Jayhawk Flashback: Roy Williams introductory press conference, July 8, 1988


My goal this week was to try to work former Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick into the Jayhawk Flashback.

After going deep into the archives (and getting lots of help from the Channel 6 staff), we were able to dig up one of Frederick's greatest moments as KU athletic director: the introductory press conference of KU coach Roy Williams from July 8, 1988.

The 6Sports package of the event, plus a couple extra interviews afterwards, is below:

Some thoughts:

Is that really Roy with dark hair? It's hard to remember Roy before numerous Jayhawk players turned his hair gray.

I don't personally know the 6Sports guy who was talking in the video package, but it doesn't seem like he was too happy with Larry Brown, does it? Check out the 25-second mark again where he says, "And unlike his counterpart, Larry Brown ..." The drawn-out "Larry Brown" part seems to convey a bit of disgruntledness, doesn't it?

Sure doesn't look like Frederick hurt his reputation as a great dresser at this press conference.

OK, before everyone takes off and rips Roy for not following his promise and staying 30 years at KU, let me say this. Thirty years is a long time. A long time.

Take a look at this blog written in January about the tenure of college basketball coaches. The Big 12's average tenure was 2.66 years*. The median was two years. Only one coach had been at his school for more than 10 (Rick Barnes).

* — What would this number look like if you took out Barnes and KU coach Bill Self?

Out of the big six conferences (Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, Big East, ACC, Pac 10), only 11 coaches had been with their schools for 10 years or longer.

The only current Division-I coach I could find that has been with their current school 30 years or longer is Syracuse's Jim Boeheim*.

* — Let me know if there's another, but I don't think there is.

The point is this: College coaches don't stay at the same school for extended periods of time. It just doesn't happen.

Roy was at KU 15 years. That's a long time. It took some loyalty, too, as he turned down NBA offers and other college coaching offers to stay at KU for that long.

And, looking back, can anyone really say that Roy made the wrong decision to go to North Carolina?

It's hard to argue with three Final Fours and two national championships in six years.

It's Where's Waldo time. Can you spot (much younger versions of) Gene Budig, Chuck Woodling and Max Falkenstien in the video?


Mo Golany 10 years, 8 months ago

"And, looking back, can anyone really say that Roy made the wrong decision to go to North Carolina?

It's hard to argue with three Final Fours and two national championships in six years".

I could argue that Roy could have made the Final Four and won in 2004 and 2005 with HIS players (Langford, Wayne, Miles, Lee, Graves, Giddens, Padgett) That would have been a great team and I thought they were pretty good with Bill Self! They would not have changed anything and wouldn't have had gone through the growing pains of switching coaches and would have been accustommed to what they were taught already in theor first 2 years! That type of success could have been 4 years in a row to the Final Four and possibly 2 National Cahmpionships and more under Roy Williams!

dillustration 10 years, 8 months ago

"My hope is that you dont have to go through another press conference to hire another basketball coach for about 30 years"


Well, he made it for half that.

mgolany - its hard to say what would have happened. Would we have one or two more FF's? Would Hansborough been a Jayhawk? Considering those two things offset each other - Im happy with the way things turned out.

Joe Joseph 10 years, 8 months ago

"My hope is that you dont have to go through another press conference to hire another basketball coach for about 30 years"

This line and Roy's quip about being 'Tarheel bred and Jayhawk dead' is the reason why so many people despised Roy for going to North Carolina. No one can blame him for leaving, but he burned many bridges with the fans by making promises he did not keep.

Let's imagine you're six-years-old and your father promises you he'll take you to Disney World for your seventh birthday. Well, your seventh birthday arrives and no trip to Disney World. And to make matters worse, your father divorced your mother for a stripper and now he lives in France.

Looking back on it, no one can blame your father. Your mom was a nag, he now has free health care, and waiting in line for 2 hours to ride the Dumbo ride is a waste of time.

It takes some time for that child to forgive, but he never forgets.

crmsnblu 10 years, 8 months ago

ill never forgive roy. we gave carolina their history in dean. we gave roy his career, sure he's a good coach but its easy to become great with the name kansas behind you. carolina is a just a lesser place feeding off our greatness.

JayhawkPurist 10 years, 8 months ago

Phrase of the day: Inferiority complex.

Defined: An acute sense of personal inferiority often resulting either in timidity or through overcompensation in exaggerated aggressiveness.

Exhibit A: crmsnblu's refusal to forgive Coach Williams' departure based on the misperception that Williams left KU for UNC because UNC is an objectively better job.

Exhibit B: crmsnblu's comment that Williams became great mainly because he had the name Kansas behind him, or, in other words, that Hall-of-Fame-caliber achievement is inevitable when one is hired as head coach of a blue-blood program.

Response: I wonder if crmsnblu would extend his logic and say that it's been easy for Coach Self to achieve what he's achieved at KU mainly because he's coaching at KU. I wonder how long crmsnblu would be willing to wait for a hypothetically subpar head coaching hire at KU to begin to inevitably succeed before he abandoned his theory. 5 years? 10?

Conclusion: I suggest crmsnblu rescind or amend his sentiments so as to not insult Coach Williams' (and, by extension, all of KU's past and present head coaches') efforts on behalf of KU basketball.

kc_wildfire 10 years, 8 months ago

Jayhawk Purist...

Do you hear that? That is my one man standing ovation! Very well said.

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

And yet, our incestuous relationship with Carolina continues ...

first the new chancellor, now the new softball coach.

mlubyRN 10 years, 8 months ago

What? Jaybate has no say on this? I think hell just froze over. LOL

KGphoto 10 years, 8 months ago

Oh he'll be here mluby. He's typin' away right now.

JJHAWK 10 years, 8 months ago

Remember well the vitrolic comments by many of the Jayhawk faithful when Frederick announced Coach Williams as the NEW head basketball coach of Kansas. The most comman complaint was 'we deserve a name coach'. Coach William's first season success at KU turned that attitude around - even though Larry Brown left us on probation and Roy's first team couldn't play in the NCAA's playground that year.

Also remember the outrage when Coach Williams left. Always thought the unfortunate part of that angst was that it was totally mis-directed. It should have been focused on the people who removed Fredericks as AD and then orchestrated the hiring of Doofus (I refuse to remember his name).

Doofus spent the next couple of years doing two things: directing us into major NCAA violations and making Coach Williams so dissatisfied with his position at KU that he found it no longer tenable to remain. The word was that Roy had announced to Doofus that he would interview for the UCLA job prior to the North Carolina explosion. To this day I believe that if Fredericks had remained as AD, Coach Williams would have remained at KU.

I really enjoyed the way Roy's boys represented KU and I especially enjoyed watching them play. At times the beauty of their play simply transcended the sport. That being said, I would not trade Coach Self for any of those days. We have 'the man'. Five years, five league Championships, five trips to the NCAA, two victories over Kentucky, and last: Roy 15 - 0, Bill 5 - 1.

mlubyRN 10 years, 8 months ago

Bill is gonna be seeing his second championship come real soon.
I think next year.

Tan Hong Woon 10 years, 8 months ago

If Matt Doherty did not mess up his job at UNC, Coach Williams would probably be still with KU. If coach Williams' love for KU is genuine, then he would definitely feel more for UNC when UNC was at her record low point of basketball history.

MrC 10 years, 8 months ago

Get over it already. Roy didn't leave KU for UNC because it a better school, or a better job, he left because a program for which he cared deeply, and which he was a part of for most of his life, was in a shambles and they asked him to come right their ship. The man went to help people that he cared about, and he went home. You can't begrudge him that.

As for making promises that he didn't keep, I have two points to keep in mind. First, it's virtually impossible for any coach any where to avoid breaking promises eventually. Can you imagine a coach going into a recruit's home and saying "heck, I might be back next year, I might be gone...." The most they can promise is that, at the current time, they plan to be back. And sooner or later, all odds say that those plans will change.

That leads to my second point: I think Roy's "promises" (I don't ever recall him actually saying "I promise", but that's another issue).. anyway, I believe his "promises" can be chalked up to the naivete of a rookie coach, who said what he felt at the time. And I believe he meant and believed it at the time. Realistically, before he'd coached a game at KU, he was an unknown who many KU fans felt was underserving. Do you really think he saw himself being courted by UNC? Maybe eventually, but not on that day.

The only sour grape for me is the manner in which the transaction was executed. I think that UNC's open courtship of a coach who was in the middle of the Final Four shows an unconscienable lack of class and sportsmanship. With the media circus surrounding Roy, and all the distractions that went with it, look how close KU came to winning it all. I'm not saying we would have won, but if UNC had waited another week to can Doherty, that's a week I sure would like to do over. Unabashed arrogance. Total lack of class.

Dillon Davis 10 years, 8 months ago

So i wonder if we have archive footage of the 66 game vs. Texas Western???? That would be freakin sweet to see. I doubt we have that though. or of the 52' championship vs. St. John's or of the 57 Triple OT loss to UNC. But we definitely need to have the 89' 150 - 95 win over Kentucky. That whole video is on youtube so we should definitely still have that game. But so good so far, keep it up Newell.

Janet Cinelli 10 years, 8 months ago

To stupidmichael: Williams actual quote was something to the effect that he was Tar Heel born, when when he is dead he will be Tar Heel dead, but in between, he was both Jayhawk raised and Tar Heel raised. He NEVER said he was Jayhawk dead.

To MrC: Williams said something to the effect that he's "staying." And, that he would be a Jayhawk until he "retires or is fired." I personally saw it on the big screen at Memorial!

ChicagoJHawk 10 years, 8 months ago


That's a good call! I've seen clips of the '57 game on ESPN Classic, and youtube videos of the '52 championship. If youtube & ESPN have those videos then I would hope that KU has them...

Regarding Roy Williams, I don't hate the guy. I understand why he left. I agree that he wasn't very classy about the way he left, and that it was bad that the our recruits had to find out on national tv that he's leaving...On the other hand, he was in a high pressure situation with a tight deadline. He's human and makes mistakes like the rest of us. The main thing that pissed me off about him is that he never recruited from the east coast. Hell, he didn't even recruit in a large part of the midwest. I think he just figured a lot of these Chicago ballers are going to go to Big 10 schools. Who knows?? Recruiting should be a pretty significant part of your job if you're a head coach in college & he definitely didn't give 100% in that area.

jayhawkinnc 10 years, 8 months ago

Roy is a douche. I'm glad he left KU. I wanted him to leave the first time in 2000. We have a better coach in Bill Self and a better person as well. Oh, and a national title too! With or without the national championship, I'm very happy Bill Self is our coach. I'd take him over Roy anyday.

crmsnblu 10 years, 8 months ago

watch what you say of roy apparently some on here take it is a personal attack and can't stand for free speech. i commented on my thoughts of roy and was personally bashed by jayhawk purist. so sad we can't all have our own opinion of that stage in our history. oh well people pushing views with hate is starting to become numb to me in this country.

Rick Arnoldy 10 years, 8 months ago

crmsnblu, everyone’s entitled to their opinion but when you said “ its easy to become great with the name kansas behind you” I’m glad someone addressed it.

If it’s so easy then why didn’t he win a national championship in the 15 years he was here? If all you need is the name Kansas then why have the Jayhawks only won three NCAA championships?

Rick Arnoldy 10 years, 8 months ago

crmsnblu, everyone’s entitled to their opinion but when you said “ its easy to become great with the name kansas behind you” I’m glad someone addressed it.

If it’s so easy then why didn’t he win a national championship in the 15 years he was here? If all you need is the name Kansas then why have the Jayhawks only won three NCAA championships? If it's so easy, why aren't you the coach?

jayhawkinnc 10 years, 8 months ago

Roy never had to "pay his dues" as a college head coach. Before getting his big break at KU, he never coached a varsity college game as a head coach. Most coaches have to start their head coaching careers by coaching at the likes of Appalachian State, Moorehead State, Radford, Winthop or Middle Tennessee State. Roy got to start straight up at Kansas. And....he inherited a national championship team. Granted, the team lost Danny and Pipe from the year before, but he inherited great players like Kevin Pritchard (drafted and played in the NBA), Mark Randall (drafted and played NBA), Rick Calloway (transfer from Indiana----drafted and played in NBA), along with 2 other starters from the '88 title team in Jeff Gueldner and Milt Newton. Then when he went to UNC, he inherited a team that any of us could have coached to a national title. I don't count the '05 title as his national was with Doherty's players. I consider the '09 title as his first national championship.

ObiWan 10 years, 8 months ago

I still love Roy. He always shows the utmost respect for the college game, and emphasizes the importance of education. He paid for a few of his players' fifth year of school once their scholarship expired so that they could get their degree. I wasn't thrilled when he left, but how else does a coach go about it? Do you put in your two weeks notice? Go ask an Illinois, Tulsa or Oral Roberts fan what they think of Coach Self. The fact is, there's no way to change coaching jobs without burning a bridge. I'm very grateful for Roy's 15 years, and I'm happy that Coach Self has been even better than Roy was!

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