Our players, our fans, and the University of North Carolina should have the best coach in the America to lead our basketball program. Tonight, I have the privilege of introducing you to that person, the next head coach of the Tar Heels, Roy Williams.
UNC HEAD COACH ROY WILLIAMS
I do want to perhaps do something a little different from most of these types of press conferences. There's no doubt that I'm excited to be here or I wouldn't be here. Other than serious injury or death to my family, I've never had anything more difficult than what I went through this afternoon, talking to my team and telling those 13 young men that I was leaving them. And in saying that, I would like to get away and have a little unusual beginning to this press conference.
I was taught by Coach Smith, Bill Guthridge and Eddie Fogler 90 percent of what I do. I was taught to run a program, not just coach a team. I took those lessons from those fellas. The rest of my education came from another great source, the University of Kansas. The people there took a great chance on me 15 years ago, a no-name second assistant who was not a very popular choice. They trusted me though, they believed in me, they gave me guidance and an honest chance to run a program at a great place. I was stunned because Coach Smith and Coach Harp had told me so much about Kansas, but it was so much better than the beautiful picture they painted. The people there showed me another great place with people who have the same pride and love for their school, just like the Tar Heels do. They always made me feel like I was just not adopted, I was one of theirs.
Middle America or Kansas doesn't get the respect around the country that it should. But let me tell you, Kansas and Lawrence and the people there made Roy Williams be successful because of their love, their guidance and their pride in a great University.
I was a Tar Heel born, when I die I'll be a Tar Heel dead. But in the middle, I am a Tar Heel and Jayhawk bred and I am so, so happy and proud of that.
Today has been extremely hard as the last four days have been to make this decision. I wanted to coach both, but you can't. Last time I decided to stay because it was the right thing. This time I decided to leave because it was the right thing. The factors for me leaving: when I was a youngster my dream was to play at North Carolina. Then I dreamed of coaching at North Carolina. Some of you may not believe this, but I never dreamed of being the head coach at North Carolina. I always dreamed of being Coach Smith's assistant.
Another factor is my family. The last time when I made the decision not to come some people got very upset with me and I had a hard time understanding it, because I gave up more than anybody else did because I gave up the opportunity to be back with my family.
And the last factor of coming back: these are my roots. Everything I do on the basketball court and everything I do with these players, Coach Smith, Bill Guthridge and Eddie Fogler taught me. And the University of Kansas gave me the latitude to try those things, to make mistakes and still say that they loved me.
The second time in your life that you make a major decision usually does not happen. I don't really like to say the word chance, because that means that you were hoping it would come again. And that was not me. I wanted Matt Doherty to be here for 20 years and to be successful and to be very proud of my school. I was going to coach another 15 years, then I was going to head to the mountains or I was going to head to Wild Dunes and pull for the Jayhawks and Tar Heels. It's the second time for this decision and I think I made the right decision as well.
My players at KU - Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison, Bryant Nash, Jeff Graves, Jeff Hawkins, Aaron Miles, Michael Lee, Keith Langford, Wayne Simien, Moulaye Niang, Stephen Vinson, Brett Olson, Christian Moody. Standing in that lockerroom today, talking to them is the most difficult thing I've ever had to do in my life. The one thing I asked them to remember is that everyday I gave them everything I had. I don't believe in 110 percent, but I gave them everything I had. I cared about them as people and I cared for them. I appreciate how hard they worked for me and how they trusted me.
They have four new guys coming in and I've been trying to get up with them tonight. And I'll get up with them before I go to bed. Jeremy Case and J.R. Giddens, both youngsters from Oklahoma. They wanted to go to a basketball school and they trusted Roy Williams. Folks, it's hard to turn my back on those kids.
Omar Wilkes and David Padgett, two other youngsters from a distance. Omar Wilkes's father was a great player at UCLA and played for the Los Angeles Lakers. Omar Wilkes' decision came to UCLA or Kansas and he chose Kansas. On Friday morning at five minutes to six my time and five minutes to seven Mr. Baddour's time, I put my hand on the phone to call him to tell him that I could not come because I looked down on my desk and saw a picture of Omar Wilkes.
A lot of people say Roy is too emotional, but folks, I care about those kids. I'm going to care about you guys (looking at Carolina's players). It's not going to be just about the number of points and rebounds that you get. I'm going to care about you every day of your life, the way the greatest coach at any level of basketball taught me to do.
David Padgett's final decision came down to North Carolina and Kansas and he chose Kansas. Not being able to coach that young man is something that most people can't understand unless you've had that great relationship between players and coaches.
My past players gave me a chance when I was that no-name second assistant coach who had never coached a game. From the first day, they gave me a chance and believed in me. Until that last shot did not go in against Syracuse last Monday night. And they never stopped believing in me.
To these folks sitting over here (looking at Carolina's players), I will respect you, I will work with you, I will work for you. I expect you to play unbelievably hard and I expect you to be unbelievably unselfish with the single goal of our team doing well. You will sacrifice and in the end you will be rewarded for those sacrifices. You'll never work harder than I work and you will never care more than I care, but I will ask you to come awfully close. I expect great things and we will all share in the responsibility to make those great things come true. I will ask you to follow one big rule: Do what I ask you to do.
I say to my team all the time, there's five fingers but a fist is much stronger and that's what we're going to be - five guys working together. I don't change from day to day and I don't expect you to change.
Two things I'm extremely proud of - the Final Four last year and the Final Four this year. Not just being there, but having the highest graduation rate of any team in the Final Four for two years in a row. Another thing that I'm extremely proud of, last week when USA Today listed the 13 programs that had been to the Final Four the most often since 1985, Kansas had the lowest budget of any of those teams.
I expect the players to make me proud of you in every phase of your life. You're going to play really fast, and defend with toughness and pride. You'll play at both ends and you'll care about your teammates and I'll promise you that you'll be successful.
As I said, I had two dream schools and wanted to coach both, but you can't do it at the same time. Now, I'm coaching North Carolina and few people can say they have coached at their two favorite schools, both schools touched by something special. Chancellor Moeser gave me a quote three years ago that I've never forgotten. He said 'Roy, it's not immoral to love two institutions.' I've never stopped loving North Carolina. I also believe that Walter and Mary Doherty never pulled for Matt any harder than I did and now, no one will ever pull harder for the University of Kansas than I do.
I love Matt Doherty and feel for him. Mr. Baddour, Coach Smith would say he has savvy because he didn't push me early on. Monday night a week ago we played in the national championship game and he gave me some space and he gave me some time and didn't push. You and I both know that it was reported that someone was going to offer me the job and give me 24 hours to say yes or no. I happen to think Dick made the right decision because if he had done that I would have said no. Because I cared about those 13 kids in that lockerroom and I needed some time and space away from that.
I want to be successful here, I'll never be able to do what Coach Smith did, no one has ever had the whole package like he has. But, I want to tell everyone in here there will never be a day when you think someone is working harder than your head basketball coach. And the players, there will never be a day when you think a head coach is working harder.
In closing, Steve Robinson and Joe Holladay, two of my assistant coaches are here. I'm hopeful that Joe Holladay will be a candidate for the head coaching job at Kansas himself. But also I wanted our players to get to see him and know him and if that doesn't work out then he'll be here with me. He coached Steve Hale, a great player here at North Carolina when I was an assistant, so he has Tar Heel ties from a long time back. Steve Robinson was with me my first seven years at Kansas. He played in the Fieldhouse, seven years coached in the Fieldhouse and then he came to coach in the Smith Center to coach against North Carolina. And he's a guy that I trust with my life.
I want people to understand, too, that I have three other guys at Kansas that I left there today so they could be there for my players. I didn't want to bring everyone here and my players be left there without anyone to talk to this afternoon or not have anyone to encourage them. I think one thing I want all Tar Heel people to do: it's not Roy's staff, it wasn't Matt's staff, it's the University of North Carolina's staff and that's who you're going to have. I haven't seen Phil Ford yet. I'm going to ask Phil to be a bridge here until the time that the University of Kansas names their coach and that staff. I'm going to ask Phil to help me because when I think of the epitome of a Carolina basketball player, I think of Phil Ford.
I plan on bringing as many of my guys as I can, but this will be the last time you hear me classify them as 'my guys.' Because when they walk in here they are going to be North Carolina's staff.
Phil Ford will be important to me just as James Worthy was Saturday in Los Angeles and Mitch Kupchak was Sunday morning in Los Angeles and the people who have called me. Jeff Lebo and the other people. This is a family and we're not going to have anybody bickering. We are going to be a family from the word go.
UNC CHANCELLOR JAMES MOESER
I received a phone call today from Chancellor Hemenway at KU who was most gracious and he said 'we are sending you a treasure.' You are a treasure and we celebrate the values that you articulated here tonight.
And to the people who went to the Lawrence airport to say goodbye to you and I know there were a throng of fans, the Tar Heel fans will take care of this good man.
Welcome Home, Roy.