The playing floor of the Smith Center, home to so many iconic plays, legendary players and pregame floor dives, now has a name — Roy Williams Court.
The school announced in a press release on Thursday morning that it will name the floor after Williams, its three-time national champion head coach. The news came a day after Williams turned 68 years old.
“It’s very hard to believe; it’s just so flattering,” Williams said in a statement. “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 is one of six coaches to win three national championships, and has led UNC to a 424-126 record in his first 15 years at his alma mater. He's also the only man to win three national championships at the school he graduated from. Coaching in the Smith Center, which will now bear his name along with that of his friend and mentor, Williams is 210-30.
The Asheville native and 1972 UNC grad also became the first coach to win 400 games at two different schools, when the Tar Heels beat Bucknell on Nov. 15, 2017. He is sixth all-time in winning percentage (.788) and seventh in wins (842) among all Division I head coaches.
“Coach Williams is one of college basketball’s greatest coaches ever,” athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. “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.”
The court will be officially dedicated in a ceremony on August 24.
“Coach’s hard work and sacrifice over his 40-year dedication to the game are amazing to see both from someone who played for him and now has the opportunity to work with him every day," said Sean May, a 2005 champion under Williams and current director of basketball operations, in a statement. "Naming the floor for Coach Williams in an iconic building that is named for his mentor, Coach Smith, makes this even more special, not only for his family but all the Tar Heels who have played for him."
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