Archive for Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Taking two sides

For Roy Williams’ Lawrence friends, KU-UNC game presents a tough choice

Michael Davis, Scot Buxton, Randy Towner, Bob Frederick, Roy Williams and Steve Robinson used to jog in Lawrence. Frederick, former athletic director at KU, died Friday night of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident.

Michael Davis, Scot Buxton, Randy Towner, Bob Frederick, Roy Williams and Steve Robinson used to jog in Lawrence. Frederick, former athletic director at KU, died Friday night of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident.

April 1, 2008


2008 NCAA Tournament
Audio Clips
Bill Self and Roy Williams in Monday's Final Four teleconference

We want your KU stories

Do you have a room in your home that's, well, essentially a shrine to Jayhawk basketball? Did you change your T-shirt during the KU-Davidson game because the one you had on really wasn't your luckiest shirt?

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2008 NCAA Tournament

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Randy Towner plans to hunker down at the newly remodeled 19th Hole lounge at Alvamar, unable to decide whom to cheer for.

Mike Davis intends to duck into the Alamodome sporting an orange outfit, seeking refuge in a seating section neither dominated by crimson and blue nor awash in Tar Heel blue.

And Scot Buxton? He'll be one of the few people ducking into a screening of "21" at Hollywood Theaters, simply unable to watch the titanic face-off between his favorite team and one of his best friends.

Kansas vs. Roy Williams? The suspense simply would be too much.

"I will probably be the only person in Lawrence, Kansas, that will not watch this game," said Buxton, who plans to set his DVR so that he can watch the contest; he'll get the final score as soon as he leaves the movie. "It probably is a little bit like pulling off a Band-Aid. If you do it one hair at a time, it would be very painful - because I want the best for KU, but I also want the best for my best friend. And you can't have 'em both, so I can't watch this one. :

"Yes, it's exciting, but it also tears your heart out."

For other people with Lawrence and KU ties, the big event - the Jayhawks vs. North Carolina in the Final Four - can't come soon enough. The 7:47 p.m. Saturday tip-off finally will give Jayhawk Nation an opportunity to match wits with Roy Williams, the man who coached its beloved Jayhawks for 15 years before taking over at his alma mater in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Yet while some in Lawrence and elsewhere in the KU universe will never forgive Williams for leaving the nest at Mount Oread, some of his best friends still live and work here.

And they're admittedly walking a tough line this week.

'I've got a problem'

For Davis, who's been on the KU law faculty for 37 years, it means sitting behind the desk in his office and avoiding taunts from his colleagues, staffers and students. They know he possesses a certain affinity for North Carolina, where his wife went to school and lettered in two sports, and their son, Adam, graduated and covered sports for the campus newspaper.

"I've always been a Jayhawk fan," he said Monday, seemingly from under his desk, "and now I've got a problem."

But he's happy to get the chance to see in-person both his favorite team - the Jayhawks - and his friend Williams coach the Tar Heels on Saturday night. Davis, it turns out, has done legal work for the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and as such gets a Final Four ticket each year, plus the opportunity to buy another.

Good thing, too: He won't have to sit with his wife's fellow fanatic fans, his friend's family, or his employer's boisterous backers - some of whom still may be bent out of shape over the family man's decision to go back home to his roots.

"I don't have a lot of patience for people who need to be healed, pardon the pun," Davis said of fans still bitter about Williams' breakup with KU after the 2003 Final Four. "To the extent they needed to be healed, it needed to happen in about two weeks instead of five years.

"I would hope the extra fervor that comes from KU fans might come from playing the No. 1 team in the country, instead of who might be jumping up and down on the sideline."

Brotherly bond

Davis was among a group of Williams' friends who were visible around town, donning running gear in the cold of winter and heat of summer both to stay fit and stay sane.

Also in the group: Towner, now director of golf operations at Alvamar Golf and Country Club in Lawrence.

Towner isn't about to pick sides in this battle of friends, but he does concede that while he may not be rooting for Ty Lawson or Tyler Hansbrough, he certainly will be pulling for the superstitious guy in a suit.

"I will be rooting for my friend, and almost brother," Towner said. "Blood is pretty thick."

Towner and Williams have been friends since they both arrived in Lawrence in the late 1980s, and they still play golf together. They've teed it up at some of the greatest courses in America - Pinehurst No. 2, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Medinah outside Chicago - and don't plan on ever stopping.

But Towner won't be going to San Antonio to watch the game. If he went, he'd be forced to sit in some of the best seats Carolina has to offer.

Towner, who wouldn't qualify for seats through KU's donor points system, declined his friend's offer to get him tickets.

"I would be getting them from the other Williams fund," Towner said with a chuckle.

'I can't lose'

Buxton, another running and golfing buddy, also declined a chance to attend Saturday's game. No sense, he figures, in mixing emotions in a world where the harsh reality was bound to come someday.

"We knew it would happen sooner or later," Buxton said. "I just wish it would have been Monday night instead of Saturday."

So instead he'll set his DVR at home to record the game, and make the drive to the South Wind 12 to catch "21," the movie about a group of college students beating the odds and outsmarting Vegas casinos in blackjack.

Buxton even told Williams on Sunday that he simply couldn't stand to make the trip for the semifinal. Sitting in the Carolina section might not look good for a guy who makes his living in Lawrence, for a company that sells insurance.

"I know exactly what you mean," Williams told him, according to Buxton. "I was trying to figure out what I would do if we didn't win."

Turns out Williams would have entertained sitting with KU fans at the Alamodome, Buxton said, had the Tar Heels not qualified.

So Williams offered a compromise: "Why don't you come down for Monday's game, because you can cheer for whoever's playing?"

Buxton - already looking forward to joining Williams, Towner and other friends for a round of golf this May in Scottsdale, Ariz. - knew he was speaking to a true friend, one who knows how to help in a tough situation.

"So yeah, I'll probably go Monday," Buxton said. "I can't lose."


igby 10 years ago

None of the current players were coached by Roy, were they? So, I'd say fair game. killRoy! lol.

Robert Rauktis 10 years ago

Disingenuous is about right. He was fine as long as you didn't read the fine print. But Self was a step up as Self could recruit on the east side of the Mississippi River, where old Roy was always conflicted by his old girlfriend in Chapel Hill. RussRob wouldn't be found on a Roy-Kansas team. But wait... we're inching close to a lying lable!!With the personnel upgraded, hatred is a non-issue, just the matter of institutional tampering during that tournament season by North Carolina. And the missed downtown parade by that runner up team, so ole Roy could show everyone his solidarity and forthright goodness.

mom_of_three 10 years ago

""I don't have a lot of patience for people who need to be healed, pardon the pun," tell that to my middle kid, who cried while watching the press conference, and to this day, will not wear anything Carolina blue. It's just not that easy for some people. Bob Lutz of the Wichita Eagle said it best when he said KU fans felt disrepected.

jimmyspeachbaskets 10 years ago

Just remember the athletic program while Roy was still here: Completely focused on Men's Basketball because that was the way he wanted it. Now we have a true department with steady improvement across all sports. Would you have traded an Orange Bowl Championship to have Roy still coaching? I think we've ultimately gotten the best end of this deal now that Coach Self has us back where we belong.

missmagoo 10 years ago

oh get over it. roy was a great coach, now he is gone ,and its the bill self era. i wish the best for roy EXCEPT when they are playing KU! grow up!and a great article.. by the way.

staff04 10 years ago

I'm a little torn by it. I respect Roy's reason for leaving, but I sat in the stadium when he promised us he was not going to UNC. I feel personally betrayed because in my mind, he looked me right in the eye and made a promise to me.

Tony Kisner 10 years ago

I wonder who Matt Doherty is cheering for? I think the tire tracks on his back must still be there.

SpeedRacer 10 years ago

No mixed feelings here. Kick Tar Heel butt KU!!

trinity 10 years ago

amen, cheeseburger! very well said. ya know, when watching some of the other tournament games it really struck me how some players as well as coaches conduct themselves. heck, can't even recall who or what teams; but let's leave it at, i truly believe KU has about the classiest bunch of coaches&players in college ball, period. i'm lovin' coach self and am really pleased he is with us.

sweettrue2 10 years ago

Where's the front page pic of SELF?

trinity 10 years ago

i'm going to have to go read up on this tyler hansbrough everyone is speaking of; haven't followed unc ball at all really this year! ROCK CHALK! :)

motomom 10 years ago

why is roy on the cover (and so big) of the journal world?we want bill !

mom_of_three 10 years ago

logicsound said it best.....with that said,Go Jayhawks....

trinity 10 years ago

i'll be...hansbrough is a missourian! hmmph!yes bring on the bill pix! :)

LivedinLawrence4Life 10 years ago

What a ridiculous article about people who are disloyal to the Jayhawks because of Roy. Roy left KU. Period. We are done with him. Write an article about our coach and how loyal he is to KU. Going to a movie or wearing orange during a KU game is just plain silly. Who cares what those people are doing! We want to hear about people who are loyal to our Jayhawks! The honorable thing for the subjects of this article would have been for them to choose not to be interviewed.

Kornphlake 10 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

sweettrue2 10 years ago

Seriously, who's our coach? BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL. Who is NOT and has NOT been for years? ROY-Let it go people! Urinal World, this is nauseating.

jonas 10 years ago

I agree. I find little drama or relevance in that our team happens to be playing our former coach for the first time in a high profile championship ballgame. I mean, it's history, and history is usually irrelevant. He wasn't that great of a coach anyway, not that Self's much better, but it's hard to recruit to a school in Kansas.

JimmyJoeBob 10 years ago

I don't give a #$% about Roy Williams leaving KU. I look at it as a blessing, because we got Bill Self. If you are a KU fan comparing Roy leaving to a girlfriend dumping you for another guy, ask yourself this question. Would you whine and complain in public about getting dumped in front of your current girlfriend or wife. I think not. Let's show our support for our current girlfriend, Bill Self, by telling the nation we have forgotten all about our old coach He was a good guy and we had a lot of fun with him but Bill is the one we want forever.

karmaxs3 10 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Hilary Morton 10 years ago

This is the game we've all been waiting for, and it will be a toughie. Lots of emotions, but I'm glad that we don't have any more of Roy's team with us. That would be very difficult.Go hawks!

number1jayhawker 10 years ago

I do not harbor any ill feelings towards Roy for leaving KU the way he did. I just don't root for him anymore since he is wearing that God awful Carolina Blue.I do think he screwed over one of his ex coaches and friend, Matt Doherty though.

Linda Aikins 10 years ago

Remember he has Jerrod Haase and C. B. McGrath (I believe). This is a silly article.

motomom 10 years ago

i like to call that God awful Carolina Blue....."Cry Baby Blue". heehee

cato_the_elder 10 years ago

The national media have generally gotten it wrong ever since Williams left. The fact is that there were many of us who were thrilled that he was gone, wished only that he'd left earlier, and have found Bill Self to be ten times the man that Williams ever was. The previous posts about Williams' negative influences on our football program, his petulant personality, the shameful way that Matt Doherty was treated and the poor judgment exercised by the well-known sycophants in today's article are all absolutely correct. And - if you really can't decide which team to support when The University of Kansas is playing North Carolina in the Final Four, then, dadgummit, you should (1) never again attend any K.U. athletic event, I mean ever, and (2) move to North Carolina.

Michael Stanclift 10 years ago

The math is simple: Self > WilliamsBoo hoo for Roy's friends.

buddy2me 10 years ago

Ok, so we get the fact that everyone is glad that Roy is gone. But saying that the gentlemen that were friends with him while he was here should just turn their back on their friend because he "left" KU is just stupid. They are friends with him, good friends. I'm sure each and everyone of the guys were hurt when he told them he was leaving. So you all are saying that if a friend of yours decides to leave to go back to their home town, where their family is, to spend quality time with their family, you would not be friends with them anymore? I don't think so, a true friend would never do that. Look at it from Roy's friends point of view, he is a friend first, they even consider themselves as close of brothers, and then he is the coach of North Carolina. I am not a North Carolina fan. But I am a fan of close friendship and to say they shouldn't be his friend or they shouldn't have done the interview is just CRAP. This doesn't make them any less KU fans. They still live here and support the Jayhawks.

karmaxs3 10 years ago

I'm baffled as to why my post was deleted....

simplyamazed 10 years ago

Don't forget what Roy said on national tv, " I don't give a $..t about NC", I think what he truly meant was KU and it was said best when he said goodbye and left after he made a fool of Lawrence at a public meeting saying he wasn't leaving. So to all that, I don't give a $..t about NC either or Roy Williams. We sure did one better by getting Bill Self! and it is still early in his tenure. Go Hawks!! We love you Bill!

JHawker 10 years ago

ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK GO KU!!!! This game is about KU and our outstanding, fabulous basketball players, coached by an outstanding Bill Self. I grew up in Lawrence and was disappointed when Roy left, but I truly belief it was a blessing in disguise. Self is better than we could ever have asked for in every which way- i'm rooting for these players and have faith in their talent and abilities to excel. {there, i said it without any jinxes..] yeah, and please LJW, put a picture of Self on the front page!

petunia 10 years ago

I'm with Cato. In fact, if I were Lew & Co., Buxton, Towner and Davis lose their seats. Thanks but no thanks boys - we've got plenty of people willing to support the Jayhawks. You can't put your school allegiance up against a friend who, in all but one of his 19 years coaching, ended his season with a loss, then you don't deserve to be called a Jayhawk. The whole thing only serves to highlight what kind of self-immersed ego maniac Williams was and apparently still is. Do you think that if you cheer for your university that means your are actively cheering against your friend? Is 'Ol Roy going to cut you off from suckling at the power teat? The kind of influence Williams continues to exert over these sniffers is ridiculous.

Jean1183 10 years ago

I too am wondering why OUR coach isn't on the front page, LJW?I never did care for Roy Williams' demeaner. Bill Self seems less into himSELF.....pun intended.

grimpeur 10 years ago

jimmyspeachbaskets (Anonymous) says:"Just remember the athletic program while Roy was still here: Completely focused on Men's Basketball because that was the way he wanted it. Now we have a true department with steady improvement across all sports."Department? You mean, an athletic department? No, football and basketball are not in any Kansas University athletic department. They are the wholly-owned subsidiaries of Kansas Athletics, Inc., not Kansas University. That helps keep the priorities straight.

SpeedRacer 10 years ago

I know Self has more integrity than Williams and would not leave for OSU. Just to be on the safe side, can he be retained incommunicado under the Anti-Terrorism act for a few weeks?

missmagoo 10 years ago

"I'm with Cato. In fact, if I were Lew & Co., Buxton, Towner and Davis lose their seats. Thanks but no thanks boys - we've got plenty of people willing to support the Jayhawks. You can't put your school allegiance up against a friend who, in all but one of his 19 years coaching, ended his season with a loss, then you don't deserve to be called a Jayhawk." this wins for ignorant comment of the day. shame on you! my best friend happens to be a kstate alumni... does that make ME any less of a jayhawk? its nice to know that you value sports over friendship.. although i'm not sure you know anything about either!i haven't heard the infamous al bohl's name come up yet.. and seriously, who wouldn't want to move closer to their family if a better paying opportunity arose? i really hope bill self comes out right away if he is truly not interested in the OSU job and says so... cuz this might be deja freaking vu all over again. we don't need the distraction!the ljw should have run this article AFTER bill self was plastered all over the front page... their bad.

ForgotAboutTodd 10 years ago

I'm fine with these guys being friends with Roy and am sure they are still KU fans but aren't they being a little, umm, melodramatic about the whole thing?The whole "woe is me, I just can't stand cheering against one or the other" is a little much. Guys, relax. No wonder they're such good friends with ol' Roy.

kansassportsnutgal 10 years ago

I am totally agree with you Todd.... enough is enough! And besides .... WHO really cares?It makes me sick that the Journal World put Roy on the front page to start with!!!! Are they living in the past or what?? Maybe someone should remind them that BILL SELF if our basketball coach .... oh and has been for the last 5 years! What's up with that??? Shame on you LJWORLD for not putting Bill's picture on the front page!!!!! shame! shame! shame!

Jim Williamson 10 years ago

I'll ask again: what is the income requirement to be a friend of Roy Williams?

Hoots 10 years ago

This is like your friends divorce that you've had to hear about for way too long.

cato_the_elder 10 years ago

Missmagoo, since you seem to be about as blind as Mr. Magoo to the real issues, you have chosen your name well. And, if it pleases you, I will bring up Al Bohl's name. While he did create his share of problems while he was here and afterward, no person of common sense fails to understand now who wanted him fired, and why. It so happens, by the way, that Al Bohl also hired Mark Mangino, with a view toward turning our football program around. I assume you would agree that this move has met with at least a modicum of success.

Kontum1972 10 years ago

Roy's not happy and jizz little bit he has some competition....interally ..and externally....tyler does all the work...its a one man ball team...

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