Following the news of Roy Williams' retirement on Thursday, college basketball coaches around the country reacted to the departure of the North Carolina coach, one of the greatest leaders in the history of the game.
Duke's Mike Krzyzewski:
"Like everyone, I was surprised to read today's announcement about Roy Williams' retirement. College basketball is losing one of its greatest coaches and a man who genuinely cares about the game of basketball, and more importantly, the people who play it. Roy has led two iconic programs as a head coach and did so in exemplary fashion. I have the utmost respect for Roy and his family, who represented themselves and their institutions with class, grace and humility. While we were on opposite sides of college basketball's greatest rivalry, we both understood how lucky we were to be part of it and always tried to represent it in the way it deserved. Personally, I will miss competing against him, seeing him at coaches' meetings and having the opportunity to discuss how to make our game even better. Roy is a great friend, and our sport was very fortunate to have him as long as it did. We have all benefitted from his longevity in and commitment to coaching. His legacy is secure as one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history."
Kentucky's John Calipari:
"I want to congratulate Roy Williams on a fantastic career and wish he and his wife, Wanda, the absolute best as they move on to the next part of their lives. I am so thankful for Roy's friendship throughout the years. He is someone I could call about anything and did so many, many times. I have the ultimate respect for Roy in how he did his job, how he coached his team, how he won at the highest level, and most importantly, how he cared about his players. He won everywhere he has been and has coached some of the game's best players. He will go down as one of the greatest coaches in the history of our game. "The thing that speaks to me the most about Roy is how he never forgot about the people who helped get him there. Roy would always make sure his high school coach, Buddy Baldwin from Asheville, was sitting behind his bench and along for every step of the journey. And then the respect he had and showed for Coach Smith was always first class. His ability to give credit and respect the tradition and those before him was, to me, something that always said who he was as a coach and a man. The game is going to miss his everyday presence."
Michigan State's Tom Izzo:
"Roy Williams is one of the best coaches and best people in college basketball. I've had the privilege to coach against him many, many times and I've always had great respect and admiration for not only what a great coach he is, but for how he has run his program and the class he has brought to college athletics. It will be different to look at the North Carolina sideline and not see Roy there, but I wish him my very best after an incredible career as one of the great coaches in college basketball history."
Florida State's Leonard Hamilton:
"Growing up in North Carolina and being a tremendous fan of ACC basketball, I recognize the historical importance of North Carolina to the ACC and college basketball. Coach Williams carried on so well the rich tradition of the UNC basketball program, and he did so with great professionalism and loyalty. He has been a fantastic ambassador for our great sport. The landscape of college basketball has changed tremendously, but the Carolina tradition because of Roy Williams is as strong as it has ever been. He is a Hall of Famer in every sense of the title, and we want to wish him and his family well as they begin this new phase of their lives."
Georgia Tech's Josh Pastner:
"He is one of the greatest to ever coach in the history of any sport."
North Carolina Central's LeVelle Moton:
"When I first got the job at North Carolina Central, the first person to reach out and offer his support was Roy. That meant a lot to me. He didn't have to do that. He once came to NCCU to do a banquet. He did everything for free. He's just a good friend. Anything he could do to help me, he did."
Purdue's Matt Painter:
"He did so much for the game. A true gentleman. He always had time for others. He will be missed in our game."
Marquette's Shaka Smart:
"One of the all-time greats! I learned a great deal watching him coach his teams. College basketball will miss him!"
Ohio State's Chris Holtmann:
"I absolutely love Coach Williams! As a younger coach growing up, he was a guy I always admired, and I'm forever grateful for the time we spent together on the road recruiting or when our teams competed against each other. He is quite simply one of the greatest coaches our game has ever seen. And he did it the right way! Enjoy your family, a lot of golf and all that comes with retirement, Coach. You've earned every minute."
Baylor's Scott Drew:
"Coach Williams was such a great ambassador of the game and mentor to young coaches. He was class on and off the court. Personally, I will miss seeing him on the recruiting trail because I always became a better coach and person after spending time with him."
UCLA's Mick Cronin:
"I'm so happy for him. He's a great coach and a better person. Coach, now you can come to L.A. and play all the best courses with me!"
Pitt's Jeff Capel:
"Congrats on one of the greatest coaches sports have ever seen. Coach Williams is the epitome of sustained excellence. On top of that, he is one of the true gentlemen of the game. He will be sorely missed."
National Association of Basketball Coaches:
Our profession and the game itself are better off because of Roy Williams. pic.twitter.com/gKIsTlVlHx— NABC (@NABC1927) April 1, 2021
Kansas' Bill Self:
Virginia's Tony Bennett:
"It was an absolute honor to coach against Roy. He is one of the legends of the game and he truly cared about the young men he coached. He always had a kind word for everyone. I wish him nothing but the best, and also really low golf scores." - TB on Roy Williams @UNC_Basketball pic.twitter.com/Al1nFpULI0— Virginia Men's Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) April 1, 2021