Williams is in his 19th year as a collegiate head coach and fourth at his alma mater. He is the winningest active coach by percentage among coaches with at least 10 years experience. His teams have a 515-128 record, a win percentage of .801.
Williams has led teams to 10 regular-season conference championships, four conference tournament titles, five Final Fours and the 2005 national championship.
He was named the 2006 National and ACC Coach of the Year. It was the sixth season he has earned National Coach of the Year honors. Earlier this season, he won his 500th game, reaching that milestone in fewer seasons (19) than any coach in NCAA Division I history.
Joining Williams on the list of finalists include Los Angeles Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, who led the Lakers and Bulls to 9 NBA titles; Chris Mullin, the former St. John's and NBA standout who played for the 1992 Olympic `Dream Team'; ESPN sportscaster Dick Vitale; legendary high school coach Bobby Hurley of St. Anthony's; and the 1966 NCAA champions from Texas Western.
The 15 finalists includes 10 candidates from the North American Screening Committee - players Adrian Dantley and Mullin; coaches Hurley, Jackson, Eddie Sutton and Williams; contributors Bill Davidson and Vitale; referee `Mendy' Rudolph and the team from Texas Western. Two candidates each comprise Finalists from the Women's Screening Committee - coaches Van Chancellor and Harley Redin - and International Screening Committee - coaches Pedro Ferrandiz and Mirko Novosel, with player Richard Guerin representing the lone nominee from the Veteran's Screening Committee.
The announcement was made at a press conference in Las Vegas, the site of the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. The Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2007 will be announced at the NCAA Men's Final Four in Atlanta on Monday, April 2nd.
The University of North Carolina is currently represented in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame by coaches Dean Smith, Larry Brown, Frank McGuire and Ben Carnevale, player/coach Billy Cunningham and players Robert McAdoo and James Worthy.