clearn.png
Wednesday December 2nd, 2020 5:22AM

Famed basketball coach Roy Williams pays tribute to Budig

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

A Hall of Famer with three national championships and a familiar face at the Final Four, it would seem Roy Williams was destined for big things in basketball.

The way the North Carolina coach tells it, a lot of credit goes to a future baseball leader who really went to bat for him.

Williams paid tribute Wednesday to Gene Budig, a day after the former American League president and head of three major universities died at 81.

“He was the guy that gave Roy Williams a chance,” Williams told The Associated Press. “He made it OK for the athletic director to hire this no-name assistant coach from North Carolina as the head basketball coach at the University of Kansas.”

“Every day I understand if he hadn’t been tough enough and comfortable enough, Roy Williams may never have gotten a start to be a head coach in college basketball,” he said.

A chancellor at Kansas and president at West Virginia and Illinois State, Budig became the AL president in 1994.

Williams recalled visiting Budig at his residence at Kansas and telling the coach he was on the verge of being hired as either the AL or National League president.

“I thought he was crazy,” Williams said, laughing.

Williams remembered joining Budig to throw out the first balls before a home game for the Charleston RiverDogs, a Yankees affiliate in the Class A South Atlantic League. Budig became a part-owner of the team when he moved to South Carolina in 2007.

“He was a baseball guy deep down,” Williams said.

Williams and Budig were among a group that included many present and former college and high school coaches in basketball and football who regularly met for breakfast in the Charleston area.

“Chancellor Budig, I still call him chancellor. I never called him Gene a single time in my entire life. It was out of respect. I really respected te man, the person who he was,” the 70-year-old Williams said.

Bespectacled, small in stature and soft spoken, Budig’s appearance belied his nature.

“He was a kind man, but a strong man,” Williams said.

That certainly was to Williams’ benefit when Kansas, which had just won the 1988 national title with star Danny Manning, need to hire a new coach in the wake of Larry Brown leaving for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.

Famed North Carolina coach Dean Smith highly recommended his longtime assistant. Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick wanted to hire Williams and Budig strongly backed that decision.

“He did that against a lot of people who were being very negative about the whole thing,” Williams said.

The night before the official hiring, in fact, some prominent Kansas donors went to see Budig at his home. They wanted a high-profile coach and told Budig it would be a huge mistake to hire Williams.

Budig calmly listened, told them there would be an announcement the next day and then “sort of let them walk out the door,” Williams said.

“He was a friend, he was a mentor,” he said. “He was a good, good man.”

___

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Unprecedented Pacific Northwest fires burn hundreds of homes
Deadly windblown wildfires raging across the Pacific Northwest destroyed hundreds of homes in Oregon, prompting the governor to say it could be the greatest loss of life and property from wildfire in state history
6:50PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Book: Trump said of virus, 'I wanted to always play it down'
A new book reveals that President Donald Trump seemed to understand the severity of the coronavirus threat even as he was telling the nation it was no worse than the flu and insisting the government had it totally under control
6:42PM ( 47 minutes ago )
New fire breaks out in crowded refugee camp on Greek island
Fire has again struck Greece’s notoriously overcrowded refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, a day after a blaze swept through the camp and left thousands in need of emergency shelter
6:37PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'It's how you finish': Serena Williams into Open semifinals
Serena Williams hit 20 aces and came back to beat Tsvetana Pironkova in three sets to get to the U.S. Open semifinals
6:12PM ( 1 hour ago )
Mission Hills familiar place in an familiar spot on schedule
Mission Hills has a familiar look to the LPGA Tour players in the California desert
6:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
Steelers LB Ryan Shazier announces retirement
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has announced his retirement nearly three years after a spinal injury put his career on indefinite hold
5:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
LEADING OFF: Pirates, Puerto Rican MLBers wear Clemente's 21
All Pirates players and coaches will wear No. 21 against the White Sox as part of Roberto Clemente Day
3:01AM ( 16 hours ago )
Gene Budig, academic who ran American League, dies at 81
The former American League President Gene Budig has died
1:21AM ( 18 hours ago )
LEADING OFF: Darvish vs. Bauer; Yanks in free fall
Yu Darvish and Trevor Bauer pitch at Wrigley Field in a matchup of ace right-handers headed in different directions
11:38PM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
Steve Nash eager to get started on new career as Nets coach
Steve Nash was a leader, a guy who loved to get the best out of his teammates on the court and build relationships off it
3:27PM ( 4 hours ago )
LeBron, Rondo spark Lakers to 112-102 victory over Rockets
LeBron James scored 36 points, Rajon Rondo sparked a fourth-quarter rally and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 112-102 to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference playoff series
12:58AM ( 18 hours ago )
Billy Donovan out as Thunder coach after 5 seasons
Billy Donovan won’t return as coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder after five seasons
11:40PM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Georgia Tech mum on name of Yellow Jackets' starting QB
Georgia Tech has selected a starting quarterback but aren't publicly saying who the player is before Saturday’s season opener at Florida State
2:01PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Summer of COVD-19 ends with health officials worried
The Lost Summer of 2020 is drawing to a close with many big Labor Day gatherings canceled across the U.S. and health authorities pleading with people to keep their distance from others so as not to cause another surge in coronavirus cases like the one that followed Memorial Day
3:21PM ( 2 days ago )
Forecasting freshman stars particularly tough this season
Figuring out which true freshmen could make an impact is more challenging than usual this year with the coronavirus pandemic having such an impact on the preseason
2:18AM ( 2 days ago )
College Sports
Padres acquire Moreland from Red Sox for 2 prospects
The San Diego Padres picked up slugger Mitch Moreland in a trade with Boston
2:46PM ( 1 week ago )
LEADING OFF: MLB honors 100th anniversary of Negro Leagues
Major League Baseball will honor the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues with all players, managers, coaches and umpires wearing a commemorative patch on their uniforms
9:19AM ( 3 weeks ago )
Duvall HR in 9th helps Braves end skid and beat Marlins 2-1
Adam Duvall hit a tiebreaking home run off the foul pole with one out in the ninth inning, and the Atlanta Braves broke a four-game losing streak by beating the first-place Miami Marlins 2-1
10:05PM ( 3 weeks ago )
AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
Reaction to the death of Hall of Fame coach John Thompson
The sports world is reacting to the death of former Georgetown coach John Thompson
3:57PM ( 1 week ago )
Coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown dead at 78
The college basketball coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown has died
12:53PM ( 1 week ago )
Lute Olson, Hall of Fame coach, Arizona icon, dies at 85
Lute Olson, the Hall of Fame coach who turned Arizona into a college basketball powerhouse and led the program to its lone national title in 1997, has died
1:22PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
No Giannis, no problem: Bucks top Heat in OT, force Game 5
The Milwaukee Bucks lost the first three games of the Eastern Conference semifinals, then lost the NBA’s MVP while trying to fend off elimination
6:38PM ( 3 days ago )
Bucks' Antetokounmpo out of Game 4 with ankle injury
Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks was knocked out of Game 4 of his team’s Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat with a sprained right ankle
4:49PM ( 3 days ago )
Bucks' Antetokounmpo leaves Game 4 with ankle injury
Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has left Game 4 of his team’s Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat after appearing to aggravate a sprained right ankle
4:34PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Unprecedented Pacific Northwest fires burn hundreds of homes
Deadly windblown wildfires raging across the Pacific Northwest destroyed hundreds of homes in Oregon, prompting the governor to say it could be the greatest loss of life and property from wildfire in state history
6:50PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Book: Trump said of virus, 'I wanted to always play it down'
A new book reveals that President Donald Trump seemed to understand the severity of the coronavirus threat even as he was telling the nation it was no worse than the flu and insisting the government had it totally under control
6:42PM ( 47 minutes ago )
New fire breaks out in crowded refugee camp on Greek island
Fire has again struck Greece’s notoriously overcrowded refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, a day after a blaze swept through the camp and left thousands in need of emergency shelter
6:37PM ( 53 minutes ago )
The Latest: La. official fears delays in mail ballot count
Louisiana’s election commissioner says she is concerned the volume of absentee mail ballots expected for the Nov. 3 election amid the coronavirus pandemic could delay tabulation of results by two to six days — even if mail balloting isn’t expanded as Gov. John Bel Edwards wants
6:34PM ( 56 minutes ago )
Corner lockdown: Ramsey gets 5 years, $105 million from Rams
Jalen Ramsey is becoming the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history after agreeing to a five-year, $105 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Rams
6:33PM ( 56 minutes ago )