In A Surprising Twist, Coach K’s Archnemesis Roy Williams Becomes The Protagonist In March Madness

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  • Coach K’s farewell tour ended with a Final Four loss to North Carolina
  • Now, Roy Williams has stolen the spotlight to become the unlikely protagonist of March
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This year was supposed to be one for the storybooks for Duke and legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Coach K announced his planned retirement ahead of the start of the 2021-22 college basketball season, setting into motion a season-long media frenzy surrounding Krzyzewski’s storied coaching career. Every passing night came with a headline reading, “Coach K’s last trip to [BLANK].”

He was the talk of the season, and everything appeared to be working out according to plan.

Duke won the ACC regular season crown. The Blue Devils landed a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Yes, there was that slight hiccup in Coach K’s final home game (a loss to rival UNC), but all of that was forgotten as the team raced their way to the Final Four.

Not only was that Final Four run playing directly into the storybook narrative, but it seemed that Duke was going to take down that same familiar foe to move on to the championship round.

North Carolina also found their way into the Final Four despite entering the tournament as a No. 8 seed. Now, the Blue Devils could get their revenge on the Heels for ruining Coach K’s regular season sendoff while also continuing their run to a national title.

But that’s where the story ended.

The Tar Heels upset Duke to successfully end the Blue Devils’ season while shutting the books on Coach K’s career. The farewell tour that had been publicized so frequently throughout the year was through, and another former legend was about to take the spotlight.

Roy Williams Becomes March Madness Headline

Last offseason, Roy Williams announced his retirement from coaching at North Carolina. There was no season-long going out tribute. He rode off quietly into the sunset, though you’ll still see him in the stands at Tar Heel games.

Williams and Coach K battled many times throughout their careers, though Krzyzewski had the upper hand in head-to-head matchups. With Williams now out of the picture, this season was supposed to be all about Coach K, but Williams unsuspectingly stole the spotlight.

Williams’s connections to this title game are deep. He was a head coach at both programs before the current coaches succeeded him. UNC coach Hubert Davis was an assistant on his staff before accepting the head coaching role.

The college basketball world is taking note of the irony of this NCAA Tournament.

Despite Coach K’s farewell tour, this season will end as a Roy Williams tribute.