North Carolina is naming the court at the Dean Smith Center after Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams
UNC will honor Wiiliams, who led the Tar Heels to NCAA Tournament championships in 2005, 2009 and 2017
If you can't get the building named after you, then having your name emblazened on the court's a pretty great consolation prize.
The University of North Carolina is bestowing this honor upon Roy Williams, a Hall of Fame coach and a UNC alumnus whose amassed three national championships and 424 wins in his 15 years with the Tar Heels.
Next season, the Dean E. Smith Center will feature the Tar Heels playing -- and Williams coaching -- on Roy Williams Court.
"I'm glad his name is on the building," Williams said of Smith. "It's going to be hard to think of my name on the floor in his building."
The official dedication won't wait until the 2018-19 season begins. Williams' name will be unveiled on the hardwood on Aug. 24, when the school holds a reunion for its men's basketball alumni.
"All I ever wanted to be was my high school coach," Williams told CBS Sports in July at Nike's annual Peach Jam.
He's instead gone on to be one of the most successful coaches in college hoops history. Williams has 842 wins in 30 years as a head coach. The first 418 of his career came at Kansas, which he coached at from 1988-2003. He began his college career as a mentee to the late Dean Smith. In 2007, Williams was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Williams has lost only 30 games in 15 seasons inside the Dean Dome.
"Coach Williams is one of college basketball's greatest coaches ever," UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said. "But I've come to see that the measure of the man is his integrity, his honesty, the manner in which he relates to and supports his players and the love he has for the University of North Carolina. He didn't want this honor, but his players and our staff wanted it for him, and that says so much about why we will forever celebrate the game of basketball at Carolina on Roy Williams Court."
At this point, Williams has established a winning legacy at UNC that can be placed right alongside Smith. When his Tar Heels beat Gonzaga to win the 2017 national title, Williams passed his mentor in total national championships. Aside from Williams, the only coaches to win at least three national titles in men's Division I basketball are John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Calhoun, Bob Knight and Adolph Rupp.
"I have to figure out a way to thank all my current and former players, because it may be my name on the court, but it really honors all of them because they made the plays," Williams said. "I also want to thank my family for all the support and love they've given me over the years. I've missed many family things over the years, and they were so understanding. Naming the court will be a thrill for my family. I'll try to say the right things to the former players, to my family and to the Carolina administration, but I don't know if I will be able to adequately state how grateful I am."
The news doubles as a gift; Williams turned 68 on Wednesday. His .788 career win percentage is sixth in the history of men's Division I basketball. His 77 NCAA Tournament wins are second all time, only short of his rival down the road at Duke: Krzyzewski has 94.
It hasn't been all glamour for Williams at UNC, of course. An academic impropriety scandal loomed over the program and university for much of the past decade, but ultimately the NCAA deemed Williams not responsible or connected in any way to the bogus-courses scandal. In fact, in October 2017 the NCAAat all because of the widespread academic issues that plagued the University of North Carolina and its general student body for nearly two decades. Williams' reputation, and recruiting, took a hit. Still, he managed to win the 2017 title amid the uncertainty.
And as for the season ahead, UNC is set up to be quite good again.heading into the 2018-19 season.
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