CHAPEL HILL — Roy Williams Court at the Dean E. Smith Center is officially in place.
The university held a dedication ceremony Friday during a men’s basketball reunion bringing together more than 300 former and current Tar Heels players and coaches.
Speaking at the ceremony were former UNC players Marvin Williams, Hubert Davis and Williams’ son, Scott Williams. Also in the program were Chancellor Carol L. Folt, Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham and the head coach.
In his address to the group, Cunningham used an acronym on the coach’s name.
“We’re here to talk about R-O-Y – respect, opportunities and you, the players, that’s the reason we are here tonight,” Cunningham said. “When I think about respect, Coach Williams has incredible respect for this university, for his mentor, Coach Dean Smith, this program and everything about Carolina. He speaks with passion, enthusiasm and a heartfelt commitment that this place means something to him every single day. And he’s earned the respect, not just because he wins games, but because of how he treats others as a mentor, a friend, a father, a grandfather and a contributor to this community.
“Opportunities. Coach Williams earned that opportunity to work for Coach Smith. He took advantage of that opportunity to learn how to coach basketball, but more important, he learned how to treat people. He learned how to run a program; he learned how to develop people to their fullest potential, and he has paid it forward by giving others the opportunity in so many ways. Many of you don’t know that coach has contributed to every single sport in our athletic department through the Rams Club.
“And then the players, you. Coach Williams has always said that each and every one of you are the most important part of the program, part of this history, part of this tradition. The reason now his name will be on the court is because of the players, the managers, the coaches, all who have committed themselves to this place and believed in the leadership of this program.
“I don’t think this honor is more well deserved by anyone in the country.”
Folt spoke glowingly of the head coach fastest to win 800 games in his career, and the only one to win more than 400 at two basketball blueboods.
“Over the years I have watched him as he has worked his magic with crowds, with people and how he has really shown his love and his dedication for his players and for this university,” Folt said. “I don’t know if I have ever met a person who cares more about his players and the university and the people from all across North Carolina and gives in every way that he can.
“There’s a beautiful symmetry tonight, sitting under the Dean Dome, and I think we all feel very embraced by Coach Smith, and we are looking up at these amazing banners and all of the jerseys that are honoring so many of the people sitting in this room and are truly telling the history of Carolina basketball which is so beloved by so many people. The magic of basketball is written playing on that beautiful hardwood floor. That is where the stories are written, and today we are honoring one of the chief authors of those stories whose signature will grace those beautiful hardwood floors.”
At Friday’s dedication ceremony were, from left, Ed McMahan, Lowry Caudill, William Keyes and Chuck Duckett of the trustees, Roy Williams, Chancellor Carol L. Folt, Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham and Haywood Cochrane of the trustees.