Happy Birthday, Roy Williams
Throughout the day, I'm sure you've seen countless top 10 moments of Roy Williams, his accolades, his history from growing up in North Carolina, or being one of the most revered coaches to step on the basketball court. But, my opinions on Williams exceed his winning history; it's who he is behind the scenes that make him the giant in college sports.
I've written this a million times to convey the thoughts of Roy Williams in something small and memorable. Still, each time I've erased it because I was uncertain of how to articulate who Williams is when no one is watching.
He hasn't done anything super outstanding in my six years of covering North Carolina; it's the small details that I catch that should give him more recognition. Being a Hall of Fame basketball coach is just one of his endearing qualities.
It can be challenging being a young black woman in a white male-dominated space. The attention is carefully on you for numerous reasons, but those spaces are made tolerable with coaches who ensure that you're seen. Williams sees me.
Whenever I'm in the press room, Williams makes sure my questions are answered, "Don't forget her right there," when I'm being talked over, he will silence the reporter and state "she's talking," or when our paths cross in the hallways, he will reach out to shake my hand "hey kid" those are the details that make me proud to cover his years at North Carolina. I know that I'm not just seen as some young whipper-snapper but as a reporter.
But it's the joy of his chuckle when he knows I'm asking a question. He knows I usually have questions that tap into his emotions or commentary from fans like you! I think he's caught on to my unorthodox approach to college sports.
I can't tell you how many times I've been written off or not taken earnestly when it comes to my career; frequently, those moments make me question my validity in the rooms I walk in. But the small details that Williams shines through gives me acknowledgment that the person who matters, in the position of power so to speak, sees who I am and what I do. Not many people can say that about the coaches they cover.
And it's not just Williams who deserves praise, Coaches Leonard Hamilton, and Mike Young make every effort to see my hand, but for Williams, who has done it for the past six years, I've covered he hasn't changed. You can ask anyone, Williams is as consistent as it gets.
This is the Roy Williams I have come to know.
There are no top lists or historical facts, just the simplicity of a 'thank you, Roy Williams' from a girl who found her voice during his tenure. We are all aware of his accolades, but I want you to know what he does when no one is looking, the validity he provides to those in the intense rooms, and I hope that gives you more incentive of being a fan.
Here's to 70 more, Roy Williams.
But just in case you do care about his dominance, check out the video above!
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