Turns out Roy Williams is still supporting folks back in Kansas.
The coach of North Carolina returned to the state just last spring as the golf partner of his good friend, Randy Towner. The two had gotten to know each other when Towner was the head pro at Alvamar Country Club in Lawrence and Williams was the head coach of the Jayhawks.
Towner remained a staunch of supporter of Roy when he left for the Tar Heels, and Roy in turn supported Towner by joining him in a nine-hole scramble to help open Firekeeper Golf Course near Topeka, where Towner now serves as the head professional.
“It was a great trip for me,” recalled Williams, whose top-seeded Tar Heels face No. 2 seed Kansas for a spot in the Final Four on Sunday night in St. Louis.
“They expected two or three thousand people, but it was 41 degrees and the wind blowing 40 miles an hour and misting rain,” Williams said. “That’s the first time I ever played golf with four layers of clothes on, because when it’s that cold, I don’t play golf.”
Williams thought the trip back to Kansas would be like a big reunion. Then he woke up and looked out the window.
“There were some friends that lived on the same street in Lawrence that came, but they didn’t get the 3,000 people, and it was because of the weather,” he said. “It was just so bad. I had one of my buddies say, ‘I would come watch you coach basketball any time, but I’ve played golf with you, (and) I’m not dumb enough to come watch you play golf in this bad weather.’”
Kansas coach Bill Self also took part in the grand opening, along with four-time PGA Tour winner Notah Begay III, who teamed with Jeff Brauer to design the course.
“It was a great trip back,” Williams said. “We won the golf match, which was really important to me. I lot all the money back in the casino, which was really important to the state’s economy, so I tried to please as many people as I could.”
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