Profiles in Time: Roy Williams

Close Ties to the Tar Heels

The University of North Carolina Tar Heels have a basketball legacy spanning more than seven decades. The program has produced some of the NBA’s top players, like Michael Jordan and James Worthy. They’ve also won six national championships, making them third most all time. Roy Williams, the Tar Heels current head coach, has been a part of that legacy for more than 30 years. Williams started out as a player, then an assistant coach, leading legends like Jordan and Worthy to their professional careers. Since 2003, he’s served as head coach and helped his team land three of their six national titles. He is also now the third most winningest coach in NCAA history.


Williams was born and raised in North Carolina. Here, he lettered in high school basketball and credits his coach, Buddy Baldwin, to his pursuit of the sport. He went on to play at the college level at UNC for a single season. After that, he stepped down from the team. Instead, he asked Coach Dean Smith if he could attend practices and take notes on his coaching. Once Williams graduated, he pursued his coaching career at the high school level. Five years later, he returned to his alma mater under his former coach. Two years into his career at UNC, he was instrumental in recruiting Michael Jordan. Then, just two years later, he helped lead the team to a national championship victory for the first time in Smith’s career.

Head Coaching Success

After a ten-year stint as assistant coach at UNC, Williams landed his first head-coaching gig at the University of Kansas. During his fifteen-year career at KU, he led the Jayhawks to fourteen consecutive NCAA tournaments and two national championship appearances. However, he really caught his stride when he returned to his home state of North Carolina and the Tar Heels, this time as head coach.


When Williams first rejoined the team, UNC was in a bit of a slump. They were coming off several years over turnover with coaches and some of the worst seasons in the school’s history. Williams was responsible for turning the team around in just the first year, helping them return to the national rankings. By his second year, they had won their first national championship in twelve years. After notching two more NCAA Tournament championships, Williams and the Tar Heels have their sights set on another victory this year.

Williams’ Watch of Choice

Aside from his coaching career, Williams published his autobiography in 2009. In Work Hard: A Life On and Off the Court, he spells out the four pillars of his philosophy. This includes elements of character and community involvement. In addition, he emphasizes being a fierce competitor and choosing to work hard every day. Williams practices what he preaches. He upholds his philosophy on and off the court from his coaching to the watch he chooses for his wrist. You can spot Williams wearing the TAG Heuer Link. His choice of a TAG Heuer feels perfectly aligned with his “work hard” philosophy. When we think of a watchmaker who’s remained dedicated to the art of watchmaking, TAG Heuer immediately comes to mind. Through shifting trends and changes in leadership, TAG Heuer has remained a top contender in the industry. Plus, they’ve done so with integrity. It only seems fitting that Williams would choose to sport a TAG Heuer on and off the court.

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