By R.L. Bynum
It might be good that Roy Williams knows little about social media and what users say about him. Then again, the lack of exposure probably makes him unaware of the crazy conspiracy theories that float around the internet.
His wife Wanda monitors what is said about North Carolina’s coach, though, and what she relayed had him venting Tuesday during a press conference ahead of the Tar Heels’ Wednesday night ACC Tournament opener against Notre Dame. The Irish beat Wake Forest on Tuesday 80–77 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Charlotte native Trey Wertz.
A day earlier, a school press release announced that the Williamses donated $3 million toward several UNC scholarship programs. That spawned a theory that the donation was a way to convince Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham to add another year to his contract.
“Somebody said I was trying to buy another year from Bubba,” Williams said. “I got a dadgum contract to 2028. Do you think I need to buy another daggum year? I’ve already got a contract.”
Williams generally just takes questions at these sorts of press conferences ahead of games but he was eager to make an opening statement Tuesday because he said some of the talk he’d heard had “gotten a little crazy.”
He admitted that he probably wouldn’t know anything about the internet speculation if not for Wanda reporting the buzz on social media.
“If my wife didn’t have a phone, I wouldn’t know anything about. But I think it’s gotten a little carried away, I guess,” Williams said.
Williams pointed out that the contribution wasn’t anything new and that he has contributed more than $5.8 million over 18 years as head coach and that he also contributed money while he was at Kansas. If it was up to him, nobody would have known about the latest contribution, which was made in December.
He only gave the OK for the school to announce it when he was convinced that it might lead others to make contributions. Williams says that he’s happy that it has spawned more donations but the speculation about the reason left him very unhappy.
“I’m trying to coach my butt off and that’s what I’m concerned about,” Williams said. “I’m concerned about when I die because I keep telling my guards, particularly, I want them to be great players before I’m gone. So, let’s put all this stuff to rest. There’s no master plan. There’s no minor plan. I’m doing what I’ve done my whole life.”
Some apparently thought it was a sign that he was about to retire when he kissed the court after Saturday night’s win over Duke. He shot down that theory, along with suggestions that he did it because that’s what Antawn Jamison did as a junior at the Final Four in 1998 after what turned out to be his final game as a Tar Heel.
“I’ve had plenty of times in my life I wished I kissed the floor at Allen Fieldhouse — 10 20, 30 times,” Williams said. “This year, we were undefeated in conference at home. Our last two games, the crowd came in and they were sensational. I didn’t know anything about Antawn Jamison kissing the floor. I’ve never heard that story. I knew that we won a lot of games at Kansas and here I thought the crowd was extremely important to us and knew it was the last game this season at the Smith Center, and that’s all it was.”
ACC tournament bracket
Pool photo by Robert Willett