UNCs Williams mad over Greensboro game and H.B. 2

The game was relocated to Greensboro because of an emergency situation caused by a major water main break in Chapel Hill on Friday

Rob Kinnan—USA Today Sports
Feb 5

GREENSBORO — The Greensboro Coliseum has been something of a home away from home for the North Carolina basketball team over the years.It’s an arena in which the Tar Heels have compiled a 112-30 record while earning eight of their 18 ACC tournament championships and an NCAA regional title. But even with all that history on their side, coach Roy Williams was anything but happy about having to make the 60-minute trip up Interstate 40 to play on Sunday.”Playing here in Greensboro, I was really mad, period, the end,” Williams said after UNC’s 83-76 win against Notre Dame, a game that was originally scheduled for Chapel Hill on Saturday..”I wanted to play in the Smith Center. The bottom line is that we have people in our university administration who made the best decision they can possibly make with the best information they had. I didn’t want to do this. I like playing in the Smith Center. But I trust our people, and they made a great decision.”The game was relocated to Greensboro because of an emergency situation caused by a major water main break in Chapel Hill on Friday. The situation, which prompted local officials to impose a ban on water use in Orange County, also forced UNC to move a wrestling match and men’s lacrosse game to other locations because of the health and safety concerns.The problem was resolved by Saturday evening, however, causing Williams to question why the move was necessary.Notre Dame coach Mike Brey also had issues with the decision, specifically that it creates a quick turnaround for his team’s game against Wake Forest on Tuesday.Although it didn’t affect his team’s preparation for the game, the schedule change will cut down on the time the Irish has to get ready for Tuesday’s game against Wake Forest. Though disappointed by the situation, Brey downplayed it by saying “I signed up for the ACC, I’m a good soldier.”Williams wasn’t as diplomatic.”Right now, everything is cool in Chapel Hill,” he said. “Restaurants are open, people can go to the bathroom, all kinds of stuff. And you can go into any bathroom you want to in Chapel Hill. But I didn’t like it, don’t like it, and never will like it.”While Williams wasn’t a fan of playing the game anywhere other than his team’s home court, he seemed to be in the minority Sunday. More than 17,000 fans showed up at Greensboro Coliseum, creating an atmosphere junior guard Joel Berry said “felt like a home game to me, even though it wasn’t at the Dean Dome.”There was also a palpable feeling of nostalgia in the building, created in part by the realization that it could be the last big-time game — involving ACC teams or otherwise — played there for the foreseeable future because of North Carolina’s controversial H.B. 2.Greensboro has already lost this year’s opening round NCAA tournament games because of the so-called bathroom bill and with bids coming up for future events, the outlook for them being held anywhere in the state is bleak at best.It’s a situation that had Williams more fired up than he was when center Kennedy Meeks was called for his fifth foul, as his earlier bathroom comment suggests, But he did at least view the H.B. 2 fallout as a silver lining to Sunday’s unexpected change of venue.”You know, I’m glad that some people in Greensboro got to see us play,” the Hall of Fame coach said. “I’m glad we were able to take a game here because of that stupid rule that we have in our state that took a lot of great opportunities for people in our state and great athletes that like to do things in our state. I shouldn’t say rule, I guess it’s a law. A law’s more important than a rule, I guess. But I just think that’s ridiculous and what it’s doing to our state and the reputation of our state.”