UNC coach Roy Williams has surgery

BY foxsports • September 19, 2012

North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams had a tumor removed from a kidney Wednesday morning.

Steve Kirschner, UNC associate athletic director for communications, confirmed Wednesday morning that the Hall of Fame coach underwent a robotic partial nephrectomy at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, NC, to remove a tumor from his right kidney.

Dr. Eric Wallen said Williams, 62, should be able to coach when the Tar Heels begin practice for the 2012-13 season on Oct. 13. Williams may have a second surgery to remove a tumor from his left kidney at a later date and could be sidelined for a few practices.

"The surgery went well and according to plan," Wallen said. "Coach Williams did great. I fully expect him to coach this season and for years to come."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach Williams and his family for a full recovery," UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said.

Former UNC point guard Kendall Marshall tweeted his support for Williams on Wednesday with the message: "Please pray for coach."

Williams has had a medical history since returning to his alma mater in 2003, most notably a problem with vertigo caused by an inner-ear infection that began in 2007. Several times a season, Williams will fall to the floor during games after rising up quickly from a squatted or sitting position.

It most recently happened in the Tar Heels' NCAA Sweet 16 victory over Ohio in St. Louis in March.

"My head was killing me," Williams said after that game. "I got a little dizzy out there a couple of times, but I said, ‘If I'm going to die, lets at least die with a win.' "

Williams usually jokes about the condition, and he even added that evening, "In the locker room, I was afraid I would . . . pass out."

In response to a follow-up question that evening, the coach said, "I've been to the Mayo Clinic and they said I have a benign positional vertigo, and I need to be careful with some of those things. But it's something that started with me when I was 13 years old. And just any time I would jump up quickly and try to do something, I have that little two- or three-second deal."

In 2009, Williams underwent surgery on his left shoulder to repair a torn labrum and spent most of the 2009-10 season with his arm in a splint. In 2005, Williams had severe back problems that forced him to coach a few games using a higher chair in front of the bench because he couldn't squat down and sit in in a normal chair.

Williams, who is entering his 10th season as coach at UNC, is 675-169 in 25 seasons as a head coach, the first 15 at Kansas. He has led seven teams to the Final Four, won two national championships and was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2007.