By R.L. Bynum
It’s clear that Hubert Davis is good at keeping a secret.
Davis knew two days after Carolina finished the regular season March 6 with a 91–73 win over Duke that Roy Williams was going to retire.
He was probably one of the few people who knew that between that time and when Williams officially announced his retirement on April 1.
That revelation came out of an interview Davis gave Jeff Goodman on a Field of 68 Media Network podcast.
Davis said that over the last three or four years, Williams had been hinting that he was close to retirement.
“He would say I’m getting close,” Davis said. “And he says, ‘Do you have any interest because I’d like you to be the next head coach.’ My response to him every time that he said that was either silence or, ‘Coach, you know, I really like where I’m at. I’m settled. And I love being one of your assistants.’ And so, that was my response each time that he brought it up.”
That changed after Carolina had defeated the Blue Devils in what turned out to be Williams’ last home game as head coach on Saturday, March 6.
Williams asked if Davis and his wife would come over to his house the next day. Davis couldn’t come Sunday because Davis’ youngest son was at a soccer tournament in Richmond and his wife couldn’t come back in time.
The meeting happened on Monday, March 8.
“That’s when he told us that he was going to retire,” Davis said. “And he said he wanted me to be the next head coach and my response was the same and there was lots of communication, emotions, crying, and we talked for over two hours with Coach Williams and Mrs. Williams.”
Davis said that he and Williams didn’t say anything to each other about the imminent decision through the ACC tournament or the NCAA tournament loss to Wisconsin because they were focused on trying to put together a few March victories.
“But after we lost a Wisconsin, the next day when we landed, he says, ‘I need you to come over to the house.’ And so my wife and I went back over to the house,” Davis said. “He says ‘I’m serious. I’m going to retire. Will you be the next head coach?’ And that’s when I said I would love to and started the process.”
Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham went through a national search, which, of course, ended with Davis being hired.
“So, it was a long process,” Davis said. “I had known that coach was going to retire for three weeks to a month before he actually did it. And I was the only one that knew and so it was an emotional time but that’s how it all happened.”
There is a lot more in that interview, which you can watch here: