Posted by David Oates 4 years, 2 months ago

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I have to admit that until yesterday, I was not a big fan of Roy Williams, the longtime Univeristy of North Carolina men's basketball coach. It wasn't that I disliked him, but I just didn't think much of him as either a leader or a coach. I was under the impression that there was anything remarkable there other than he had more wins than losses in his career.

Well, that all changed yesterday.

If anyone saw the second round game between the Tarheels and Iowa State, you saw a man who was a true leader and set the example for his team to emulate. Down by two points with only 1.6 seconds left in the game, Williams' team frantically moves the basketball down the court as he tries to get the refs' attention to call a time out. Just as the clock expires, one of the officials sees it and stops the game. The subsequent check and recheck of the video by the refs took what seemed like forever as they tried to figure out if there was even a tenth of a second left on the clock to give back to UNC to allow them to set up one last desperation play.

But the fact was that even if there was, the official timekeeper didn't start the clock back up for at least one second after North Carolina inbounded the ball for the final play in the first place. So the refs deemed the game over and Iowa State to advance to the prized Sweet 16 round.

I, like I bet a lot of viewers, expected Roy Williams to flip out and start screaming and hollering while pointing fingers at how his team just got screwed out of what could have been a game winning final play. It would have been silly to do so; even if he did get one or two tenths of a second back on the clock, it still wouldn't have been enough time to inbound the ball and set up a shot. But a lot of coaches would have used the situation to deflect blame. Not Williams. He simply nodded his head, embraced Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg to congratulate him on the win, head off to the locker room and let the opposing team enjoy the moment. No hoopla, no hystrionics. Instead, Williams acted like a leader and taught his players and fans the importance of being graceful under fire.

It's a lesson all of us eed to be reminded of from time to time, and I'm thankful that Williams did for me. Maybe others don't feel this way, but as of today, I'm a big fan of Roy Williams! 

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