As a 5'3" freshman at T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, N.C., Williams was a reserve on the JV Basketball team. He had finished the season strong but planned on continuing with baseball (his first love) in the spring and basketball in the fall. This all changed thanks to the encouragement he received during the spring of his freshman year from Buddy Baldwin. In his book, Hard Work with Tim Crothers, Coach Williams describes how he decided to be a basketball coach:
"I was walking down the hallway and Coach Baldwin stopped me. "You really finished the season strong," he said. "If you work hard over the summer, you've got a chance to do some big things." That was one of the best things anyone had ever said to me. It made me feel so good, and at that moment I made the decision that I was going to outwork everybody.
I switched almost all my attention from baseball to basketball. I still played baseball, but I stopped working as hard on it. That spring I'd take 10 swings in batting practice and then I wouldn't take 10 swings again until practice three days later. In the meantime, I'd shoot 1,000 jump shots. Over that summer, I played in Babe Ruth baseball games, but as soon as the game was over, I'd go straight to the basketball court at Biltmore Elementary, change into some sneakers, and play pickup basketball with my baseball uniform still on. I was so excited about the basketball season starting. I remember one afternoon I had stayed around to do some extra drills after everybody else left the pickup game. I was absolutely worn out. I was just sitting on the sidewalk before I got up to walk home when I thought, "How good must Coach Baldwin feel to make me feel this good? And I'm not the only person he's done this for. I want to be like Buddy Baldwin. I want to be a coach."
After a successful high school career, Roy Williams passed up scholarship offers to play basketball so he could attend The University of North Carolina to try out for the freshman team and work his way through school. He attended North Carolina so he could watch Dean Smith's practices and learn how to coach.
Coach Williams described his inspiring coach this way: "Buddy Baldwin, the coach who made me want to be a coach."
Kind words of encouragement and a good example can change the life of a child.
Who are you inspiring?