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‘I’m not the right man any longer,’ UNC head coach Roy Williams announces retirement in emotional bid farewell

“When I realized I would walk through that tunnel for the last time as a coach was really difficult,” UNC men's basketball head coach Roy Williams said.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — UNC men’s basketball head coach, Roy Williams will forever be a Tar Heel.

Williams spoke Thursday to players, fans, and the entire Tar Heel nation while announcing his retirement.

After 903 career wins and three NCAA Championship titles, Williams now believes it’s someone else’s turn to step in.

“But the biggest reason why we’re here having this meeting is that I just don’t feel like I’m the right man any longer,” Williams said.

 His announcement shocked many players and fans.

“I wish this was an April Fools’ joke. Coach Williams has led our team for the past 18 seasons, and there will never be another coach like him,” UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said.

He also thanked Williams and his family while also wishing there could be a time out on his retirement announcement.  

“I wish we could use our last time out and stop the clock. Nobody has loved this university like Roy Williams,” Guskiewicz said.

Williams made his career retirement announcement while in the Dean E. Smith Center.

“I can’t think of a better place to be doing it, than in the Dean E. Smith Center on Roy Williams’ court,” UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said.

Williams became emotional while talking about how he would make the announcement to his players.

“This morning, when I talked to the team it was really difficult,” Williams said.

He became even more emotional after coming to another realization.

“When I realized I would walk through that tunnel for the last time as a coach was really difficult,” Williams said.

He spoke about his hopes for the players and what he said he just couldn’t do this year.

“I never got the team this year where I wanted them to go. I just didn’t get it done,” he said.

He also spoke about the future and what will be his next chapter in life.

''I don't know what the future holds. In some ways, I'm very sad. I'm scared. But I'm also really happy and proud. We did okay. I was coaching great youngsters, winning a few games and loving it with my heart and my soul. We did okay."

He said he wishes he could never stop coaching.

“It’s been a thrill. It’s been unbelievable. I have loved it. It’s coaching and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” he said.

RELATED: 'His legacy is secure as one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history' | Coach K on the retirement of Roy Williams

Williams graduated from UNC in 1972, where he also played on the basketball team.

He coached high school basketball in his hometown of Asheville before becoming the assistant coach of the UNC men's basketball team.  

He went on to coach at the University of Kansas for 15 years before returning to his Alma Mater as head coach.

Williams has been at Carolina for 18 seasons and led the Tar Heels to National Championships in 2005, 2009 and 2017.

Williams was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.


• 48 seasons as a basketball coach, including 33 seasons as a college head coach (18 at UNC, 15 at Kansas), 10 as assistant coach at UNC and five as head coach at Owen High School in Black Mountain, N.C.

• 2007 inductee to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

• Third all-time in wins by a Division I head coach with 903

• Reached 900 wins in fewer games (1,161) and seasons (33) than any coach in NCAA history

• 903 wins in 33 seasons is 100 more than any other coach in NCAA history (803 by Mike Krzyzewski, 802 by Dean Smith)

• Second-winningest coach in UNC history and third in Kansas history

• Only coach in history with 400 wins at two schools

• Sixth-highest winning percentage (.774) in NCAA history

• Led UNC to three NCAA championships (2005, 2009, 2017)

• Third to take teams to the NCAA Tournament at least 30 times

  • Consensus National Coach of the Decade (2000-09)

• Led UNC and Kansas to nine Final Fours, fourth most all-time

• Second in NCAA Tournament wins (79), second in No. 1 seeds (13), second in games (105), third in NCAA Tournament winning percentage (.745) and tied for fourth in NCAA championships

• NCAA-record eight wins over Associated Press No. 1-ranked teams

• Second in NCAA history in 30-win seasons (12) and tied for fourth in 20-win seasons (29)

• Tied for fifth all-time with 18 regular-season conference championships

• Third all-time in ACC regular-season wins (212)

• Third-most ACC road wins (93) and fourth-highest ACC road winning percentage all-time (.604)

• Second-most wins (208) in first 300 ACC regular-season games

• 32 NBA first-round draft picks (22 at UNC, 10 at Kansas)

• 52 former players in the NBA

• Four National Players of the Year, six ACC Scholar-Athletes of the Year, 10 consensus first-team All-Americas, 17 first-team All-Americas and three Bob Cousy Award winners

• Only coach to coach two Academic All-Americas of the Year (Jacque Vaughn at Kansas, Tyler Zeller at UNC)


Overall: 903-264, 33 seasons (.774)

Record at UNC: 485-163, 18 seasons (.748)

NCAA Championships (3): 2005, 2009, 2017 at UNC

Final Fours (9): 1991, 1993, 2002, 2003 at Kansas; 2005, 2008, 2009, 2016, 2017 at UNC

NCAA Tournament: 79-27 (.745)

NCAA Tournament at UNC: 45-13 (.776)

NCAA Finals: 3-3

NCAA Finals at UNC: 3-1

National Championship Games (6): 1991, 2003 at Kansas; 2005, 2009, 2016, 2017 at UNC

National Semifinals: 6-3

National Semifinals at UNC: 4-1

NCAA Elite 8s (13): 1991, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2003 at Kansas; 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017 at UNC

NCAA Elite 8: 9-4 (5-3 at UNC)

NCAA Sweet 16s (19): 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2003 at Kansas; 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 at UNC

NCAA Sweet 16: 13-6 (8-2 at UNC)

NCAA 2nd Round: 19-10 (10-5 at UNC)

NCAA 1st Round: 29-1 (15-1 at UNC)

Conference Regular-Season Titles (18): 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003 at Kansas; 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2019 at UNC