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Saturday April 17th

Editorial: Nothing gold can stay — including Roy Williams

Head Coach Roy Williams reacts to the game against N.C. State in the Smith Center on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. UNC beat N.C. State 85-79.3
Buy Photos Head Coach Roy Williams reacts to the game against N.C. State in the Smith Center on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. UNC beat N.C. State 85-79.3

After 33 seasons, 903 wins and three national championships, UNC students and fans are struck with grief by the news of Roy Williams' retirement from the game of basketball. 

Much like his mentor Dean Smith’s retirement, the news comes unexpectedly at the end of the season, ending his contract early. Fellow coaches, players and other big names in basketball have made public comments praising Williams’ on his accomplished career, making the occasion feel even more sentimental.

As we process these emotions together, the Editorial Board chronicles the five stages of grief:

Denial

It’s an April Fools' joke, right? 

The timing of the news of Williams’ retirement was nothing but unfortunate. For fans and students alike, individuals were quick to dismiss the announcement as a prank. Even as players, other coaches and other news outlets started to chime in and verify that the decision was quite real, it was something that was difficult to believe.

Anger

Daggum!

Roy is known for rarely using any profanity in moments of stress or anger, and instead turns to his lexicon of Southern aphorisms. Daggum might be his most often used term, and honestly could be used to describe any of the stages on this list. 

But, it fits anger the most, because when you’re in a fiery rage, what else to yell but “Daggum!”

Depression

Insert crying Michael Jordan meme here. For many of us, Roy is the only UNC basketball coach we have ever known. 

We feel nostalgia for all the basketball-related memories of our time at UNC. All the Late Nights with Roy we will not be able to experience again. The shoes. The locker room celebrations. And everything else, big and small, he brought to UNC. 

The thought that future generations of UNC students will never have attended while Roy coached is definitely one that is hard to come to terms with.

Bargaining

Please, just one more season. Please, just come back one more time — we can try for another championship. 

It feels wrong to have Roy leave like this. We would trade anything to have Roy go out a champion, and if anyone deserves to leave a champion, it’s Roy. We had him for 6,562 days, but we’d do anything for just 365 more.

Acceptance

The poor timing of this announcement with April Fools' Day is merely a coincidence — the press conference affirmed our worries to be true. It is the end of an era. As reality starts to set in, it will feel weird having any other coach besides Roy Williams grace the UNC sideline. 

All good things must come to an end, but we're particularly disappointed that it had to be while we’re still here.

No matter what stage you’re in, we are all sad to see this legend leave UNC.

We love you, Roy — thanks for everything. In victory and defeat, you have lifted our spirits. You crafted a legacy at this school that can never be matched. We mourn losing you, but we must accept that nothing gold can stay. 

Now, go get some well-deserved rest.

@dthopinion

opinion@dailytarheel.com

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