Who will replace Roy Williams at North Carolina?

Posted 1 day ago  |  By Shiloh Carder

Roy Williams has retired after 33 years as a head coach with the last 18 being at North Carolina. He won three national championships and five Final Fours during his time in Chapel Hill, so the shoes that need to be filled are humongous. Who could possibly come in and replace one of the best coaches of all time?

There is a long line of people who would love to have one of the greatest jobs in college basketball. The tradition, the brand, the conference, the recruiting area, the resources, and the Michael Jordan all make Carolina one of the most desirable places to coach. At issue is which direction does the university go for a new coach? For a program that is about family, there is a feeling that the school may look to either promote from within or hire a coach with ties to the program. There’s also the thinking that this job doesn’t open up very often (only four coaches over the last 60 years) so you go after the biggest fish you can find.

This all makes for one of the most fascinating coaching searches in quite some time. Here are a sweet sixteen list of candidates for the North Carolina men’s basketball job:  

1 of 16

Wes Miller, UNC Greensboro head coach

Wes Miller, UNC Greensboro head coach
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Miller played for Roy Williams and was a member of the Tar Heels’ 2005 national championship team. Williams has taken Miller under his wing since then and has often said Miller got more out of his potential than any other player he coached. Since Miller took the UNCG job a decade ago, he talks to Williams constantly with a father-son type relationship. Miller took a downtrodden Spartans program and has been to two NCAA tournaments, including this year’s dance. He has a no-nonsense style and prides on his teams playing defense. If the school decides to stay in the Carolina family, Miller may be best positioned to get the job. Miller’s brother just finished up his senior season at North Carolina. 

2 of 16

Hubert Davis, North Carolina assistant coach

Hubert Davis, North Carolina assistant coach
Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Roy Williams’s successor may be right next to him. Hubert Davis left ESPN to become an assistant coach nine years ago and many feel he was being groomed for this moment. Davis played four seasons for Dean Smith and would play 12 years in the NBA … under coaches like Pat Riley, Larry Brown, Doug Collins, and Don Nelson. His NBA ties have made him a lead recruiter for the Tar Heels over the years which would be valuable if he’s to stay at Carolina. The knock on him is that he has no prior head coaching experience, but he has been the coach of the junior varsity team. 

3 of 16

Mark Few, Gonzaga head coach

Mark Few, Gonzaga head coach
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Gonzaga head coach is a bit busy with his team playing in the Final Four, attempting to be the first team since 1976 to finish a season as undefeated champions, but this makes some sense. Roy Williams and Mark Few are close friends (they love to share a story of their exploits one tournament weekend in Memphis) and Few has a lot of traits similar to Roy. They are humble, family-oriented and Few loves to run a high attack offense that Williams coveted at Carolina. If Gonzaga finishes off with a championship, he could be more inclined to leave the school he’s been at for 30 years as a job finished — and one of the amazing jobs any coach has done. Few hasn’t come close to leaving Spokane yet, but jobs like North Carolina don’t come along often. 

4 of 16

Jerry Stackhouse, Vanderbilt head coach

Jerry Stackhouse, Vanderbilt head coach
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Stackhouse played at Carolina from 1993-1995 and his jersey hangs in the rafters of the Dean Smith Center. He had a long NBA career, coached the Raptors’ D-League team to a championship, and has been the head coach at Vanderbilt for two years. While his Vanderbilt teams have failed to get going, he is well thought of at all three levels of basketball that he could successfully recruit NBA-type talent to North Carolina. He’s been a mentor to young players in the state of North Carolina as well as well respected by his NBA peers. His struggles at Vanderbilt may hurt his candidacy a bit. 

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