Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Williams Says No to Tar Heels, Will Stay at Kansas Veteran Coach Decides He Can't Leave His Players

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Williams Says No to Tar Heels, Will Stay at Kansas Veteran Coach Decides He Can't Leave His Players

Article excerpt

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Roy Williams will remain at Kansas, ending his week of agonizing over whether to return to North Carolina to become its basketball coach.

His decision last night set off a celebration among Jayhawks fans who had pleaded with Williams not to take the job at his alma mater, succeeding Bill Guthridge who retired last Friday.

"I'm staying. If that's OK, why don't we just end this press conference right now," said Williams, who was misty-eyed as he talked and at times choked up. "I guess I could have just called from the beach and said I'm staying, but that didn't seem the right way to do it.

"The decision here I've made came after the toughest seven days of my life."

A crowd estimated at 16,300 watched the news conference on a giant video screen in the football stadium and cheered almost every word.

"I made the best decision for me," Williams said. "As long as I can do what's right for my players, that's all that matters." North Carolina athletic director Dick Baddour said the school would not limit its search to coaches with North Carolina ties and had no real timetable.

"As soon as possible," Baddour said of a replacement. "Anybody who wants to be a candidate can be a candidate."

Earlier yesterday, Williams, who had been an assistant to Dean Smith at North Carolina for 10 years, was strolling alone across campus, wearing the haggard look of a man who had no job, not a man struggling to pick between two great ones.

"My decision, as I said, is the most difficult time period I've ever had," Williams said.

Williams has a 329-82 record in 12 seasons at Kansas, the winningest record for a coach in that many seasons.

He has taken the Jayhawks to two Final Fours.

Williams' wait gripped both states for a week. Kansas officials said almost 2,000 e-mails had arrived addressed to Williams urging him to stay. …

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