North Carolina coach Roy Williams tied mentor Dean Smith on the all-time wins list Monday night.
The Tar Heels beat Yale 70-67 to give Williams his 879th career Division I victory as a head coach, tying him with Smith for fourth all-time.
“It’s a number,” Williams said. “It means I stayed around a long time, probably longer than some people wanted me to stay at places.”
Williams, who has led the Tar Heels since 2003-04, worked as an assistant for Smith at North Carolina for 10 seasons from 1978 to ’88.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams was presented with a framed photo of himself and mentor Dean Smith to commemorate him tying Smith on the all-time wins list Monday night. Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
The school honored Williams on the court immediately after the game, with Brandon Robinson and Garrison Brooks joining Smith’s son Scott in presenting Williams a framed picture of Smith and Williams together. Smith died in 2015 at age 83.
Williams became emotional as he discussed the milestone in his postgame news conference.
“Scott Smith came out and said one thing, and I think he’s right,” Williams said. “He said, ‘Dad would have been really happy.’ And I think he would be.”
Williams has a 461-138 record with North Carolina, preceded by a 418-101 mark with Kansas.
Williams can move into sole possession of fourth when the Tar Heels host Georgia Tech on Saturday night.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.