Parts of I-40 honoring Roy Williams and Dean Smith

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — Sections of Interstate-40 in Orange County will now honor former North Carolina men’s basketball coaches Dean Smith and Roy Williams.

On Wednesday, the North Carolina Department of Transportation officially approved a request from UNC-CH Athletics to honorably name sections of the highway.

Chapel Hill City Council approved a resolution to support the request on November 17.

Roy Williams Highway will run between exits 266-270 while Dean Smith Highway will run between exits 266-270.

The NCDOT will place signs along these stretches to honor the coaches.

“Dean Smith and Roy Williams are two of the greatest coaches in college basketball,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “And while their five national championships combined have helped make UNC one of the nation’s premier basketball institutions, it’s their work off the court and in their communities that really sets them apart. The people of North Carolina’s across the state are grateful for their leadership, and these road names will help us recognize them for their hard work and sacrifice.

Smith and Williams teamed up to coach the Tar Heels for 67 seasons.

The pair led the Tar Heels to five total NCAA championships, 16 Final Fours, 16 ACC Tournament titles, 26 ACC regular season championships, 33 Associated Press Top 10 finishes and 1,364 wins.

The stretch of I-40 that honors Smith includes highways 15-501 and 54, both of which lead directly to the basketball arena named after him, the Dean E. Smith Center.

“I’m flattered and consider myself a very lucky person to receive such an honor,” Williams said. “It was a complete surprise. I never thought it was in the making. This is something our family and friends will share with great pride and will mean even more in years to come as our grandchildren and their families will be able to see these signs with pride and delight.

Williams retired as men’s head coach in the spring.

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