North Carolina turned a second-half challenge from Bucknell into a 12-point win Wednesday night, and the No. 9 Tar Heels won their second game of the season.
More importantly, Roy Williams won his 400th game as North Carolina’s head coach, becoming the first head coach in men’s basketball history to win 400 games at two different schools, the second being Kansas. Williams won 418 games in 15 years at Kansas; he’s now at 400 in his 15th year with the Tar Heels.
Williams’ head coaching career began at Kansas in 1988, when he won 19 games with the Jayhawks, finishing sixth in what was then known as the Big Eight conference. Interestingly, those 19 wins are tied for the fewest in a season in his 29-plus year career. The only other time he won 19 games: his first season with North Carolina.
So far, he’s racked up 27 NCAA tournament appearances in 29 years, missing just once at each school. Last year, of course, Williams’ Tar Heels won the NCAA tournament, beating Gonzaga.Let's put those two stats together: if UNC theoretically finished this season with 20 wins, he would have 418 wins at both schools through 15 years, with just one tournament-missing season of 19 wins at each stop, which is kind of incredible. Let’s hear it for consistency!
(Also interesting: on Tuesday, Bill Self tied Roy Williams' 418 wins at Kansas with his Jayhawks' win over Kentucky. What a week.)
All in all, Williams has seven Final Four appearances, a .790 career winning percentage it’s been an incredible run. Williams is currently ranked seventh in total victories by a men's NCAA Division I college coach, and it would seem reaching Top 3 status is within reach: the next four ahead of him -- Adolph Rupp (876), Jim Calhoun (877), UNC legend Dean Smith (879), and Bob Knight (899) -- are all currently out of coaching, meaning Williams has 82 wins separating him from 900, and third place all-time.
With Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson in tow, this year should prove to be another fitting chapter in the story of one of college basketball’s great coaches.