THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 2008
Roy’s sticky little situation
So you may haw noticed that
North Carolina coach Roy
Williams donned a garish
sticker during the NCAA title game
that bore an uncanny resemblance
to the Kansas Javhawks' logo.
OK. it was a Kansas Javhawks'
logo, and you definitely noticed.
And you strongly disapproved.
In the days following the game,
the sticker covering Williams'
breast became the subject of almost
as much discussion as the one that
didn’t cover Janet Jacksons during
that Super Bowl halftime show.
Take a chill pill. Tar Heel fans.
Williams erred, for sure, but cut
the man a break.
The issue here stems from a
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THE GARDEN STATE OF MIND
disconnect between outsiders
fans and the media —and
insiders coaches and players.
Sometimes, we outsiders over
dramatize the sentimental side
of sports, but sometimes coaches
and players regard it too lightly.
In this case. Williams made a
foolish decision to wear the KU
emblem and in no way anticipat
ed the potential fallout (let's hope
not, at least).
While Williams had his reasons
we'll get to those later he had
no sensitivity to the situation.
Had he simply shown up and
cheered for Kansas, sans the sticker,
people would have cared much less.
But his transgression, in fans’
eyes, went beyond the sticker: A
broken clock had better timing
than Williams on Monday.
If UNC had lost to Memphis
or UCLA in the semifinals, and
Williams supported KU in the
finals. Tar Heel fans would have
probably been all about their
coach rooting against the team
that knocked off UNC.
But he rooted for the team that
did knock off UNC only two days
earlier. For many fans, simply look
ing at a Jayhawk logo, or watching
them win. made them see-sick.
Viewing it on their beloved
coach's chest must have hit many
as hard as Kansas' victory against
North Carolina did itself.
So yes, Williams goofed. Now
forgive and forget.
As he failed to understand the
fans' perspective, so too did the
fans misread the situation.
Students: Williams spent almost
as much time at Kansas l5 years
—as you've been on this planet.
He won four National Coach of
the Year Awards as a Jayhawk. He
took KU to four Final Fours.
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And then he left. He abdicated
his throne in Lawrence, Kan., in
favor of one here in Chapel Hill.
Before you blame him for “Sticker
gate," remember that fact.
Williams is coaching ymtr team,
and for one night decided to wear
a KU sticker. Would you rather he
was coaching their team, and for
one night wore a UNC sticker?
You'd likely be short a 2005
national championship trophy.
Moreover, Williams' action
misguided as it was showed his
unwavering class. Kansas played a
huge role in making him the man
who you all go wild for at the Smith
Center, and he decided to pay hom
age to the years he spent there.
Don't question whether he
focused enough on the game or
whatever other ridiculous claims
people have made over the past
few days: Williams loves UNC,
bleeds Carolina blue and you bet
your bum wanted that game as
badly as any of you did.
But. in defeat, he treated
his old program with the same
sportsmanship he always exem
plifies. That doesn't mean he puts
Kansas first, or that he wants to
return to Lawrence now.
Besides, no way would Kansas
replace the coach who brought
them a title with the one who
Contact Sam Rosenthal
for Tar Heels
BY DANIEL PRICE
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
CARY For nearly six innings
Wednesday night, it looked like
more of the same for the North
Carolina baseball team.
The Tar Heels, who had only
scored one run in their last 18
innings, w ere held scoreless by N.C.
A&T through 5.1 innings, register
ing just three hits and striking out
five times along the way.
“Our guys just weren't getting
much done," UNC coach Mike Fox
said. “The thing you've got to fight
in that atmo
sphere is not to
start feeling too
Thanks to a
N.C. A&T 0
stellar performance from starting
pitcher Mike Facchinei, the Tar
Heel lineup didn't have much of
that pressure to consider.
Facchinei threw 6.1 shutout
innings allowing just two hits while
fanning a career-high eight batters.
“Michael's really been amazing for
us," Fox said. “He gets like one start a
month.... You're asking a lot of a kid
to stay motivated and stay in there
knowing you're probably going to get
the ball again for a start at some point
in the next two or three weeks."
Someone who hadn't been amaz
ing for North Carolina (26-7) lately
was Dustin Ackley. The sophomore
had seen his batting average dip
from better than .400 to .357.
Ackley broke out of his slump
against the Aggies (12-22). With
UNC leading 1-0 in the seventh
inning, he plated the Tar Heels' first
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with two RBIs
in UNC’s 5-0
two earned runs of the game on a
“Here lately I haven’t been hit
ting that good," Ackley said. “I
kinda needed to do something....
I feel 1 needed to get it going and
just stop striking out."
Ackleys two-bagger was fol
lowed by a Garrett Gore walk and
another two-run double, this one
coming off the bat of Tim Fedroff.
And with that inning, the Tar Heel
offense appeared to be back.
“There's no secret that we need
Dustin Ackley to hit for us to be the
team we want to be." Fox said. “You
have to have a guy in your lineup
that everybody’s a little afraid of"
And the offensive burst couldn’t
have come at a better time. UNC
travels to Clemson this weekend for
a three-game series with the Tigers.
And despite Clemson being in a
down year. Fox is glad to see produc
tion stepping up before the series.
“This game is so mental," he
said. “You don't want to go into a
big series... not feeling really good
about the way you're playing.... We
haven't won a series in Clemson in
1 don't know when."
Contact the Sports Editor
at sports(a unc.edu