Roy Williams, Dean Smith
Listen to Audio (31:36)
What's it mean for someone who grew up in the mountains of western North Carolina to reach the top of your profession - the Basketball Hall of Fame?
Williams: "I really don't know. I've had a lot of people tell me it won't hit me until I get there. Right now, when I think about it ... it's a lot of great players who made me look good and I've asked them to continue doing that. We had player meetings all day yesterday and today so I reminded all of them that I expect them to continue doing that. And it means that I've had great, great, great help along the way. And the guy sitting to my right [Dean Smith] was the biggest part of that."
Coach Smith, what does it mean to you to see Roy going into the Hall?
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Smith: "You should have seen him with the JV's. One time we brought him up to work against the varsity and all of a sudden we couldn't score - he had them working defensively. Certainly it'll be a privilege and honor to be there tomorrow night. And I'm amazed it took this long ... he could have been elected before and we thought he would be. ... He has it all. You go home with him and he's just as honest and straight forward and he teaches extremely well in practice. Everything else is perfect except once in a while I see him look angry [laughing]. He didn't used to do that except at State. But it's a special time for all of us here. He has the total package of a college basketball coach and most coaches you know would agree."
Coach Smith, when did you first notice Coach Williams had the total package?
Smith: "Probably one thing that started me [thinking that] was we invited him to work our camp and we'd never let someone take over the first year they are working and we decided we needed him. Knowing him we knew he'd do it well, but the second year he knew all 60 campers' first name and he made everyone working with him know them by Wednesday. That was pretty impressive in itself."
On those that have most impacted Williams' life -
Williams: "The three most influential people in my life were my mother -- who was my hero, [my high school] Coach [Buddy] Baldwin and Coach Smith. My mother will not be there, but ... Coach Baldwin will be there and Coach Smith. And I've been very fortunate because with Coach Smith, Coach Guthridge and Eddie Fogler here, I had the best training from all three of them you could possibly have. I still get my receipts and put them in an envelope just like Eddie Fogler did. And I just my finished out my plan for the first two weeks of the recruiting period, I write them out on a legal pad just like Eddie Fogler did. I was really fortunate to have those three people to really teach me how to be a basketball coach. Coach Baldwin gave me confidence that I could be somebody and accomplish some things that no one in my family never thought I would. Even just going to college, he was the first person to talk to me about it because no one in my family had ever gone to college. It was Coach Baldwin at that age - he was the reason I got into coaching. ... And then getting here and going to school here, watching Coach Smith was extremely important to me and needless to say when I came back as an assistant I learned more every day than most people learn in a month."
Coach Williams, up to this point, is there one thing that you look back on and are the most proud of?
Williams: "I'd say a couple of things and they're pretty corny, but I'm pretty corny, too, so it fits. Most of the guys that were buddies of mine 30 years ago still are. Those people that helped me when I was little are still important to me and I'm proud of that. And then the other thing I got from Coach Smith is that we both understand that it's a game about the players. A Hall of Fame coach is a guy who has had great players. I'm not being humble, I'm just being truthful. Coach Smith taught me that the players are the most important thing and I think I've continued to show that today ... At the end of the game as a coach, you feel the elation for a couple of moments and then you start thinking about the next game. But if it's a loss it sticks with you forever. That's the toughest part - that highs aren't nearly as high as the lows are low, but it's still all about the players we have. Trying to give them some guidance and hopefully they're get their degree and be successful."
Coach Williams, has your relationship with Coach Smith grown since you took the head coaching job at UNC?
"... It has grown, but I think it's grown every year. I love during practice seeing him sitting over there and watching. He'll come by once a week or so and stick his head in. I love that part of it. ... I love getting his notes from what he sees, because I think he's the best that's ever been. He knows what I want and what I want to do and having that insight is extremely important."