Asked about his health during an interview on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday, North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams responded with a full-throated defense of his health and sharp criticism of a recent Washington Post story about him that Patrick referenced. The story, written by Kent Babb, detailed the apparent physical and emotional toll the past year has taken on Williams, whose team will face Syracuse in the Final Four on Saturday night in Houston and whose program is being investigated by the NCAA following accusations of academic fraud.
After Williams told Patrick he couldn’t remember the last time he’d taken a sick day, Patrick referenced the story and asked whether the story “was a fair assessment of how you feel and what you’ve gone through.”
“You know, Dan, I’ll try to treat this lightly because I could deal with it much more strongly,” Williams said. “I haven’t read it. Two of my close friends were so mad that if they were to step in front of that guy in the street, it would be a very bad scene because they felt like the guy took — lied. I started to try to say it nicely.
“One of my guys said, ‘I never said anything like that.’ It’s upset all my friends. I haven’t read it, don’t care to read it, never will read it. He’d better step carefully around any of my friends. My high school coach is one of the finest gentlemen I’ve ever known in my life and one of my assistants that was with me for 21 years — and they are so mad at that guy.”
Williams did not elaborate on what specific issues his friends had with the story, which referenced several health issues Williams has endured and a seemingly more irascible public persona.
Williams seemed to focus mostly on his health in his comments to Patrick.
“No. 1, I had two knee surgeries last summer,” Williams said. “I don’t run like I used to, but I can still outrun that damn guy, I can tell you that right now, if I had to chase his butt down. Secondly, I’ve got a head cold right now. I feel real good. The knee surgeries have slowed me down and I’m going to have to talk to them after the season’s over about possible knee replacement, but I really feel good.”