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Hall of Fame head coach Roy Williams on Thursday announced his retirement after 33 years of coaching at the collegiate level, including the past 18 years at the University of North Carolina.
Williams, 70, finished third all-time in victories by a Division I head coach with 903 between North Carolina and Kansas. He posted the sixth-highest winning percentage in NCAA history and reached 900 wins in fewer games and seasons than any other coach in history.
He led the Tar Heels to three national titles and a 485-163 record while the program advanced to the Final Four three other times under his guidance. Williams leaves as the second-winningest head coach at North Carolina, behind only Dean Smith.
Prior to North Carolina, Williams spent 15 seasons as head coach at Kansas, amassing a 418-101 record. The Jayhawks made four trips to the Final Four with Williams, including two appearances in the national title game in 1991 and 2003.
With the news that Williams will retire, the decision had a profound impact on dozens around the sport, including his former players. Cole Anthony, who played the 2019-20 season under Williams, called it heartbreaking to see his former coach retire.
“Roy was a figure in my life who I could just talk to when I just wanted to put a smile on my face when I was down,” Anthony said. “He was my favorite coach that I ever played for. I’m really heartbroken to see him retire but he gets to spend time with his family now and I get to go bug him while he’s not coaching.”
During his 33 years as a head coach, Williams helped 32 players become first-round picks in the NBA with 52 players total in the league over that time. His legacy will go unmatched by only a few as his impact was greatly felt throughout the sport on and off of the court.