Thursday, July 6, 2000

Roy Williams’ press conference multimedia


It was "Stay Night with Roy Williams."

A neon pink sign announced that hopeful message as thousands of fans poured Thursday night into KU Memorial Stadium.

A few minutes later the man that everyone in KU basketball fandom was waiting for confirmed it.

"I'm stayin'."

As Roy Williams sat down and made that announcement, his voice was suddenly drowned out by the 16,300 voices that reverberated through the stadium, where fans watched him on the jumbo video scoreboard.

For the next 32 minutes, the fans stood quietly, listening as the coach gave his reasons for staying during a press conference inside the football media room.

In a nutshell, Williams told them he didn't want to leave his players nor KU's basketball fans to be head basketball coach at North Carolina. He told them he made his final decision today, shortly after his meeting with KU Chancellor Bob Hemenway and after walking through KU's Campanile.

Most of the fans who filled the stadium already had seemed to guess Williams' decision.
They brought baby carriages, cold drinks, cellular phones and video cameras. Some were carrying signs and some were dressed in crimson and blue.

And they were ready for a party sure that the "Late Night with Roy" celebrations opening basketball season practice would continue next fall.

Among them were Ryan Leary, 6, and his brother, Camden Leary, 4. They were holding a sign, "Thanks Roy. We Love You."

"Stay" was their prediction for Williams.

A few minutes before the announcement, Eric Snider, Lawrence, was standing next to John Clune, Lawrence, who was holding the pink "Stay Night with Roy Williams" sign.

"I heard it on the radio," Snider said, predicting Williams would stay.

A few rows down the bleachers, Joe Reinhoehl, director of development for KU's Lied Center, was sitting with his wife, Denise, and his three children, Chandler, 2; Cory, 5, and Taylor, 7.

"We're here for a celebration," Reinhoehl said.

Three sisters-in-law, Cheryl Nachbar, Shawnee; Missy Rose, Shawnee, and Meghan Fischer, Olathe, had driven to Lawrence together for the announcement. They were each wearing a Jayhawk rub-on tatoo on their faces.

"I opened up my drawer and there were three tatoos left," Fischer said, laughing. "I knew it was a good sign."

Steve Jansen, director of Lawrence's Watkins Community Museum, joined the gathering for Williams' announcement. He put the event in a historical perspective.

"We get to keep one for a change," Jansen said. "To me, that's been the problem with Kansas all along. We recruit them, we train them, then we lose them. It's good to keep one."

Here are some QuickTime video clips from the Roy Williams press conference. These are large files, but should start playing conference part 1press conference part 2press conference part 3press conference part 4press conference part 5press conference part 6These clips are courtesy of Sunflower Cablevision's 6News.

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