A day after undergoing a 3 1/s-hour surgery to have a tumor removed from his right kidney, North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams was released from the hospital Thursday and told by doctors he will resume a regular schedule in short order.
This is contingent, though, on if the tumor is benign or malignant. If it is cancerous, the 62-year coach who is already in the Hall of Fame would have to undergo another surgery next month to remove another tumor from his left kidney.
But his doctor said in a statement Wednesday that Williams is expected to be back on the court when the Tar Heels opens basketball practice next month, and that he fully expects Williams “to coach this season and for years to come.”
If Williams needs a second surgery, he could miss some practice time, but likely not any games.
Williams found out about the tumors after a physical earlier this month. But assistant coach Steve Robinson said that Williams “felt a little uncomfortable over the last couple of weeks and felt like something wasn’t quite right.”
Williams still worked until the day before the surgery, and the only reason he canceled a scheduled recruiting trip Tuesday was due to inclement weather. He didn’t tell his players about his impending operation until a 10 p.m. meeting Tuesday night.
With Williams recuperating, longtime assistants Robinson and C.B. McGrath, new assistant coach Hubert Davis, director of basketball operations Joe Holladay and director of player relations Eric Hoots are dividing up the responsibilities.
“You know, Coach has always built every program he’s ever (had) on consistency and he’s run a program,” McGrath said Wednesday. “All of our veterans know what they’re supposed to do. All of us working for Coach all these years know what we’re supposed to do. So things are going to be fine as usual with the program.”
The kidney surgery came less than a month before UNC kicks off basketball practice with its annual “Late Night with Roy Williams” on Oct. 12. The Tar Heels will hold an exhibition game with Shaw on Oct. 26, and they open the season against Gardner-Webb on Nov. 9.