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Thursday, July 7, 2011
Birthplace marker honors Roy Williams

By Diamond Leung

North Carolina coach Roy Williams has reached such heights in college basketball that his birthplace is going out of its way to honor him.

The city of Marion, N.C., today erected a marker that lets all who read the sign know that the 60-year-old Williams was born at a nearby hospital there, according to the McDowell News.
The Marion City Council authorized the marker in 2009, after Williams wrote a letter to then-Mayor Everette Clark. The letter confirmed he was born in Marion and granted his permission for the city to place the marker. The cost was $3,937 and it was all paid for with private donations. No city money was used. The marker has a Carolina blue background and also has a separate plaque listing the major donors.

Williams is scheduled to attend the dedication ceremony on Monday that will be held in downtown in front of City Hall. He was born in the former Marion General Hospital, which according to the city is now an apartment building. The location of the marker is the closest to a major road from the exact place where Williams drew his first breath.

Look for Marion, which is about a three-hour drive from Chapel Hill, to turn North Carolina blue for the occasion and Williams to soak it in. He clearly remembers his roots, as he also donated money to help build a new basketball facility at UNC Asheville near where he grew up in humble circumstances.

"After paying the electricity bill and rent and water and food, there was not a lot left over," Williams told Tar Heel Monthly in 2003. "But as far as I was concerned it was a great place to live, and I appreciated what we did have."