Peers say UNC's Roy Williams is most overrated coach

acarter@newsobserver.comAugust 9, 2012 

Roy Williams is the most overrated coach in the country, according to a poll of nearly 100 coaches. PHOTO: Robert Willett

CHAPEL HILL — If you were coming up with a list of the most overrated coaches in college basketball, what names might be on it? St. John’s Steve Lavin? Rick Barnes, of Texas? Maybe Villanova’s Jay Wright?

What about North Carolina coach Roy Williams?

Williams doesn’t seem overrated. After all, he has coached teams to seven Final Fours and two national championships. Apparently, though, his street cred is lacking in the coaching community.

In a poll conducted by, Williams was named by his peers the most overrated coach in the country. Twenty-three percent of the nearly 100 coaches polled identified Williams as the most overrated coach in the game.

Barnes finished second in the poll, followed by Baylor’s Scott Drew, Lavin, Wright and UCLA’s Ben Howland.

Certainly, you can make a case for Barnes, who has a great reputation despite a less-than-great resume of one Final Four and no national championships. I can see Drew, who has guided teams to the NCAA tournament just three times in his 10 seasons as a head coach. Certainly Lavin and Howland would be in the discussion.

But ol’ Roy? Overrated? Really? ran an anonymous quote with some of the coaches who were named to the list, and here’s the one about Williams: “He’s won at Kansas and UNC. But who couldn’t do that … besides Matt Doherty?”

That’s a fair point. Sure, certain programs have inherent advantages over others, and those advantages make winning easier. But isn’t Kansas considered “Kansas” in part because of the job Williams did during his 15 seasons there? And, speaking of Doherty, what about the job Williams did of reestablishing the Tar Heels after Doherty brought the program to its depths? Sure, Doherty recruited the talent most responsible for Williams’ first national championship in 2005 but Williams had to meld that talent together and lead it.

He had to, you know … coach it.

If anything, Williams’ name at the top of a list like this just goes to show, once again, the insane expectations that come with coaching at UNC. Winning a lot of games isn’t merely enough. Same with trips to the Elite Eight. Williams has won two national championships in the past eight seasons but, to some in the coaching profession, that apparently isn’t impressive enough.

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