Williams stepped aside this morning after 33 years as a head coach at North Carolina and Kansas. During that time he won 77 percent of his games and three national championships while reaching nine Final Fours.
Williams’ last national title came in 2017, with the Tar Heels beating Calipari’s Kentucky team in an all-time classic in the Elite Eight on the way to winning it all. The two legends have gone head-to-head several times in their careers.
Calipari released a statement on Twitter this afternoon, thanking Williams for his friendship and support and paying his respects to his Hall of Fame career.
“I am so thankful for Roy’s friendship throughout the years. He is someone I could call about anything and did so many, many times,” Calipari said. “I have the ultimate respect for Roy in how he did his job, how he coached his team, how he won at the highest level, and most importantly, how he cared about his players.”
Congratulations to Coach Roy Williams on a Hall of Fame career! So happy for him and his wife, Wanda. I am so thankful for his friendship. He will go down as one of the greatest coaches of all-time! pic.twitter.com/ElWufXZTdt
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) April 1, 2021
Williams left an indelible mark on college basketball, first as Dean Smith’s assistant at UNC and then in his two stints as a head coach.
It will be weird not seeing him on the sideline next season.