we like it or not, Hansbrough was a stud from day one. Ellington never learned how to do anything other than shoot. Ginyard still can’t do anything on the court. Thompson has been average, at best, for his entire career. And if you needed any more evidence, just look to the plethora of talent on the 2009-2010 UNC roster. Oh yes, Roy is quite the developer of talent.

1. He doesn’t give a s*** about North Carolina.

All nine of the aforementioned reasons are great, but none is better than this one. No more words are needed.

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Thanks for reading my entire dadgum post! Keep checking back with us for more of Heel Week! Yeehaw!

6 thoughts on “Day Three: Ten Keys to Roy Williams' Success

  1. Great article. It’s tough to spin Roy, but the UNC PR department has a crack staff working on it everyday and earning their money. Now if the media would just catch up with the logical people of the sports world.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, everyone! SFols, thanks for linking.
    Amped up for tomorrow. We’ll be watching on the big screens in Cameron.
    Let’s go Duke!

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