By Matt Norlander
Ol' Roy's frustrated with the Tar Heel fan base again.
This happens from time to time. In fact, a simple Google search of "Roy Williams angry at Heels fans" brings up instances in the past when the man's gone after his fan base. But when you've won two national titles at your alma mater, you've got the slack to be honest with your feelings. Too many coaches are afraid to challenge their fan base; Williams can be a phony in some areas, but in this one he's not, and I love that about him. The man has emotions and he gets his feelings hurt and he's going to tell you about it. There aren't three other head coaches in college basketball like that.
The latest fan base frustration Williams has stems from Saturday night, when his top-ranked Heels fell to UNLV in Vegas. Apparently the team lacked the comfort of having a few rows of Carolina Blue supporters behind the team bench. A few dozen seats for road games are normally reserved for UNC fans, usually by boosters who have the cash to front those kind of ducats.
But the team didn't have its usual rah-rah'ing behind the baseline Saturday night. Evil UNLV fans infiltrated the system! And so Williams is now ticked.
On his radio show Monday, he went after anyone who sold their seats, alienating the unknown in the process.
ESPN.com's Robbi Pickeral writes:
“For some of our fans to … get tickets through the Rams Club, and sell their tickets to UNLV boosters that are sitting right behind our families, I don’t like that,’’ he said. “And if the shoe fits, wear it. I don’t care who it is, and I’ll tell the sucker face-to-face: I do not like that, will not like that, don’t ever forget it. I’m trying to find out who it was.”There's plenty of schadenfreude to go around here, as enemy fans of UNC will get plenty of glee from Williams getting his undies in a knot over not having his little space perfect during a road game. The funny thing -- yes, this story is funny -- is, Williams is going up against a faceless enemy. In tough times, you can't stop people from selling their seats. Just how it is.
According to Williams, there was a UNLV fan sitting next to one of the Tar Heel coaches’ wives who was being so negative toward the team that his usually-non-confrontational high school coach turned around and said something to that fan. ... Williams has long been sensitive to who's sitting behind his bench; a couple years back, he was accused of having a Presbyterian College fan thrown out of the Smith Center after that fan was screaming for a UNC player at the free throw line to miss it; Williams insists he never asked for that fan to be escorted out, only to find out if the man had tickets for that section.
But to the people who sold those tickets: “If you sell our tickets, your tickets that you get to the Rams Club to somebody else, and they come in cheering for UNLV, I’ve got no use for you,’’ Williams said. “And that’s as blunt as I can put it.”
He later added: “People have a right -- but not our people. You’re either with me, or you’re not. There’s no middle ground.”
Carolina's next road game is Saturday at Kentucky. There's going to be plenty of blue behind UNC's bench their, too -- just no telling which shade it will be.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE