Like many, on the morning of April 1, when I received a message sent to the chancellor’s cabinet, I instantly wondered whether Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz was joining you in an April Fools’ prank. But your decision was serious, and late that afternoon, you shared just why you were retiring. You said you no longer believed you were “the right man for the job.”
You and I were students together at Carolina, but our paths did not cross until I returned to Carolina in 1982, when you were an assistant to Coach Dean Smith. That fall, you and I provided the program for our local Carolina Club in Waynesville. Weeks later, you, Wanda, Debbie and I were in Honolulu, where Carolina competed in the Rainbow Classic. And in 1990, as the head coach at Kansas, you appeared before the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, on which I served, and afterward sent me a handwritten letter complimenting my service and affirming: “I’m very pleased that you are involved.”
Roy, thank you. We are forever grateful for all that you and Wanda ’72 have contributed to Carolina and the impact you have had on our University community — which goes well beyond your remarkable success as our men’s basketball coach.
When Debbie was director of development for UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, you launched “Fast Break Against Cancer With Roy.” Over the years, your breakfasts raised over $3.1 million for cancer research. Hubert Davis ’92 spoke at one of your breakfasts, and happily, he has affirmed that “Fast Break” is one of many of your traditions that he will continue.
When the Carolina Covenant Scholarships were launched, you and Wanda were early and have remained generous contributors. When COVID-19 abruptly ended the senior years for scores of Carolina student-athletes, again, you and Wanda provided a generous six-figure gift to fund their scholarships for an NCAA-approved fifth year. And in the spring, you and Wanda inspired many by donating $3 million to support the Chancellor’s Science Scholars, the Carolina Covenant Scholars and athletic scholarships.
Much beyond your often anonymous financial support to Carolina’s sports teams, your fellow Carolina coaches enthusiastically volunteer how much they appreciate your and Wanda’s personal attendance when their teams compete.
We at the GAA were honored to be able to honor you with the association’s (and your much-deserved) Distinguished Service Medal in 2010, and I was pleased to be at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville several years ago when your hometown honored you with Roy Williams Day. For many years, your teams and coaches have had home pregame meals as well as many end-of-season team banquets at The Carolina Club in the George Watts Hill Alumni Center. And before each season, you’ve spoken to members of The Carolina Club.
All Carolina fans owe much more than a “thank you” to you and to Wanda as well as your daughter, Kimberly ’02, and your son, Scott ’99. We are grateful for the wins and championships. But your enthusiasm, your passion and your authentic, ardent love for our University have inspired us all and will forever be remembered. You’ve long insisted that Carolina fans “invest” and that we “enjoy the journey.”
Roy, thank you. We have never doubted that you were “the right man for the job.”
Yours at Carolina,
Douglas S. Dibbert ’70