Originally published September 19, 2012 at 12:22p.m., updated September 19, 2012 at 01:21p.m.

UNC’s Roy Williams has surgery to remove tumor

Professor of urology at UNC says Williams should be able to coach this season


Former Kansas University basketball coach Roy Williams underwent a robotic partial nephrectomy at UNC Hospitals Wednesday morning to remove a tumor from his right kidney.

Dr. Eric Wallen, professor of urology at UNC, and co-surgeon Dr. Mathew Raynor led the surgical team, which took three and a half hours to complete the operation. Doctors discovered the presence of the tumor during a physical earlier this month.

Dr. Wallen said Williams, 62, should be able to coach when the Tar Heels begin practice for the 2012-13 season on Saturday, Oct. 13. Williams may have a second surgery to remove a tumor from his left kidney at a later date and could be sidelined for a few practices.

“The surgery went well and according to plan,” said Dr. Wallen. “Coach Williams did great. I fully expect him to coach this season and for years to come. He could miss some practice time if we perform another procedure sometime in October, but he would be able to resume his coaching duties prior to the start of the regular season.”

Doctors have not determined whether the tumor removed Wednesday was cancerous, and that may impact whether Williams has to have the second surgery, a team spokesman told ESPN. Sources told the Journal-World it was suspected the tumor on the right kidney was cancerous. There is no follow-up chemo or radiation for kidney cancer if the tumor turns out to be cancerous.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with coach Williams and his family for a full recovery," said UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham. “Obviously his health and prognosis are my greatest concerns. He's in great hands with the medical staff at UNC Hospitals. The basketball team is also in outstanding hands with Steve Robinson, CB McGrath, Hubert Davis and Joe Holladay. As coach Williams frequently says, he has the best staff in the country and I know they will do an excellent job as coach Williams recuperates. We will be ready for his return as soon as he is able to do so, but I have stressed to him that he returns only when he has been given the medical approval and he is ready to do that. Hopefully that will be soon and for a long, long time to come.”

Williams, who was head coach at KU for 15 years, is entering his 10th season as the head coach of the Tar Heels and 25th as a college head coach. He is a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, has led Carolina to national championships in 2005 and 2009, another Final Four in 2008, Elite Eights in 2007, 2011 and 2012, five NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeds, seven Associated Press Top 10 final rankings, six ACC regular-season titles, two ACC Tournament crowns, five 30-win seasons and developed 13 first-round NBA Draft picks.

ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News and Fox Sports named him the Coach of the Decade for 2000-2009. Williams led Kansas and Carolina to 33 NCAA Tournament wins in the 2000s, eight more than any other coach.


overseashawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Get well soon Coach Williams! You'll always be remembered fondly as a Jayhawk.

Jim Erickson 9 years, 11 months ago

Definitely hope he gets well soon... The word "fondly" can be debated around these parts. :) (I'm personally a fan but when he left it did sting!)

Tony Bandle 9 years, 11 months ago

I'm a little concerned that there were no more specifics than what was written. Tumors are serious no matter where they may be located, but there is a good chance that even if they have to remove his kidney, he should recover.

Coach Roy, please get better...we will always welcome you cheering on Kansas as you sit in the bleachers. Seriously, take care and get well soon.

dylans 9 years, 11 months ago

Hope all goes well for one heck of a man.

Doug Cramer 9 years, 11 months ago

Not a big fan of Coach Williams after lying to us back in 2000...but I really don't like hearing this.

Get well coach !

Kyle Sybesma 9 years, 11 months ago

Read Coach Williams book Hard Work and it'll give you a little more insight to why he left for UNC.

hawk316 9 years, 11 months ago

Roy Williams was an absolute blessing to the University of Kansas for 15 seasons. Here's hoping for a total and speedy recovery.

Jim Erickson 9 years, 11 months ago

CMon Table_Rock... He made a life decision to relocate. The same decision nearly everyone on this board has made at some point.

gchawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Coach, I hope you heal quickly and completely.

79ictjhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Thoughts and prayers for coach Williams. Get well soon.

midwestmom 9 years, 11 months ago

Best wishes for a full & quick recovery! I remain a Roy Williams fan... I appreciate his devotion to his family and the way he conducted himself while in Lawrence.

Bville Hawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Roy Williams should always be thought of fondly by KU fans. All he did was take a flash-in-the-pan program (like it or not we were mediocre in the late 70s-early 80s, Larry came and landed Danny and had a couple great seasons.) and took it to consistent national prominence.

He is one of the MAIN reasons we enjoy the basketball success we do today. We all owe him a huge thank you and continued health, happiness, and success (except when playing the Jayhawks, of course).

Ron Franklin 9 years, 11 months ago

Nice to see all of the positive sentiments for Coach.

Get well!

Lawrence Morgan 9 years, 11 months ago

I remember Roy fondly. May you have many years ahead of you.

Jim Williamson 9 years, 11 months ago

I won't argue that KU basketball had slipped in Ted Owens' last years, but to call Kansas "a flash-in-the-pan program" is probably the dumbest thing I've ever read. KU had won a championship and been to multiple final fours before Roy ever heard of Mount Oread.

That said, get well soon, Roy.

Bville Hawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Say and think what you want Phogfan86, but KU hadn't been consistently good since Phog retired. The key word is consistently.

jhox 9 years, 11 months ago

The program was at a crossroads when he was hired. Yes, Brown and company won a title and made a couple of final 4s, but there wasn't a lot of elite talent in the program when Larry left. We very easily could have drifted back into the kind of program we had near the end of the Ted Owens era. I lived through that and, trust me, it wasn't that great. Occasional losing records, half empty Field House, etc.

I don't love Roy because he left us, but it would be foolish to think he didn't play a major role in bringing KU back to consistent national prominence. For one thing, if Roy hadn't left the program in great shape we would have never been able to hire Self away from Illinois. We may not like how he left us, but we all owe him our gratitude.

ku_foaf 9 years, 11 months ago

This is a very serious condition. If they were able to remove it he is a lucky man. I friend had similar surgery.

Best wishes and get well Coach Williams.

Wow, 10 seasons gone already...He'll be retiring in the next 5-8 years!

Kit Duncan 9 years, 11 months ago

Kansas was blessed to have Roy as head coach for fifteen years. He deserved our respect and best wishes in all his future endeavors when he left KU, and he deserves our respect and prayers for a speedy recovery and long life now.

Get well and live long, Coach Roy!

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Dadgummit !!

I hate to hear that Ol Roy's feeling down.

Roy, I have LOVED you and HATED you - but you are one of the best dang coaches there ever was and the vast majority of the Jayhawk nation is keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

Have a full and speedy recovery!

stinkybulldog 9 years, 11 months ago

Bill Self > Roy Williams

I'm glad he was our coach for 15 seasons and I'm even more grateful he left, because now we have the best coach in the country.

Displayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Get well soon, Coach! And best of luck in the future! (Except when you are coaching against KU in the NCAA tourney!) Ha! Seriously though, KU basketball is better for having had Roy Williams as coach for 15 seasons.

Danny Hernandez 9 years, 11 months ago

Need Coach Williams on the bench coaching where he belongs

Don Everett 9 years, 11 months ago

Hope everything turns out great Coach Williams. Glad you were a part of Kansas basketball. Quick recovery!

riverdrifter 9 years, 11 months ago

Never met roy personally but did meet his better half, Wanda. She's a classy gal and will see Roy through this. I know you're there through thick & thin for Roy, Wanda!

Thekudude 9 years, 11 months ago

To me, Roy was like a Dad that moved out and filed for divorce. No matter what, he is still Dad. Love him and never want to hear about this kind of stuff. Hope he gets through this and keeps 'goin like it never happened.

DanR 9 years, 11 months ago

Yeah. He's still the coach (and a great one) for a lot of us who became fans during those 15 years. Frankly, I don't care if it's Calipari, Self, Jimmy V., or Norm Stewart, health issues have nothing to do with rivalries...

Get well soon, coach!!!

Austin Bergstrom 9 years, 11 months ago

Get well Coach then bring the heels to the fieldhouse! That would be one of the greatest moments in AFH history!

Pitthawk34 9 years, 11 months ago

Never will happen...but when he retires the following year, I hope our administration brings him back and puts his name in the rafters. If not there is no justice. On a side note how cool would it be to habve statues o all the KU coaches outside of th new student center that will house the rules. Now that would be epic!

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