King Rice's Emotional UNC Homecoming

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- The emotions ran high throughout the game and tears flowed postgame for former Tar Heel King Rice, who coached Monmouth in a loss to the Tar Heels on Wednesday at the Smith Center.

Excerpts from King Rice's postgame press conference:

"I have to start off and just say ... start off by saying thank you to Coach Williams. He treats me ... he treats me like I’m one of his sons. He always tries to take care of me, since I was a kid. I’m the luckiest guy that, in 1987, Coach Smith gave me a scholarship and it’s made me have a great, great, great life.

"Sometimes I still let things bother me too much, but I’m the luckiest man that I got the chance to play at North Carolina. The relationships I have, tonight I had Jimmy Black sitting with me. J.R. Reid, Coach (Phil) Ford, and many, many more came today because I was here with my team. And I’m thankful to all the coaches -- Coach Ford, I see him back there, Coach (Randy) Weil, Coach (Dick) Harp, Coach (Bill) Gut(hridge). All of them helped me. They took a hard-headed young kid and turned him into a man. Took me a little longer than some other people.

"So tonight I can take losing. I truly can take losing. I thought we'd be closer than the game - I thought the game was closer than the ending. And sometimes you've just got to write it as a learning experience. I have to become a better coach and not let other people on the coach besides the players affect me so much. And I'm working on it extra hard. And when I get that part done our team is going to be a lot better. I feel bad for my kids because I think because I complained so much it kind of permeated through my team and then my kids acted in a way that they usually don't. We're the group that keeps our cool, even though I didn't when I was a kid. ... And North Carolina is too good of a team for you to not keep your cool. ... 

"I am a proud, proud Carolina man. It should never, ever, ever be more exciting to get biscuits than to win a basketball game...

"Coach Williams was the lead recruiter on me when I was a kid. So I'm very close to him. I spent a year here getting back into coaching when Tyler (Hansbrough) and those guys were freshmen - got closer to Coach and got closer to the program. And when I first became a head coach, Coach Williams was the first guy to tell me that he was going to play me - he was going to give us a big check and it was going to help our program. And he did that. And then he played us again this year, so in six years North Carolina's helped Monmouth out a whole bunch with a lot of money that goes to all athletes and it helps our whole school. That I got to do it again against them was pretty cool.

"He's a Hall-of-Famer, I think he's great. I think what he's done with the program since he's been here is top notch. I'm proud that he's the coach here at Carolina. I hope he does it for 20 more years. I hope people appreciate what they have in him because sometimes I think, even from the inside, people don’t understand how lucky you are to have a man like Roy Williams run your program. He is top notch as a man, as a coach, as a mentor and we are lucky that he is the coach at North Carolina. We should always remember how much he loves this place. If you ever feel funny, listen to how much Coach Williams loves North Carolina and it will make you love it more...

"We didn't have our best night tonight. North Carolina is awesome. I love that I had the chance to come here. Like I said, all my boys were here tonight. My mom came, she lives in Charlotte now. Family reunion."


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