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Archive for Wednesday, April 9, 2003

KU coach will talk to Smith

April 9, 2003

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The sequel to the saga surrounding Kansas University men's basketball coach Roy Williams is officially in full swing.

Williams met with reporters following Tuesday's rally at Allen Fieldhouse to address what's on minds nationwide -- the North Carolina coaching vacancy.

Williams said he spoke with Dean Smith following KU's 81-78 loss to Syracuse in the national-championship game Monday, but it had nothing to do with the job at Chapel Hill that opened up after Matt Doherty was forced out April 1.

KU's coach also confirmed it's not the last he'll hear from Smith, Williams' mentor and former longtime coach of the Tar Heels.

"I will talk to coach Smith tonight," Williams said Tuesday. "I haven't spoken to anyone else from North Carolina. I don't have any planned talks with anyone from North Carolina. If -- and I think everyone should emphasize that word -- if anything is done, it'll be done quickly."

In 2000, Williams had a significant amount of time to make the decision whether to stay at Kansas or leave for North Carolina. He eventually chose KU, but frequently calls it the toughest week of his life. He doesn't expect the situation to repeat itself.

"It's not going to be more than a week, I guarantee you," Williams said. "I'm 52 going on 75 because of those seven days three years ago."

Williams said he didn't expect to be offered the North Carolina job when talking to Smith Tuesday night, but he said "we will talk about some things other than free-throw shooting."

Williams has received criticism nationwide for allowing the North Carolina situation to loom over his team's quest for a national title. Williams, though, stands by his stance regarding the outside distractions.

"There was criticism that I didn't give any factual statement about UCLA," Williams said. "Why should I say I'm not interested in UCLA when they never offered me the job? I'm not interested in working for the Associated Press, but my guess is, they're not interested in me working for them."

Midseason rumors flourished regarding Williams heading to UCLA after Steve Lavin's inevitable dismissal, which took place March 17. The Bruins eventually hired Pittsburgh's Ben Howland; Williams' name was, for the most part, not mentioned.

"I didn't want to insult the people at UCLA by saying I'm not interested," Williams said, "because they may not have been interested in Roy Willliams."

The Tar Heels, though, appear to be. A source at UNC has told the Winston-Salem Journal that Williams would formally be offered the job today or Thursday, and a decision would have to be made quickly.

"It's going to be a 24-hour deal," the source said. "Either take it now or leave it. Obviously we'd like to have this done as soon as we can and obviously Kansas is going to put a lot of pressure on him to stay."

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