This time around, Williams hires Frederick
College athletics can be a funny place if you’re around them long enough.
Take the latest situation at North Carolina for example, where the defending national champion Tar Heels have been looking for a replacement on the coaching staff of Roy Williams ever since C.B. McGrath left to become the head coach at UNC-Wilmington following the end of the season.
Turns out, Williams and company did not have to look far. The successor to McGrath, who was a fan-favorite walk-on at Kansas during his playing days, was sitting on the Tar Heels’ bench all along.
According to multiple reports out of North Carolina, Brad Frederick soon will replace McGrath as the newest UNC assistant coach.
And with that, Williams will be hiring the son of the man who gave Williams his first big break as a college head coach nearly 30 years ago.
Frederick, a 1995 graduate of Lawrence High, who played his college basketball at Carolina, is the son of the late Bob Frederick, who served as the KU athletic director from 1987-2001.
While he was known in all worlds for his wonderful smile, caring personality and tremendous kindness, by far Frederick’s biggest move in the athletic world was hiring Williams in 1988 after the departure of Larry Brown following the Jayhawks’ run to the national championship.
A little-known, No. 2 assistant coach to Dean Smith at the time, Williams often marveled about Frederick’s bold move and has famously said that the number of ADs who would have hired Roy Williams to coach Kansas basketball in 1988 was one — Bob Frederick.
Today, or at least when it becomes official, which could be as late as July 1 for business reasons, Williams will be returning the gesture in a not-so-small way.
It’s not as if Frederick isn’t ready for and worthy of the post. After serving for 14 seasons as an assistant coach under Kevin Stallings at Vanderbilt (he left as the longest tenured assistant coach in the SEC at the time), Frederick returned to his alma mater to take over the director of basketball operations role in 2013.
His relationship with Williams made him the perfect fit at that time and makes this transition as easy and obvious as one could be.
Although this promotion — Williams recently said Frederick already has been out on the road recruiting and also added last month that interested parties did not need to contact him about the coaching vacancy because he was going to fill it by readjusting his current staff — is significant both for Frederick and the program, it will have the greatest impact on Frederick’s immediate future in that it will allow him to go on the road, recruit, coach and execute all other duties given to each NCAA Div. I program’s three full-time assistant coaches.
Other than that, though, Frederick’s recent impact in other, more administrative-oriented ways already has been all over the program and played a huge role in North Carolina’s recent success.