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Congratulations Roy Williams


Legendary basketball coach Roy Williams retired from the University of North Carolina this past week. There is no shortage of congratulatory remarks and praise for what he accomplished during his 33 years at UNC. The one that stands out to me, though, is this speech by one of his players back in 2016.

I find it inspirational how much a player can be personally impacted by a coach. Not just how much they learn and improv skill wise, but how they grow as a person. Marcus Paige’s emotional speech embodies that connection.

It is also interesting when we talk about great coaches, it is usually not just about how many wins or championships they have, but their character, commitment, devotion, ability to get the most of their players, that resonates with athletes and fans. The wins are usually an outcome of the other internal traits. Great coaches are great people that happen to coach. They attract talent and stoke the willingness to do everything it takes to perform for that coach. They get players to believe in themselves, which in-turn makes the players believe in their coach.

I think we often lose sight of what it means to develop a player – at any level. It is way more than just teaching the basic skills of the sport or managing the game. It is more than just winning. More often than not, a great coach’s legacy will be felt long after his or her players have moved on. Those players will remember the support and guidance that helped them become better people on and off the field/court/pitch…

I am not much of a college basketball follower, but I am a fan of great coaches. Seeing what Roy Williams meant to his players is something special.

We need more coaches like him. Congratulations.