UNC's Williams to fans: Don't sell us out

acarter@newsobserver.comNovember 30, 2011 

— Roy Williams has a message for North Carolina supporters who might be interested in selling tickets to opposing fans for his team's basketball games: Don't do it.

Especially if the seats you're selling are behind the Tar Heels' bench.

During his weekly radio show Monday, Williams blasted Carolina fans who sold their tickets for UNC's games last weekend in the Las Vegas Invitational. The Heels lost 90-80 to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Saturday night, while UNLV fans were sitting behind the UNC bench.

"I am not friendly with anybody else on the other team, and for some of our fans to get their tickets through the Rams Club and sell their tickets to UNLV boosters that are sitting right behind our families, I don't like that," he said. "... If you sell your tickets that you get from the Rams Club to somebody else and they come in cheering for UNLV, then I've got no use for you."

Williams, who said he would like to find out who in the Rams Club, the UNC booster organization, sold the tickets, stood by his harsh words on Tuesday.

"It's frustrating, it's disappointing," Williams said. "Do you think ESPN likes Fox to be successful? You think Nike likes Under Armour to be successful? I mean, I'm competing out there. I don't like our fans to help the other team by either giving [away] or selling their tickets. That's disappointing."

Bad manners

While some of the UNLV fans sitting in the Rams Club seats cheered against the Tar Heels, Williams said one fan was "negative, negative, negative right in five feet of an assistant coach's wife for two nights."

On Tuesday, Williams reflected on the 2002 North Carolina-N.C. State game at the Smith Center, where thousands of Wolfpack fans flooded the arena during one of the worst seasons in UNC basketball history.

Williams, then the head coach at Kansas, watched the game from afar.

"Years ago I'm watching in Lawrence, Kansas, and North Carolina's playing North Carolina State and there were five million red shirts in the crowd," Williams said. "And if I'd had a BB gun, five million red shirts would have had a burned rear end. Because I just don't like those kinds of things. I mean, seriously."

Williams then addressed the print media reporters in attendance at his weekly news conference.

"You guys like it when all the Internet people beat you on a story?" he asked. "I mean, that's what it is. It's competition. And if you were my friend, you are not going to help the competition."

Backing up the coach

John Montgomery, the executive director of the Rams Club, said on Monday that he agreed with Williams' comments and that he thought most Tar Heels supporters would agree with Williams, too.

"I think that's what our fans really like about coach Williams," Montgomery said of Williams' candidness.

This isn't the first time that Williams has been frustrated by fans - or a fan - who happened to be sitting near the UNC bench. During a December 2009 game against Presbyterian College, Williams pointed out a heckler to security guards.

The man, who had been sitting close to the Tar Heels' bench, was escorted from his seat and out of the arena.

Carter: 919-829-8944

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