By R.L. Bynum
There was one big reason that Roy Williams cursed live on national TV in 2003 after his final Kansas team had lost to Syracuse in the NCAA championship game. There are several reasons he decided to leave the Jayhawks program for Carolina when given the second chance.
Why does he use so many dadgum faux curse words in press conferences?
It’s all in the final three episodes of Capitol Broadcasting Company’s six-episode podcast series “Roy: That Dadgum Legend,” with Joe Giglio and Joe Ovies, the weekday afternoon drive-time hosts at WCMC (99.9 The Fan).
The first three episodes were released last week and the final three were released Wednesday.
During episode 4 “Royisms,” they discuss how Williams tries to avoid profanity. Giglio points out that it’s when Williams is truly angry that the curse words slip out.
“It’s closer to the surface then,” said Williams, who admits he curses on the golf course but always after one of his bad shots or general frustration with his game.
Before the interview with CBS reporter Bonnie Bernstein started, he asked Bernstein not to bring up the head coaching opening at North Carolina.
“I was really mad at her,” Williams said. “If she had been a man, I would have stopped the broadcast because I told her ‘do not ask me about that.’ That has nothing to do with a national championship game.”
Williams told Bernstein that if somebody tells her in her ear to ask that, she should tell them that Williams says they are not a good person.
“She did it anyway. And then, fast forward a couple of weeks later, I found out that the guy in her head was not telling her [to ask that],” Williams said of a CBS crew member who talks to Bernstein in her earpiece. “And, so, I had no use for anything about her or that moment. And I didn’t think it was fair. And I really didn’t give a flip at that moment.
“I cared about those kids in the locker room and to have someone be that insensitive and stupid? I have no problem saying that after I’d told her, ‘do not ask,’ ” Williams said. “Because I’m not concerned about that. You don’t see my kids in the locker room crying right now. And that’s what I’m concerned about.”
Trying to avoid cursing is one of the dadgum reasons that word kept coming up in press interviews.
“There was a time that I wanted to make sure that I almost never cursed,” Williams said. “And then I started getting away from that. And, so, when I did that, I wanted to try to not get out of hand. And, so, dadgum was very easy because I used that my whole life, even when I was a kid in high school. And then people laughed at it and I always thought, ‘let’s just give them something to complain about.’ ”
In his first year at Kansas, his goal was to limit himself to seven curse words. Williams said he didn’t miss that target by much but that his players said that his curse words weren’t really cursing.
“I didn’t want the real bad ones, to say the least,” said Williams, who tried to always substitute ‘frickin’ for another F-word but let the latter slip during one press conference at Notre Dame. He quickly apologized and said he meant to say frickin’.
“I’ll have years where I’ll be a lot better than other years,” he said. “Only the last five or six have I felt like I’ve done a poor job of that. The rest of the time, I thought I’ve done all right.”
When he turned down the UNC job the first time when Matt Doherty was hired, Williams figured Doherty would be in Chapel Hill for 30 years and he wouldn’t have another chance to coach at Carolina. He was fine with that. He talked about how his promise to Nick Collison that he would stay at Kansas all four years of his career was part of the decision.
Many factors played into Williams saying yes the second time after Doherty’s departure, including the fact that Collison’s Kansas career was over.
“The athletic director thing was much bigger than people thought at Kansas,” Williams said of Kansas AD Al Bohl. “Because I was not very comfortable. Did not feel like I had the support. It was an unusual situation. It was a lot of friction in the athletic department. I felt sort of betrayed by the chancellor because he knew how bad it was.”
And, of course, the words of his mentor Dean Smith had sway.
“Coach Smith said, ‘we wanted you the first time; we need you this time,’ “ Williams said. “And, so, all of those [factors], but it wasn’t just one little thing.”
Williams said that when he became UNC’s head coach, he had two jobs.
“One was to get everybody back together again. And the second was to win, but it was in that order,” Williams said. “And that was the priority that I gave it.”
Williams said that it isn’t fair to blame Doherty for Smith getting a basement office after Doherty took over as head coach. He said that when Doherty asked where Smith wanted an office, he said: “down there.”
He talks about how he initially had an AOL email address while at Kansas to correspond with this son and daughter. But once his address was made public and he got hundreds of emails, he decided that he didn’t want anything to do with email after that.
There is a humorous discussion of how Williams has shied away from technology and has very few apps on his phone.
In episode 5, “Tobacco Road,” Williams explains that he didn’t cheer for N.C. State to win the NCAA title in 1983 and, instead, wanted Virginia to win. That was because the Cavaliers had Ralph Sampson and he didn’t want the Wolfpack program to get better because of a national title.
But, of course, he always valued a win over the Wolfpack more than a victory over Duke and he explains how he developed that distaste for N.C. State when he was a kid.
In the final episode, “That Dadgum Project,” many topics are mentioned and several interesting stories are told. One was a story he’s told before of how he missed a chance to play golf with Arnold Palmer.
It’s all essential listening for any Carolina fan. All six episodes are available here.