Roy Williams announced his retirement from college basketball on Thursday morning, marking the end of a storied head coaching career. The 70-year-old rose to the precipice of the game at Kansas and sustained his success at his alma mater, North Carolina. He’ll now call it quits on his own terms as one of the best to ever be a part of the game.
UNC and Williams hosted a press conference from the Dean E. Smith Center on Thursday afternoon to give the long-time head coach of the Tar Heels an opportunity to explain the decision and field questions. Although many felt that this day was approaching quickly, some of his answers were shocking.
One admission in particular was one of the more honest answers given by a sports figure of Williams’ stature. When explaining exactly “why” he retired, the 70-year-old put it plainly.
“I no longer feel that I’m the right man for the job,” Williams said, per ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.
Roy Williams: "I no longer feel that I'm the right man for the job."
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 1, 2021
Williams also mentioned that the last two seasons with the Tar Heels had been extremely difficult. UNC posted a combined record of 32-30 over the last two years, marking the worst stretch for the head coach in his career.
“I just didn’t think I was good enough anymore,” the UNC head coach said, via Andrew Carter of The News & Observer.
Roy: “I just didn’t think I was good enough anymore.” Rare if ever do you hear a figure of such stature say such a thing.
— Andrew Carter (@_andrewcarter) April 1, 2021
College basketball reporter Jeff Goodman helped to contextualize Williams’ decision on Thursday morning, explaining that the long-time head coach had struggled with the way the game was moving. Some of the answers that Williams gave in his press conference
“There has been speculation that Roy Williams was going to retire in the last couple weeks,” Goodman wrote. “He’s 70 years old, and has been frustrated with the direction that college basketball is headed, per sources. One of those areas was the rash of transfers of late, also concerned about NIL.
Williams received an outpouring of support from some of the game’s other greats, such as Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo. Not only will he retire as one of the best coaches ever, but also as one of the most universally liked.
Without him, college basketball will feel a whole lot different.