KU's Williams Speaks Out About UNC Situation; Brown, Karl Say They're Not Interested In Job
Posted April 3, 2003
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Kansas coach Roy Williams on Wednesday criticized the talk focusing on him as the leading candidate for the vacant head-coaching job at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Williams, a UNC alumnus and former assistant coach to Dean Smith, turned down the Tar Heels before Matt Doherty got the job in 2000.
Doherty, a former Carolina player and seven-year assistant coach to Williams at Kansas, resigned under pressure on Tuesday after just three seasons.
Williams is reportedly the top candidate for the job once again.
Williams' Jayhawks team is in the Final Four this weekend. He said it's not fair to have his name mentioned as going to Chapel Hill.
Williams has not denied any interest in the position. But he said Wednesday that the Jayhawks players and staff deserve the right to focus on their national semifinal game Saturday against Marquette.
Meanwhille, two other UNC alumni and NBA coaches linked to the Tar Heels' job said they have not been contacted by the university.
Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown and Milwaukee Bucks coach George Karl - both of whom played for Smith - said Wednesday they have not talked with UNC officials since Doherty's resignation.
Brown, 62, a Hall of Fame coach who won an NCAA title at Kansas, said he has no plans to leave the Sixers' bench. He was a candidate three years ago, when Smith's successor, Bill Guthridge, retired, but took himself out of the running after an interview with UNC athletics director Dick Baddour.
"I have a lot of interest in the success of the program," Brown said before the 76ers' 108-101 win against the Chicago Bulls. "I want to see them do well, but I've got a job. I'm happy here with a team that's really making progress."
Brown has said in the past that coaching North Carolina is his "dream job."
Smith, Brown's mentor and former coach at North Carolina, campaigned to bring Brown back to Chapel Hill in 2000.
Brown has two years remaining on a contract that pays him about $6 million per season.
Team chairman Ed Snider also said he isn't concerned about Brown leaving.
"He's too old to coach college," Snider said.
Karl has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave Milwaukee for the North Carolina job. He played for Smith in the early 1970s.
"I haven't been contacted, and I have no idea what the timetable and game plan is down there," Karl said before the Bucks' 106-99 win against the Houston Rockets.
Three years ago, Bucks owner Herb Kohl refused to allow Karl to talk to North Carolina about the vacant job.
When Karl negotiated a two-year, $14 million extension to his contract that runs through the 2003-04 season, he insisted on a clause that allows him to leave the Bucks to coach the Tar Heels.
But Karl said Wednesday he did not think he would pursue the job, calling the idea "more of a fantasy than a reality."
"I've never coached college, so I don't know anything about that," he said. "I just want to help North Carolina get back to the glamorous years that we've had for 30-some years. If I can do anything to help, I'd be glad to do it."
Bucks guard Sam Cassell and center Ervin Johnson said the possibility of Karl leaving for North Carolina had not crossed their minds.
"It's one of the top jobs in the country," Johnson said. "It's a tough job to take, too. Standing in the shadows of Dean Smith, it's tough."
The president of the UNC Rams Club, John Montgomery, said boosters didn't put any pressure on Baddour to replace Doherty. Montgomery said he's confident the basketball program will rebound from any negative publicity surrounding the coaching change once a new coach is hired.