Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

October 12, 2012

UNC's Roy Williams ready to move on after cancer scare

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina coach Roy Williams can't wait to start practice this weekend - and for years to come - after his recent cancer scare.

"You always have people say when you hear that word that it knocks you for a loop,'' Williams said Thursday. "And it does. You're off the charts in every different direction. But I told my team that I was going to coach this team. And I felt that way.''

Speaking at the team's preseason media day, the Hall of Famer described a "whirlwind 24 days'' between the time doctors discovered tumors on both his kidneys and when they determined the growths were benign.

The 62-year-old said that while he plans to "smell the roses a heck of a lot more,'' his recent health issues haven't changed his plan to coach another six to 10 years at UNC.

"It does change you,'' Williams said. "Anybody that says it doesn't, they're a lot stronger or more wacko than I am. I really want to coach this team. And you know what's going to happen next year? I'm really going to want to coach that team again, too.''

When Williams had surgery to remove the tumor on his right kidney on Sept. 19, doctors had told him it was likely cancerous. But tests soon determined it was an oncocytoma, a benign growth often indistinguishable from kidney cancer on X-rays that doesn't spread like a cancerous tumor would.

Doctors later performed a biopsy on the left-kidney tumor and determined last week that it was also benign. They didn't surgically remove it. Williams said doctors will monitor that growth every six months for the immediate future.

UNC opens preseason practice Saturday with the challenge of replacing NBA first-round draft picks Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and Tyler Zeller from last year's team that reached an NCAA regional final for the second straight year.

"When he told us the other kidney (tumor) was benign, it was just like a big relief,'' sophomore guard P.J. Hairston said. "We wanted him to get better. We want him to be on the court to practice. Now it's just a great feeling to have him around now. He can move around more. He's doing a lot more now.''

Reserve sophomore Jackson Simmons said the team tried to keep Williams' spirits up as he recovered. That included sending a video the day of his surgery with all the players mimicking Williams' fists-clinched, squatting pose he often strikes while motivating his players during games from the sideline.

"We were told it was going to be a positive outcome, but you just worry about that,'' Simmons said. "Those couple of weeks were really tough, but at the same time, there was a different focus around here that we sort of had the sense that we needed to work a little bit harder because Coach was working hard to get through that.''

Williams has had minor health issues in recent years, including occasional bouts with vertigo and back problems. He had shoulder surgery three years ago to repair a torn labrum, which left him to coach several weeks with his left arm in a sling.

The coach said he's been working about five hours a day leading up to the start of preseason practice and would work a reduce schedule until about six weeks after surgery. He said he feels good and is not in any pain, but added he might've worn out his wife, Wanda, by spending all the extra time recovering at home.

"She's been after me to retire for 10 years,'' Williams said. "And after she's had all that time with me, she thinks she may want me to coach a little bit longer to get away from me.''

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0114web.jpg SOCCER: JV Lady Zebras edge Verdigris, 2-1

    Claremore sophomore forward Brylee Brasher may have felt a little out of position Monday night during the junior varsity game against Verdigris.
    Normally, starting in the goal for the Lady Zebras varsity team, Brasher came out of her comfort zone to start at forward for the Claremore JV.
    The position switch proved to be a great decision for head coach Robin Sutherland, as Brasher showed a tenacity on offense that led to Claremore’s 2-1 win over Verdigris.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Claremore’s Stone leads NSU tennis to MIAA title

    Amanda Stone was a player the last time Northeastern State won a conference title in tennis. This time, she’s the coach.
    Thanks to a 9-0 rout of Lindenwood on Saturday, No. 31 Northeastern State claimed no worse than a share of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association championship.

    April 16, 2014

  • Vian's Rowdy Simon seeks playing time in Tulsa backfield

    The Tulsa football team practiced for two hours on Saturday and finished the workout with a 102-play scrimmage.

    Whereas last Saturday's scrimmage was dominated by the Tulsa defense, today's scrimmage session was a more balanced. The Tulsa offense scored on 10 of 21 possessions, including six touchdowns and four field goals, and the Tulsa defense had two takeaways.

    April 16, 2014

  • FOOTBALL: Tulsa-Tulane season opener moved to Aug. 28

    The American Athletic Conference announced today that the Tulsa-Tulane football game, scheduled for the first weekend of the 2014 season, will be played on Aug. 28 at The University of Tulsa's H.A. Chapman Stadium.

    April 16, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Arkansas cruises past SFA, 7-2

    The Arkansas baseball team (23-15) jumped out to an early lead Tuesday evening and never looked back, picking up a 7-2 win over Stephen F. Austin (15-21) at Baum Stadium.

    April 16, 2014

  • Hornbeak leaving OU men's basketball program

    In a surprising decision, sophomore guard Je’lon Hornbeak informed Oklahoma’s coaching staff on Tuesday he will transfer at the end of the spring semester.

    April 16, 2014

  • Rave reviews following OU's spring game

    Oklahoma didn’t play a game as much as it put on a show Saturday at Owen Field. At least, that was the intent.

    April 16, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Sooners outlast Cowboys in 18-inning marathon

    The longest game at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium lasted 18 innings between the Bedlam rivals. The Oklahoma Sooners converted three runs in the top of the 18th to come away with a 12-9 victory.

    April 16, 2014

  • Locust Grove cleans house, ousts four coaches

    Locust Grove High School has relieved head wrestling coach Johnny Cook and head boys basketball coach Ronnie Maple of their coaching duties, school sources said Tuesday.

    April 16, 2014

AP Video