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UNC's Roy Williams: 'Keep your damn phone calls to yourself'

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UNC coach Roy Williams applauds his team's play in the second half against Clemson. ROBERT WILLETT -

CHAPEL HILL – Want to criticize his players? Keep it to yourself, North Carolina coach Roy Williams said Tuesday.

After watching his team bounce back from its 20-point loss at Georgia Tech by topping Clemson by 10 on Tuesday night, Williams took his Monday night radio callers to task.

During his weekly radio show, he was asked about everything from why he didn’t try a triangle-and-two defense, to the starting lineup. The basic tone of many questions: why aren’t they playing better?

“ I’m really proud of those kids,’’ Williams said during his post-game media session on Tuesday. “Everybody talked about how poorly they played at Georgia Tech. My radio call [show] last night stunk; everybody was talking about how they were Carolina fans for 9 million years and how bad we are; I don’t give a damn how long you’re a Carolina fans, those are kids in the locker room, and they played their buns off tonight.

"I can remember working for Coach [Dean] Smith, and we go down to Clemson, and we got beat 93-76, and I thought the world was going to end. … But I didn’t have everybody calling up the TV show, talking about my team. Don’t call me next week and say how good we are; keep your damn phone calls to yourself.”

After a later question, Williams added: “…And I apologize, talking to you [media about this], but my God, these are 18-, 19-, 20-year olds. Did any of you call my call in show? Then I apologize; I should tell them that. I thought I showed great restraint last night.”

“Yes, you did,’’ call-in show moderator Woody Durham agreed.

Columnist Tom Sorensen weighs in: Ol' Roy ought to suck it up and stop whining


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Roy Williams

I'm 60. I've been a Carolina basketball fan since I could say Tar Heel. I have never had the feelings that I currently have for any Carolina basketball team. Last year was bad and most of the fans were fairly patient considering the quality of play that we were subjected to. Here is the problem. What we are seeing this year is a reincarnation of last years team. Some have referred to it as the SOS. Ridiculous free throw shooting, poor decisions again and again, dribbling into trouble again and again,  poor passing, poor shooting and last but not least, poor coaching decisions. I don't blame the kids. After all Roy, you are the one that recruited and trained them. So, in two years we can look at two different teams personel wise that are making the same errors, shooting the same bad shots and looking very much like a non-Carolina team. What is the one thing that has not changed in two years? The coach. What Roy is hearing is not "undue criticism of his players", but due criticism of his program.

Wake up Tarheel fans

I attended the University of North Carolina and have been a Tarheel fan for 50 of my 57 years.  I am embarrassed by Roy Williams and his self serving, self promoting attitude.  I live in WNC where he hails from and is revered as some kind of deity, but I know him personally, and he is a small man and his response in indicative of his real persona.  The comments that I read that the fans expressed were more questioning of his coaching and not that of the players.  I would suggest that his response was not a defense of his players but a reaction to his coaching ability being questioned.  He was blessed with being placed in one of the best programs in the country and never had to prove himself by coming up through the ranks of smaller schools as most coaches have to obtain success.  In my opinion, he is at best a mid level ability coach and is one of the worst game coaches that I have ever witnessed.  Let us not forget it is the coaches responsibility to have these kids and I emphasize kids  ready to play and when they are not it is his responsibility to accept the blame and not lash out at fans and taxpayers  and last time I checked, Chapel Hill is a state supported institution.  Perhaps its time for Ol Roy to go home to the mountains where he can be put on a pedestal and worshiped in the fashion which he thinks he deserves.

Not that I disagree...

...that Roy should stop complaining, but the fact that you've been a "fan" for 50 years and still don't know how to properly spell "Tar Heel" really makes me question your credibility.

Not that I disagree

You are certainly a peice of work.  To question my credibility over the spelling of a word is totally rediculous.  I have one statement that applies to you sir which also applies to Roy Williams.  Your arrogance is only exceeded by your ignorance.  See attached

That's rich...

Such a typically pompous statement by if he has credibility!

Why don't TJ and you go toss a frisbee?

Lack of Grace

Roy has shown a serious lack of grace over the last few seasons.  It's easy to be gracious in winning, but it's the grace shown in losing that tells worlds about your character.


Then I guess we'll always be able to measure the character of NC State basketball.

write it down!!!!!!

this is the beginning of the end for "OL ROY"  when u start feuding with the fans, u are on your way out,  ol roy needs to try WOODFORD RESERVE, instead of MAKERS MARK. go DUKE CHAMPS!!

Get a grip...

Roy Williams is taking himself far too seriously lately.  His hot temper has overtaken his tongue and judgment.  For example, after the Georgia Tech game, he was quoted as saying something along these lines "...I want to fight someone with a chain saw."

This statement makes no sense whatsoever.  Also, it speaks poorly for his UNC education when Roy elects to use such a repulsive metaphor.

This season is not completely about you or your huge ego, Roy.  It is primarily about the players and the tradition.  Get a grip, and start showing a little more humility and class...I think that your mentor would expect no less.

All great comments, except

Darn it , I am just friggin' having a damn hard time swallowing all this friggin' criticism. By God I don't care how friggin' long you have been a Tar Heel fan just don't burn my buns with your friggin' negative comments. Darn it!!

All great comments, except for Big Bay...HUH???...ease off the Makers Mark dude. I would add that I have no sympathy with someone who is in the entertainment business, which Roy actually said of himself , who doesn't have a sense of humor. Its hard to take these comments seriously when the Tar Heel Sports Network is paying him How Much??? Given all that, he has a right to his opinion just like everyone else.


Dang.  Ol Roy is upset - he got his new suit wrinkled. Me, I'm just glad to see that the  coaching staff came to play Tuesday.



Ol' Huckleberry

Ol' Roy references how it was "back when I was working for Coach Smith" .....

Yo Roy:  Dean was making $30,000 back then.  You agree to coach for $30,000 and I'll personally handle all the knuckleheads that you dislike so.  Get paid like a rock star .... you get everything that comes with "like a rock star".  You're a hoot Roy!

No pressure around here on any team, including NHL

Ole Roy and every college/pro coach around here should thank their lucky stars that the media just laps up everything that is dished out by the PR guys and aren't competing against each other like other markets. They aren't afraid to take shots against coaches/teams and will break stories without fear of getting blackballed by guys like Coach K.


So, Ole Roy ought to shut up and coach. Have some whine with that cheese, Roy, and have a Coke and a smile.


There's an NHL team around here !? News to me ...

Both sides

I can understand where Roy is coming from in that he's protecting his players, but I also understand fans who are frustrated with conistently inconsistent play over the past year and a half.

Coach Williams, you are paid millions a year for a reason.  When you sign that contract, you ought to know that the criticism is coming with it.  Defending your players is totally fine, but understand ahead of time what you're getting into.

Fans, he's a two-time national champion who made three final fours in his first seven years at Carolina.  Don't be so quick to all-out attack a guy who clearly knows more basketball than you.


Do you want cheese with that whine Roy?

kicking and screaming

Sports and politics "today" are both victims of technology.  Radio shows and message boards are not good or bad but both formats are subject to extremes in how users use them.  It's one of the reasons Coach Smith retired when he did .... the world he knew in the 60s-80s had evolved into a much more no-holds-barred often scary and usually quite incivil arena.  C'est la vie.

It's reputed that Roy is non-computer literate to the point of not knowing how to plug in the darn thing.  Bless his heart.  Sometimes we should all be so clueless, but thats not how it is.

Old man "Used To" is dead Roy.  Don't expect Roy to change or give a darn what anyone else thinks.  That attitude will eventually create a nasty mess that will be great fun for some and very unpleasant for others .... not unlike how this past UNC football season unfolded.

Tend to Agree with Roy

I'm not a UNC fan, but tend to agree with Roy.  We all have our opinions as fans, but calling a coach and telling him how to run his team is utterly ridiculous.  I'm amazed that he continues to take the calls.  My job as a fan is to support my team and be a positive influence.  Consequently, I neither boo nor call out my coaches/players.  It's a game, and is in no way comparable to the high stakes that young men and women face in military conflict.  College sports are for entertainment and enjoyment, and no more.  My advice, enjoy the game and don't take it so darn (using Roy's words) seriously. 

What's Wrong with You, Roy?

After the Tech game, you said “We didn't come in … ready to play … we stunk,” . . . “My coaching stunk, and we stunk."  I was in the stands for all of it - you were correct.  Now, you have the temerity to question (and mock) lifeling UNC fans call up your radio show and agree with you?  Believe it or not, there are some that were  fans of the team before you started coaching.  Last year, it was throwing a fan out of the Dean Dome and now this.  Get a hold of your ego - the program is much bigger than you.  If you can't handle the criticism, find somewhere with lower expectations.  Otherwise, stop acting like a spoiled brat. 

Just kids???

Hey Roy, I don't go in for being critical of people who are working hard and trying their best.  But don't give me this "just kids" crap.  It's 18, 19 and 20 years olds that are fighting and being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  These are men who have been treated special for a good part of their lives because they can play basketball at a high level. All of us need to realize this is a game and sometimes you lose. And it isn't always because you did something wrong, sometimes its because the other team did something right. UNC basketball fans have been spoiled by years of success.  Everybody needs to lose now and then to appreciate what winning means.

sorry roy

But you have no case. There is a reason you make millions and work in first-class facilities. It is a combination of TV money, sports apparel contracts and ticket sales. Where does this money come from? Rabid fans. You cannot do what you do without them and you have to take the good with the bad. Otherwise, get out of the spotlight.

Regarding your 18, 19 and 20 year olds, these are the same guys that bask in the glow of rising stardom as early as middle school. Before they even step on campus, they talk up how they plan to revitalize programs and lift them to lofty heights. The hype is public and endless, usually stoked by members of the everpresent media, but also promoted by the players themselves in youtube videos and other media. So, when they get to college and don't deliver as promised, they must face the consequences. Is this fair or healthy? Probably fair, probably not healthy. But they, like you Roy, can't have it both ways.  

So, Roy, here is some unsolicited advice. Stop castigating the people who pay your salary. It's bad form and something no seasoned professional would do without more cause than you have in this case. Spend that time coaching your players on how to deal with adversity off the court as well as on. That would include productively dealing with criticism, a skill that will serve them well in life after basketball. 

I also say, "Sorry Roy."

There is an old adage: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

You may or may not know this

Being up in Ohio you don't get all the skinny, but TOB quit taking calls, period, on his show bc of criticism.

Good Ol' Randy

I remember that show. Good ol' Randy called in to say "Pack your bags. Pack your bags, because we don't want you." 

Wonder how Randy feels after this season? 

didn't know that

Maybe Roy should consider following suit. You can't control the masses, the message boards or the talk shows. 

Coaches have to make themselves available to the media. But they don't have to open themselves up to any looney tune with access to a phone or PDA.

At least

Coach Williams takes calls from fans.

"Pack your bags !!" quit taking them after about a week on the job.

Seriously, Roy deserved a little criticism on his show. Afterall, it is Carolina fans and the like who pay big money to fill the arena 15 times or so per year. He needed a change in the staring line-up and lo and behold everyones game was raised throughout the game. The fans do know something ...

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About the blogger

Robbi Pickeral has covered ACC sports for The News & Observer since 2003. She can be reached at