I don't know much time North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams spends with fans. I know that he hears them cheer at home games. I know that he takes their telephone calls on the radio show for which he gets paid.
But does he talk to them? Does he listen? Does he realize how passionately so many of them care?
Williams is the head coach. But the team is not exclusively his. It belongs to all the men and women that pass their love for Tar Heel basketball from generation to generation the way other families pass heirlooms and jewelry.
Williams' comments after North Carolina's 10-point victory against Clemson Tuesday were unfortunate and absurd.
"I'm really proud of those kids," Williams said. "Everybody talked about how poorly they played at Georgia Tech. My radio call (show Monday) night stunk. Everybody was talking about how they were Carolina fans for nine million years and how bad we are. I don't give a damn how long you're a Carolina fan, those are kids in the locker room, and they played their buns off tonight."
Added Williams: "Don't call me next week and say how good we are. Keep your (gosh darn) phone calls to yourself."
Williams is upset because fans have the audacity to call his show and offer advice. They'll go so far as to ask if he's considered a particular strategy. He'll tell them that of course he has. If a lowly fan comes up with an idea, don't you think the great and powerful Roy Williams has?
Williams is a public figure. If you do what you do in public, whether it's coach, write or serve on a school board, you are going to be questioned and you are going to be criticized.
If you're the head coach of one of the elite programs in college sports, you are going to be diced and sliced, assessed and examined. And if you're coming off a season in which you failed to make the NCAA tournament and are coming off a game you lost to Georgia Tech by 20, you're going to be blasted.
There's no excuse for turning prickly every time a fan questions your genius. After last season, and after the first two months of this one, Williams ought to be accustomed to it.