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Post Mark Fox’s ties to Roy Williams

Tuesday February 16, 2010

On the occasion of North Carolina’s visit to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech tonight, the AJC has a nice piece on the role that UNC coach Roy Williams had in the career of Georgia coach Mark Fox. Though Williams didn’t have a vacant position to offer Fox while Fox pursued his master’s degree, Williams – then the Kansas coach – allowed Fox to observe the operation of the program and provided Fox with a blueprint for running a successful, highly-efficient program.

Their relationship has continued through the years with Williams providing advice and support along the way as Fox climbed the ladder. Williams’ advice to Fox upon arriving at Georgia was to “be patient.” For a motivated coach used to winning, the challenges of taking over a program in rough shape can be frustrating. Patience will definitely be required as Fox tries to elevate the program, but his results so far should provide even more encouragement. Fox might even return the favor and share some motivational words with Williams – both teams are 3-7 in their respective conferences this year.

An astute observer took the opportunity of this article to question Fox on the weekly radio show about the possibility of playing the Tar Heels down the road. Fox indicated that there was a good chance of such a game taking place – neither team is afraid to step out of conference.

Georgia and UNC played a series of exciting games just over ten years ago. Carolina escaped with an overtime win in Athens in 1997 after Georgia blew an 8-point lead with three minutes left in regulation. That game was supposed to match Tubby Smith against Dean Smith, but Tubby bolted for Kentucky and Dean retired before the 1997-1998 season. With Ron Jirsa and Bull Guthridge roaming the sidelines, it was still a thrilling game in front of a packed house at Stegeman.

The teams met again a year later in Chapel Hill in the preseason NIT. It was Georgia’s turn to make a late charge from behind, but this time the home team prevailed at the end.

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