COLLEGE BASKETBALL FINAL FOUR NOTES : KANSAS : Williams-Smith Tie Wears on Coach
For the second time in three years, fate is pitting Kansas Coach Roy Williams against his revered friend and former boss, North Carolina Coach Dean Smith, in college basketball’s showcase event.
Saturday in New Orleans, as they did in 1991 in Indianapolis, Kansas and North Carolina will meet in the first of two NCAA semifinal games.
Williams, who served a 10-year apprenticeship under Smith before coming to Kansas in 1989, disliked all the hoopla then and seems to dislike it now even more.
“I’m going to try to put to rest as much as I can this ‘Roy Williams-against-Dean Smith’ junk,” the Kansas coach said Monday. “I hope all you guys are intelligent enough to think of something else to write about. You wrote about it so much two years ago, surely you can think of something else to write about now.”
In the 1991 game, Kansas beat the Tar Heels by six points and advanced to the title game against Duke. And Smith--in an officiating decision many considered entirely inappropriate for such a coaching legend--was ejected in the final minutes.
On that point, Williams still seethes. “The man didn’t deserve that,” Williams said. “I don’t care what anybody says, the man didn’t deserve that.”
Williams told the crowd of Kansas fans he had recently been approached by a man who wanted him to sign a 1992 tournament hat. The man asked Williams if he remembered Texas El Paso, the team that knocked the Jayhawks out last year during the second round.
“I really wanted to tell him where he could put that hat,” Williams said, drawing a cheer. “I refused to sign it.”