The Joy of Roy

January17/ 2000

… I’m going to make life real easy for all my fellow Tar Heel fans out there, at least for the ones with good sense.  For those Tar Heel fans who do not meet that minimum requirement, please continue to fret, stew, and drink those Sak-rete Smoothies.  For all our readers of the Lupine, Hokie, and assorted  persuasions, this news won’t be too encouraging but it’s nothing you haven’t already suspected.


 NOTE:  This column was written BEFORE Ol’ Roy’s Boys broke into The Royal Bank of Canada and stole the cash, the coins, the bearer bonds, and broke the heart of WolfpackNation.  Ol’ Roy has run right thru “sainthood” and is standing on the brink of Total Deification. … 

“The First Noel the angels did sing …”


    BobLee constantly modifies his dogmatic opinions on lots of things.  I still dislike long baggy BB shorts … cock-eyed ball caps … the WNBA … restrictor-plate racing … the current version of Zigga Zoomba … F-Bomb Alley … the restrooms at Wally Wade … K’s sideline language … faculty squirrels … and the upper decks at The Legend’s Lair and The Royal Canadian Bank’s building.  

   I have modified my opinions to “likely” on Prince Tassel Loafer’s retiring alive and not posthumously … on Burly John sticking around … on Ersky not doing anything REALLY stoopid as UNC Prez … on Democrats throwing out “Boss” Black … and on any restaurant concept lasting at least a year at the intersection of Glenwood and Millbrook in Raleigh.

One of my opinions that never has changed ONE IOTA is that Ol’ Roy Williams is a Very Special Big Time BB Coach.  I’ve though so since about Year 3 in his Lawrence tenure and my admiration for that fella has only grown.  It can’t get much more impressed without him walking on water or declaring himself a Republican and getting elected Mayor of Carrboro.

Some of UNC’s “less enlightened” think Ol’ Roy has only coached two places … as asssistant for YOLITB … and now as current HC at UNC.  Those “17 lost years” were some insignificant wandering in the midwest not unlike Moses in the desert.  

   Ol’ Roy has been soaking up knowledge and know-how for 30 years and he is the sum of all his experiences, as we all are.  The man has become VERY GOOD at his chosen occupation.  He’s no better at what he does than a “very good” barber, chef, lawyer, car salesman, cardiologist, or Force Recon Marine … but most people never reach “VERY GOOD” in a society where “good enough” is becoming “good enough”.

   There are 200 or so college basketball coaches and gazillions of high school, and small college coaches.  “The legendary Paul E. Jones” could prepare and coach his’n or your’n to beat your’n or his’n but chose to remain at the high school level as did Morgan Wooten.  Ol’ Roy chose to ply his trade on “the big stage” and he has played to standing O’s from the get-go and will continue to do so for a while.  There is no bigger a stage for “a basketball coach” than the rarefied air of a perennial Top Five NCAA 1-A program and that includes the NBA.

   I figured out “what makes Roy tick” when I KNEW he was going to say “I’m staying” before he said “I’m staying”.  It had zip zero nada to do with anything The Dickster did or didn’t do … nor could YOL have effected what “had to be”.  Roy was not strategizing to “never follow the legend but follow the guy that follows the legend” … Roy was just being Roy.  But BobLee, he would have followed Gut not Dean … PUHLEEZE … Gut was Dean Lite and the shadow was large and dominant.

   Roy was NOT figuring “let Matt go in and clean house and piss everybody off so when I come in and do the same I’ll be cleaning out his people, not Dean’s.”  The Genius of Roy is in his straightforward simplicity.  Not a Forrest Gump naivite at all, simply more of a Davy Crockett credo … “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead”.   Staying in Lawrence when he did was “right”.  Leaving when he did was also “right”.  Roy has a remarkable proclivity to “do right”.  It’s a gift.

   Ol’ Roy invariably does “the right thing”.  He doesn’t always cut down the nets as his little pissant critics love to point out, but he is always “prepared” and covers all the contingencies that “dame fortune” doesn’t control.  If Kurt Heinrich aimed 1” to the left, Ol’ Roy beats Boeheim and Carmello.  There are a handful of such “if onlys” throughout Roy’s career … as well as in YOL’s.  YOL could have easily lost both NCs he did win and won 3-4 he did not win … due to “the whim of Lady Luck”.  The VERY GOOD coaches put themselves in that position a whole lot more than the “just good” coaches do.  And for those who chose to forget, there were at least two moments in the recent March To The Arch where Lady Luck smiled down and said “I’m on your side tonight Roy”.  Otherwise Roy’s still totin’ that monkey and the army of adoring sycophants isn’t nearly as large.  Roy knows all about “adoring sycophants” … it’s another gift.

UNC might not deserve Roy Williams … but UNC HAS Roy Williams and damn well better thank whatever all powerful deity South Building allows them to publicly acknowledge these days.  Druids, Ishtar, and John Edwards’ parakeet “Sparky” are all on the “approved” list.

   The 4,000th  reader to tell us “I’ve enjoyed watching THIS TEAM more than any other Tar Heel team I can ever remember” will win a copy of BobLee’s book.  Better hurry … #3986 just told us.

This was the year to lay the wood to Roy.  It has been about as “mediocre” as we’re ever likely to see in The Ol’ Roy Era.  There might be 3-4 more losses this season and maybe just a quick dance or two in March, but who else could have won 20 with not one player even BORN when Michael hit the jumper in ’82.  Not ONE single one of you had realized that … not even Art Chansky or Rick Brewer had realized that … but that’s why you come to this column.

   Roy will NEVER escape the shadow of YOL … even with a handful of rings.  He knows that.  He could have escaped Phog’s shadow in Lawrence but he chose to come home where he can be Prince but never King.  A vintage Ol’ Roy decision.   

A word to you recruit-nuts.  Play your silly little games, text message those Blue Chips and read the guru blather … but don’t EVER think you and those website pseudo-gurus are even on the same planet as Roy and his inner circle staff of go-get’ems.  There no man drawing breath in 2006 that understands Big Time college basketball recruiting like Ol’ Roy.  That pinched face fellow eight miles away understands it AS GOOD as Roy does … but NOBODY knows it better.  Those “lost years” wandering in the wheat fields of the midwest were put to very good use … who knew!

If you MUST follow “recruiting” for goodness sakes … just check with David Glenn and ACC Sports Journal.  Anything you get from the junior woodchuck wannabees is sloppy 2nds, 3rds, 4ths.  Take what Brother Dave says to the bank and tune out the rest of the noise.

Every kid in the Top 100 hyperventilates when he thinks Ol’ Roy might want him (same w/ the West Derm guy so don’t get the big-head).  Most won’t come close to being an Ol’ Roy kinda-kid either academically, athletically, or attitudeally.  Of the handful that do, he’ll corral more than his share EVERY YEAR.  He will finish 2nd or even 3rd on a few he “really wants”.  Even Tiger misses a gimme now and then … but Roy’ll make do just fine.  

Just as with YOL, Lady Luck will send her “injury fairy” to poke Ol’ Roy in the eye every once in a while, derailing another net cutting or 2 or 5.  Count’em from YOL’s career … enough broken wrists, blown knees, stoved fingers, et al to make Job cry “why me God?”  Roy knows that’ll happen because it’s already happened plenty of times.  Roy has never measured Roy by counting rings.  Roy doesn’t really care how the loonies in Lawrence or Chapel Hill choose to measure him.  Roy and Davy Crockett … “Be sure you’re right … then go ahead.”

Roy coulda stayed in Lawrence or gone “pro” or gone any where in 1-A World … but the stubborn son-of-a-gun chose to plop down 8 miles away from the one coach in America that ain’t afraid of him one bit.  That tells me beaucoups about Roy.

God luv Herb.  He can never be more than “the 3rd coach” in a 15 mile radius of I-40 amd Miami Blvd.  He could dance every March and even whup one of the “big-uns” now and then and it won’t matter … and every citizen of Wuff-Nation with an IQ in double digits knows it too.  Yes, yes, yes … Jimmy V was an incredible coach, guy, inspiration, yadda yadda … he died 15 years ago.  Time to move on. 

Every year Roy and Mike will slug it out 2, 3, and even 4 times.  EVERY one of’em will be “a THRILLA”.  Occasionally one or tha’other will win by 10-15 and fans will go bat sh*t declaring “TOTAL DOMINANCE” but Roy and Mike will know better.

Russell v Chamberlain … Palmer v Nicklaus … Teddy Ballgame v Joltin’ Joe … Laver v Rosewall … Magic v Byrd … I think Ol’ Roy came back BECAUSE Mike was “just 8 miles away” … and I think Mike is glad he did.  Unless you are VERY GOOD at what you do, you might not understand that.


 Swagger’s Stumper

 “Never follow the Legend …” 

is known as the Phil Bengston Rule.  Why?


      Lake Mattamuskeet is in Hyde County … an INCREDIBLE number of readers knew that fact.  BobLee was impressed.  48 guys have signed up to go on the Ersky-Swagger Duck Hunt.  We figure Ersky is probably an Orvis guy, not a Cabelas guy.  No, I haven’t invited Dick Cheney. 

    Wednesday was a really rough day for all RBC Center coaches … Peter Laviolette’s USA Hockey team lost to the Jamaican Bobsled Girls’ Team interns.  The good news … they’re done.  Peter is growing a beard and changing his name to Bode Miller.  Janet Gretzky has been named Head Coach for 2010.

    More UNC FB Turnover …..  Defensive coach & Recruiting Coord Brad Lawing returns to South Carolina.  Part of the anticipated collateral residue from Marv’s Mega-Raise.   Mark Weber from Fresno State replaces Hal Hunter as OL Coach.  I SURE hope Coaches Cignetti and Weber know that “UNC likes to be Harvard during the week”.  When Smilin’ Jon Tenuta realized that he laughed and left.  …. Remember … staff turnover is only a negative when it happens to Chuck Amato’s staff … no, I can’t explain that one, it just is.

I must say … I prefer Ol’ Roy to YOLITB.  Yes, part of it is YOL’s uber-Liberal in-your-face thing but mainly its that Ol’ Roy just seems more “real guy”.  You could hug Roy or give him a frog on the arm.  When’s the last time anybody hugged or frogged YOL? Think about that.  Speakin’ of YOL … I hate to tell you folks BUT General Robert Montgomery Knight is only 12 Ws short of YOL.  Next December will be “the day you knew was coming”

    OK … SSays newbees are all saying what/who is YOL and YOLITB ???  YOL is “Yea Olde Legend aka Yea Olde Legend In The Basement … that guy that preceded the Bill Guthridge Era of Carolina Basketball.

E-mail BobLee at

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