After North Carolina practiced on Saturday, Roy Williams was in a hurry to end his press conference.
It wasn’t because he wanted to prep for the Elite Eight game against Kentucky on Sunday.
“This press conference will be very quick,” Williams said. “At 5:00, I’m walking the ducks from Peabody’s lobby back up to the top. So my butt is getting out of here.”
“But it’s great to be here,” Williams added. “How’s that for an opening statement?”
The Tar Heels are staying at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis for the South Regional. The historic site features a flock of ducks that live in a rooftop palace. Each day, at 11:00 A.M., they take the elevator down to the lobby to spend the day in the fountain. And at 5:00, they head back up for the evening.
The tradition dates back to the 1930s, when Frank Schutt, the Peabody’s general manager, returned from a weekend hunting trip with friends. The group imbibed in a bit too much whiskey and decided to set their live duck decoys loose in the hotel fountain.
When the ducks were still there the next morning, a tradition was born.
Williams was named an honorary duckmaster, and, with his grandsons, helped lead the duck parade.