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Thursday February 25th

Roy and Wanda Williams donate over $600,000 to fund scholarships for spring athletes

Roy Williams tosses T-shirts before the game against Yale on Monday, Dec. 30, 2019 in the Smith Center. UNC defeated Yale 70-67, marking Williams' career high of 879 wins, a tie with former head coach Dean Smith.
Buy Photos Roy Williams tosses T-shirts before the game against Yale on Monday, Dec. 30, 2019 in the Smith Center. UNC defeated Yale 70-67, marking Williams' career high of 879 wins, a tie with former head coach Dean Smith.

North Carolina men’s basketball head coach Roy Williams and his wife, Wanda, donated over $600,000 to fund scholarships for student-athletes in spring sports returning for their senior season, UNC announced in a press release on Thursday.   

The donation will go to fund scholarships for student-athletes in spring sports including men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s outdoor track, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s golf. 

Williams made a phone call to discuss the donation with UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham the day all spring sports competitions were canceled by the NCAA, the release said. 

“He didn’t want those students to miss that experience and wanted to fund those scholarships for next year,” Cunningham said in the release. “I still get chills when I think about his phone call and the impact it would have for dozens of our students.”

On March 30, less than three weeks after the NCAA canceled all winter and spring competition, an extra year of eligibility was granted to spring sport athletes following a vote from the NCAA Division I Council. 

Extending an extra year of eligibility to spring sport athletes came with its own hurdles, as the council allowed schools the opportunity to give athletes whose eligibility was set to expire the chance to come back without requiring that the same level of athletic scholarship aid was provided. 

North Carolina’s spring coaches were notified of the identity of the benefactors in a Zoom call with Cunningham. 

“Things were very difficult, and our seniors were devastated,” UNC women’s tennis head coach Brian Kalbas said in a YouTube video following the announcement. “For them to have their senior year back is truly amazing.” 

The Williamses initially asked to keep the donation anonymous but agreed to make it known as athletes continue their return to campus.  

“Roy and Wanda have donated millions of dollars to UNC, the athletic department, the Rams Club and individual sport programs over the years but have always chosen to do so without fanfare or publicity,” Montgomery said in the release. 

@zachycrain

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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