Williams gets a bathroom break
By Doug Tucker
LAWRENCE, Kan. ó Roy Williams is out of the outhouse.
The large sketch of the former Kansas coach was removed from the menís room of the Downtown Barbershop on Monday where it had hung as a symbol of fan anger ever since he departed for North Carolina in 2003.
Now iOlí Royî is back where he used to be, prominently displayed among the hundreds of sketches, photographs and memorabilia that make the landmark little shop near the Kansas campus a shrine to Jayhawks athletics.
Instead of facing the urinal in the back of the building, the man who coached Kansas to nine conference championships is facing customers out front. His smiling countenance is nestled between photographs of former Jayhawks greats Clyde Lovellette and Wilt Chamberlain.
iThe hatchet is buried,î shop owner Jon Amyx said. iI think most people would tell you that now.î
When Kansas beat Williamsí North Carolina team 84-66 in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament, Kansas fans had a wild, impromptu celebration in downtown Lawrence. Many said that night that now, at last, they were no longer hurt and upset that Williams had left town for the Tar Heels without even saying goodbye.
Then last Monday night they saw Williams wearing a Jayhawk on his heart and cheering Bill Selfís Kansas team to an overtime victory against Memphis in the NCAA title game.
iI was surprised to see that,î Amyx said. iA lot of people were. It was neat to see him sitting there with that on his chest. People wanted to beat Roy more than they wanted to beat North Carolina, and we did. Now I think next time we play them, weíll just want to beat North Carolina.î
Amyx conducted a little survey of his customers before deciding to end Williamsí five-year exile to what they had come to call ithe Roy Room.î
Almost everyone said it was time to bring Roy out and return him to a place of honor.
iI wonít say you canít find people who are still mad at him,î said Ed Stewart, who wore a iRock Chalk Jayhawkî shirt as he walked down Massachusetts Street in front of the barbershop.
iBut when we beat Roy and North Carolina in the Final Four, and then won the national championship, I think most everyone feels that theyíre ready to move on. It brought closure.î
In addition, it will no longer be called ithe Roy Room.î Now itís just the menís room again. Of course, the menís room still contains unflattering references to the hated archrival Missouri Tigers.
An AP story on Williamsí picture hanging in the menís room ran during Final Four week that brought lots of attention to the Barbershop.
iI must have the most photographed menís room of any barbershop in the country,î Amyx said.
Amyx heard that Williams had read the story and told people he was hurt that Kansas fans would hang his picture iover a commode.î
iI was surprised he would care that much,î Amyx said. iWe didnít do it to hurt anybody. It was just something we kind of did. Now itís time to remember all the good things Roy did for KU. Heís a great coach and a good person. Royís probably about the best guy you could meet.î