FINAL FOUR FEATURE | April 2
So many times you hear critics say that unless a coach wins a national championship, he can't be placed among the Rolls Royce coaches in America.
I couldn't disagree more with that statement.
I think you have to look at the long-term accomplishments and achievements over the full season. When you look at the careers of Roy Williams and Jim Boeheim, they have enjoyed plenty of success.
They have achieved so much; some coaches have monuments built for them with the kind of records these two have compiled. I was so happy to hear Syracuse honor Boeheim by naming the court at the Carrier Dome after him; he bleeds Syracuse Orange.
Boeheim started his career as a player at Syracuse, teaming in the backcourt with the legendary Dave Bing. Boeheim then became an assistant coach before taking the head position 27 years ago.
Meanwhile, Williams has averaged better than 29 Ws a season for the last 15 years. That is an amazing accomplishment.
These guys have great ability and their own way of communicating their concepts to their players.
The bottom line is they are big-time winners. Boeheim has also done great things for many people. He has battled prostate cancer, showing once again that with early detection you can beat that dreaded disease. Jimmy has been a fighter on behalf of so many others. He has played an important role for Coaches vs. Cancer, raising millions of dollars.
When I think of Boeheim, I think about someone who is more than just an outstanding coach. My friends, Boeheim is an outstanding person. I'm thrilled to see the success he is having.
Williams is a brilliant leader, a tactician who learned so much from his mentor, legendary North Carolina coach Dean Smith, the Michelangelo of coaching. Williams served as an assistant at North Carolina for 10 years before getting the opportunity at Kansas.
By the way, what about a salute to then-Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick for giving Williams a chance, passing up a number of proven, veteran head coaches. There was a long list of coaches who wanted the Kansas job, yet he saw something in Williams after talking to Smith.
As Paul Harvey would say, the rest is history.
Williams and Boeheim will be in the spotlight this weekend at the Final Four in New Orleans. They deserve the glory -- and the opportunity to compete for the national championship.