North Carolina coach Roy Williams -- who had a benign tumor in his right kidney removed recently, and will have a tumor in his left kidney biopsied this week -- gave his first post-surgery interview to Jones Angell of the Tar Heel Sports Network during halftime of UNC’s football game on Saturday. Learfield Sports provided the audio to ESPN.com on Monday morning.
And here’s the transcription:
Q: How do you feel?
Williams: I feel good; I really do. I feel very, very lucky, to say the least. The people at the hospital were just off the charts, how good they were. The surgery was 3 ½ hours or so, and I really haven't been in a lot of pain. I’ve been uncomfortable quite a bit, but that’s just part of the business. But I really feel so, so fortunate, and that was even before the news came out that the first tumor was benign.
Needless, to say, I feel like I’m a blessed human being right now, and I’d like for it to go on for one more time, that sort of thing. I don’t have a lot of energy; I’ve been to the office or out on the field with our guys every day this week for at least, to watch them, for an hour or so. Right now I’m a little chilly, and I’d like to see us score a little more and the rain stop.
Q: I’ve got to imagine, personally, those were some scary days and weeks for you?
Williams: It was. You hear all these stories where people say it just hits you between the eyes, and I’ve always heard that. But there’s no way to prepare for it, there’s no way to say, ‘Well, things are going to be all right,’ because then your mind just starts racing, and you have so many thoughts going through your mind -- ‘What am I going to do today, tomorrow? When am I going to do this?’ It’s pretty emotional at times, but I got such great care at the hospital, and the outpouring from the North Carolina people, and the other people in the coaching profession, my friends, my foxhole buddies, have just been off the charts.
Q: What was your message to the staff and the team as you were getting ready for the surgery?
Williams: Well, I told the team about it the night before because we didn’t want all kinds of speculation ... I just talked to the team and the staff about how life doesn’t always give you everything like you want it; you’ve got to overcome some adversity. And I was so confident in my staff that they would handle things with the kids; the kids were great. It was a little emotional, but at the same time, it was one of those things where a lot of guys can say they have the best coaching staff in America. But nobody can say it with the conviction that Roy Williams does.
Q: What’s your schedule like for the next couple of weeks?
Williams: This week, we’re going to have a biopsy and see what it says on the other kidney, and then we’ll make some decisions after that as to what will be done next. The original play was two surgeries, so I’ve mentally prepared myself to do that. If anything comes out better than that, I’ll feel like I birdied the last hole and I keep playing.
Q: Have you had any time to think about basketball and your team, with practice starting soon?
Williams: I have, because it’s the worst thing in the world. I say, ‘What can I do to get better?’ And they say, ‘nothing.’ If I wanted to get better as a shooter, I’d shoot more, I’d dribble more, whatever. So I’ve been bored stiff.
I’ve had a lot of time to do a lot of thinking, and I’ve come in and watched the guys do the preseason conditioning. And Wanda [Williams' wife] has figured out with these 10 days, counting the surgery, that she might not be willing for me to retire so soon. Ten days to spend with me, she said maybe I ought to coach another 20 years. So there’s been some good things here, too.