With the shocking news of Hall of Famer and Tar Heels’ men’s basketball coach Roy Williams deciding to retire from the game after 18 years at UNC (33 overall), which included three National Championships (05, 09, 17), the million dollar question is who fills the void as the next head coach in Chapel Hill?
Here are My Top 5 Candidates to Replace Roy Williams:
Disclaimer: Some of these selections are outside the UNC family. I honestly believe UNC will stay in-house with this hire. Someone wtih a Carolina connection will be the next head coach, including a direct referral from Roy Williams. There are rumors that some UNC boosters and alumni want to change the tide in Chapel Hill with the hire. Choosing a blockbuster hire for the next head coach would change the dynamic of the program without a doubt, but without further ado here are my picks.
5. Jerry Stackhouse– The former NBA All Star, consensus First Team All-American, and current Head coach at Vanderbilt would be able to relate to the young culture at UNC and adapt in a way that allows the kids to play their natural game – not limiting the prospects on a natural system with better talent. Yes, he has struggled at Vanderbilt, but returning home to Chapel Hill surrounded by a better supporting cast isn’t far-fetched.
4. John Calipari– “Paypal Cal” has arguably the best coaching job in all of college sports at the University of Kentucky. Year- in and year-out his recruiting classes rank among the top with no shortage of McDonald’s All-Americans. Being a disciple of former Tar-Heel Larry Brown while at Kansas and putting stars in the NBA (Anthony Davis, John Wall, Devin Booker…the list continues), he’s not only able to get guys to the next level consistently, he would be a complete box office hit at UNC. Calipari’s up-tempo system allows players to flourish at their game without being restrictive. By the way, he happens to like competing with that guy 8 miles down Tobacco road on and off the court.
3. Brad Stevens (Dark-horse pick)- It’s debatable whether former Butler Head coach and current Boston Celtic’s coach Brad Stevens is happy in his current position with an underperforming Celtics team that has shown more inconsistencies as time progressed. Players seem to not buy in at times and often reveal in-house information to the media. What can’t be debated is Stevens’ ability to coach college basketball, appearing in back to back championship games (both losses UConn/Duke) and giving Butler its first final four in program history.
2. Wes Miller– The current UNCG head coach, 2x Coach of the year, and former National Champion whose ability to coach kids and motivate them is a favorite to replace Roy Williams. His squads can play with anyone. Miller constantly takes the Spartans to the NCAA tournament, included this year’s team featuring SoCon’s player of the year and potential NBA draft selection Isaiah Miller. Some have speculated Miller has stayed at UNCG for the last several years not only because he’s happy in his position, but also because he was waiting for Roy to hang it up. Speaking of relevancy, Miller has 5 straight seasons of 20 wins for the Spartans. My only concern is can Miller recruit with the Bennett’s, Coach K’s and Hamilton’s of the ACC.
1. Hubert Davis (Everyone’s favorite)- Roy Williams’ assistant for the past 9 seasons and former star for the Heels, Davis is almost certainly a lock for the Heels head coaching gig. He knows the system and would bring continuity. This may be the safest move, but is it the best move? The Heels need star power at the helm, and reportedly boosters maybe interested in going outside of the family for the selection. Davis would become the first African American coach in team history.
***Sleeper Pick*** –LeVelle Moton– The current NC Central Head coach has won nearly 60 percent of his games and is a 4x MEAC tournament champion. Moton has USA Basketball experience, NBA ties and multiple NCAA Tournament appearances. Moton has been looked over on several occasions for major D-1 positions (N.C. State, Wake Forest). This may be the time, with 9 players on his roster entering their names into the transfer portal, for Central’s head coach to move on. Hiring LeVelle would certainly change the narrative for African American coaches landing top-tier D-1 head coaching gigs.
Regardless of the pick, Roy Williams taking over after Doherty elevated and put UNC back on the map of relevancy, dominance, and a winning culture. UNC should at least give several of the above a phone call?