Days after he strongly refuted speculation that he might consider retiring after this season, North Carolina coach Roy Williams said he’d have a “hard time” leaving amid an unresolved NCAA investigation that continues to drag on.
“I don’t ever want to leave when things – when I leave I want it to be in good shape,” Williams said Tuesday. “And for me, this would have been a very hard time to leave.”
Williams, 65, spent part of his press conference after UNC’s 96-71 win over Miami on Saturday admonishing Doug Gottlieb, a CBS college basketball analyst, after Gottlieb speculated during a national broadcast that Williams could be on the verge of retiring amid health problems and the ongoing NCAA infractions case.
Gottlieb suggested during a CBS pregame show that Hubert Davis, one of Williams’ assistant coaches, could be in line to become Williams’ successor. Williams called Gottlieb’s commentary “sinful.”
“You have no freakin’ idea what you’re talking about,” Williams said, referencing Gottlieb, after Saturday’s game.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Williams elaborated on his future and explained why he reacted so strongly to Gottlieb’s commentary. Williams viewed it as one more piece of speculation he’d have to fight against, after years of doing the same with the uncertainty surrounding the NCAA investigation.
“Think about what we’ve had to do the last three or four years here,” Williams said. “We’ve had to put up with more stuff – more negative recruiting, than at any time in my career or at any time in any other coach’s career that I ever talked to.
“So I’m thinking, that’s just something else that now we’ve got to answer to.”
Williams has never set a firm timetable for his retirement. He said on Tuesday that he has “never said anything” about retiring amid the NCAA problems and his continued bouts with vertigo, which forced him to miss most of the second half of a victory at Boston College earlier this month.
Asked if the troubles of recent years could inspire Williams to stay longer than he might have envisioned, he said, “I love this place.”
“If I was going to leave I would have left the first day because I knew I was not involved (in the NCAA violations),” Williams said. “It’s pretty simple for me.”
Williams, like several coaches in other sports at UNC, has been hoping for a resolution to an infractions case that has dragged on for years. The NCAA investigation has focused on 18 years of bogus African Studies independent studies courses that were filled with a high percentage of athletes.
Neither Williams nor any member of the UNC men’s basketball staff was named in the NCAA’s original Notice of Allegations, which the NCAA sent to UNC last May. Days before its response was due, UNC submitted new information to the NCAA, delaying the timeline of the case.
Though he refuted the retirement talk, Williams acknowledged that “I’m going to get old one of these dadgum days.”
“You know, when I’m 94 I don’t want to be sitting up here saying the damn thing – that the NCAA and the university need to get the (NCAA) crap over with,” Williams said to a roomful of reporters. “When would 94 be? In 29 more years? Hell, y’all will be dead by then.”