The coach of the college basketball team I root for (Go Heels!) announced his retirement last week. I’m sad about it, but that’s not what this post is about.
Roy Williams is a Hall of Fame coach. He has 903 wins, three National Championships, and literally dozens of other accolades he earned at both UNC-Chapel Hill and at Kansas.
Much more important to him are the hundreds of young people he got to coach and know and love over the course of his career. He has made a lot of money, and given a lot of it away. He has been able to give back to the university that he credits with setting him on the path to success.
He could have kept coaching, kept developing young people and serving his university through the game he loves and the only profession he has ever had. Looking from the outside, there was no clear reason to retire right now. There’s no defined retirement age for a coach; he’s not being pushed out. There’s no clear reason for the “when.”
But from his perspective, there was a clear “why.” He is, in his words, “not the right person for the job any more.” Someone else needs to coach the team. This selflessness is generosity. It is a sacrifice on behalf of everything he loves to step aside for the next person.
I wish he weren’t leaving, but I honor his decision. More than that, I’ll remember his example.