Roy Williams Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams is entering the Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend and on Friday night he gave his acceptance speech, with many of his peers and former players on hand. Read IC's transcript of what Williams said ...

"I am ecstatic to be here to say the least. Thank you Coach Smith and Coach Brown for being here with me and I truly appreciate your words as well as those from Billy Cunningham. I asked these three people to speak as a way of honoring Coach Smith. Coach, you now have three pupils in the Hall of Fame as coaches. ...

"Thank you to the Hall of Fame and the Honors Committee for selecting me ...

"More than anyone who has ever stood before you, I am the luckiest guy alive. Lou Gehrig said it and made it famous, but I feel it. Abe Lemons once said of me at a roast, 'Roy is well known in unknown places.' And he was right, but because of a lot of help from others, I stand before you now.

"The hardest part's going to be this first part to talk about my family. At one point I had a mom, a dad and a sister, and now I have none. I may stand here alone, but they are with me. My mom was my hero and she would be so proud. I guarantee you she is watching right now. My dad and I struggled, but before he died we came together and I am so glad of that. My sister never got the lucky breaks I did, but she loved the ground I walked on. Her children are with me here tonight.

"My wife, Wanda, the greatest of all time raising children and making our family. I wanted her to be the mother of my children, but I got a bonus because she's the best partner I could ever have. Scott and Kimberly, now you are my heroes. I love you, I adore you and I hope you feel that love every time you see me or hear me or hear my name. Scott also has a perfect mate in Katie and you two are so good together. Scott and Kimmy, as I've gotten older I worry more and more that I did not do enough or wasn't there enough. I apologize, but no one loves their children more than I do.

"My high school coach, Buddy Baldwin, was the most influential male in my life. Coach gave me confidence and made me feel I could do anything and I could be somebody. I know I would not be here today were it not for him. I wanted to be like Buddy Baldwin.

"Coach Smith, this truly is hard to put into words. You were and are my mentor, my teacher and my friend. 95 percent of what I do came from you. You, Coach Guthridge, and Eddie Fogler, Larry Brown, Greg Popovich and Oliver Purnell with the Olympics, shared with me your knowledge and that's the greatest gift one can get. I'll never be as good as you, but I hope all of you feel proud of how hard I tried.

"Chancellor Gene Budig and Dr. Bob Frederick, my athletic director at Kansas, took a tremendous chance by hiring me. Kansas wanted a name coach -- a successful and proven coach -- and I was not a household name even in my own house. But Bob had a belief and gave me a chance, even when his wife said, 'You're not going to hire that no-name guy from North Carolina.' I can never repay you, but thanks very much.

"I can say with more conviction than anyone that I've had the best coaching staff for 20 years. Jerry Green was my first hire at Kansas, I trusted him with everything -- he was my security blanket and my comic belief, but I know I could not have succeeded without you. All of my assistants have been successful, and they have been phenomenal to me. Kevin Stallings, Mark Turgeon, Matt Doherty, Neil Dougherty, Ben Miller and the group I have now -- Joe Holladay, in his 15th year with me, Steve Robinson, 13th, and two former players in Jerod Haase and C.B. McGrath for seven years each. I love having former players with me and I hope all four of you know how much I care.

"I would also like to say I'm honored to go into the Hall of Fame with this great class. Van [Chancellor], I've known a while, Phil I've followed greatly, two international coaches I've admired a great deal, Marvin Rudolph who was a referee so we've got to love those guys too because somebody's got to do that job. And the Texas Western-UTEP bunch, I'll only tell you my wife and I watched 'Glory Road' Saturday night for the second time and it's been a thrill being with you. And as I said today, Coach Haskins must have been a heck of a coach to see a bunch of ragamuffins like you and win a national championships. You talk to each one and they'll tell you they're the star, but what you did for basketball and what you did for the culture of basketball is something I treasure greatly.

"Lastly, but most importantly, the wonderful players I've had. Great ability, but even greater character. Great players, but even greater teammates. Winners, competitors, people that enjoy other people's successes as well as their own.

"From Adonis Jordan, who is here tonight - my first recruit - to Marvin Williams and Tyler Hansbrough the last few years. From my first team with Milt Newton, Mark Randall and Kevin Pritchard, to today's team with Ty Lawson and Marcus Ginyard.

"Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz and Jacque Vaughn, the leaders of great teams that I feel I failed because I didn't get you to the Final Four. Jacque, the best student-athlete I've ever known, winning the NBA championship this year with the Spurs brought tears to my eyes. It didn't make me forget not getting you to the Final Four, but it gave me a great smile to see you in that celebration.

"Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison, both here tonight with your dads, high school coaches -- boy do I love that part -- you two, and Drew Gooden, gave me the belief I could recruit the right way with the right kids and be the coach I wanted to be when I was so down in recruiting. The 2005 national champions -- with Sean May, Raymond Felton, Marvin Williams, Wes Miller -- those are moments that will never leave me.

"Greg Gurley, Patrick Riche, Ryan Robertson, T.J. Pugh, Rex Walters -- also a great competitor who will be a great coach in his own right -- Steve Woodberry and Wayne Simien (my last year at Kansas, a youngster that I left and the fact that he came back tonight was so, so special to me). Clyde Lovellette, a great player from Kansas that is in the Hall of Fame, tells me he came back tonight because of me -- you cannot have any better feelings than that.

"I truly appreciate you 21 who are here tonight, being here to represent the 117 players that I've been able to coach as a head coach and the many more I coached on the JV team at North Carolina and for five years the basketball team at Owen High School. I've been the luckiest guy alive.

"My family at home, my family on the court -- no one has been more fortunate than me. I love you, and I thank you; this is the greatest honor to look out and see those people -- players and coaches and these two gentleman here -- who have made Roy Williams. And I know Mom is watching. Thank you."

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