North Carolina

Find out how Roy Williams stood up for UNC football coach Larry Fedora

Roy Williams is entertained by one of the player skits as the UNC Tar Heel basketball team has its annual "Late Night with Roy" event to open the college basketball season at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill on Oct. 13, 2017.
Roy Williams is entertained by one of the player skits as the UNC Tar Heel basketball team has its annual "Late Night with Roy" event to open the college basketball season at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill on Oct. 13, 2017. cseward@newsobserver.com

Even before his star player got hurt, Roy Williams figured Larry Fedora could use a friendly ear.

So the North Carolina basketball coach recently went to Fedora’s radio show to support the Tar Heels’ football coach.

“I said there’s a lot of people who are going to be here when you’re winning,” Williams said. “I thought I’d come, I knew I’d get a seat tonight.”

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UNC coach Larry Fedora during this season has endured some of the most challenging moments of his head coaching career. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

UNC’s football team has a 1-7 record and has lost five straight games. Fedora’s sixth team has been decimated by injuries.

UNC will start the basketball season without guard Joel Berry, who broke a bone in his right hand. Williams recounted going to a football game earlier in the season and looking at the depth chart.

“I think somebody told me that of our 44 guys on that two-deep chart, we’ve lost 16 of them,” Williams said. “That’s a huge blow.”

Williams also pointed out that Fedora hadn’t planned on quarterback Mitch Trubisky (he was the second overall pick) or running back Elijah Hood (a seventh-round pick) leaving for the NFL draft.

Add all the injuries to the personnel turnover and the season has gotten away from Fedora.

“It’s just a snowstorm,” Williams said. “It’s a snowball that has gotten bigger and bigger.”

The difficult season doesn’t change Williams’ opinion of Fedora, who led the Heels to 11 wins in 2015 and a Coastal Division title.

“He’s a big-time coach, a big-time person,” Williams said. “There’s nobody pulling harder for him than I am.”

Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

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