Me and Coach Roy

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April 3, 2021 by jacklovelace

When I was editor of the newspaper in Overland Park, Kansas, I was a Mizzou diehard in a nest of KU fanatics.

So imagine the day when head basketball coach Roy Williams came to the Rotary Club.

A lot of excitement, minus me, although I have to admit, I always found him an interesting

plain talking guy and a helluva coach. But he was the enemy.

After he made a good speech, it was time for question and answer.

The Big 8 had just decided to fold into the Big 12, taking in four Texas schools.

Someone asked Roy what he thought about the change.

He paused. He looked out into the crowd. These aren’t exact quotes after all these years but he said something like “I’ll you what I think but if this is just between us, no media.”

Eyeballs clicked on me although Williams was too far away to see. I made the gesture to my table that Roy was safe. The off the record had been requested and I was duty bound to honor it.

Roy was still hesitant. “I’m not kidding, if this ever gets out I’m coming back and I’m going to burn this place down.”

After my table gave me one last glance, Roy cut loose.

Even today I feel funny talking about it. My word should still be good 25 years later, right?

So let’s just say he had a string of less than complimentary things to say about the quality of some of the teams and the lack of joy of traveling into their geography to play the games.

In his real burst of honest, he was lively, colorful and left everyone laughing.

His announcement of retirement brought back that memory and the soft spot I always had for Coach Roy. And coming from a Mizzou guy, that’s saying something.

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