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Lakers' Jackson, UNC's Williams headline HOF class

ATLANTA -- Phil Jackson rode his string of three separate
NBA championship three-peats straight to the Basketball Hall of
Fame in his first year of consideration on Monday.



Jackson has won nine NBA titles as a coach with Chicago and the
Los Angeles Lakers, matching Red Auerbach's record and making him
an easy selection to the Hall of Fame.


Another coach who has achieved success with two teams, Roy
Williams, joined Jackson in heading a class of seven named Monday
to enter the Hall of Fame in September.


"I've been blessed to have coached in various leagues and
cities over 25 years, but the opportunity to coach two talented NBA
franchises, the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, through
championships says it all," Jackson said.


"I'm accepting this honor with full recognition of those
players, coaching staffs and personnel that brought excellence to
those teams."


Jackson coached the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles -- 1991-93
and 1996-98 -- before leading the Los Angeles Lakers to three
straight championships in 2000-02.


Williams is the third coach in history to lead two schools to
the NCAA championship game. He won the championship with North
Carolina in 2005 and also reached the final with Kansas.


"I'm the first to admit that I've been very lucky at Kansas and North Carolina but I'm also the one that can say I know what we went through,'' Williams told ESPN.com's Andy Katz.


Williams said he wishes he could split up the Hall of Fame plaque in 300 pieces to disperse to his former players and coaches. He also is indebted to his family, his wife Wanda and grown children Kim and Scott.

With each team Jackson built winners around superstars -- Michael
Jordan and Scottie Pippen with Chicago and Shaquille O'Neal and
Kobe Bryant with the Lakers.


Jackson was a college player at North Dakota under future NBA
coach Bill Fitch and played 13 years in the NBA, primarily with the
New York Knicks.


"The year I sat out with an injury and became a confidant of
Red Holtzman, my mentor, was probably the best thing that happened
to me," Jackson said in a telephone interview Monday.


Jackson added that he took notes as he watched how Holtzman
"handled men with great egos with great aplomb."


Jackson said the Lakers' schedule, including games Sunday and
Tuesday, and the team's chase for a playoff berth, prevented him
from making the trip to Atlanta for Monday's announcement.



Also selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame were the 1966 NCAA
champion Texas Western team, four-time WNBA championship coach Van
Chancellor, former NBA referee Mendy Rudolph and international
coaches Pedro Ferrandiz of Spain and Mirko Novosel of Yugoslavia.


Jackson and Texas Western were elected in their first year of
consideration. Novosel, Rudolph and Williams were first-time
finalists. Chancellor and Ferrandiz had been named finalists in
previous years.


Among the notable finalists who did not receive the required 18
votes from 24 members of the Hall of Fame honors committee were
ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale and longtime college coach Eddie
Sutton.


"I'm really disappointed, not so much for me, I've had a great
life heading to the final chapter, but for my wife and two great
daughters and grandkids and my co-workers," Vitale said Monday, about
an hour after the Hall of Fame's seven-member class for 2007 was
announced and it did not include him. "If this is the worst thing
that ever happens to me, I've had a great, great life."


Williams is a North Carolina native who was an assistant for
Dean Smith before taking the top job at Kansas in 1988. After 15
years with the Jayhawks, he moved back to his alma mater.


Asked what team he would represent if forced to claim only one
in the Hall of Fame, Williams said "It would be a TarHawk. ...
There would be two different shades of blue."


Williams achieved success despite a rocky start at Kansas.


Months after taking the job, Williams learned the school had
been placed on NCAA probation.


"I wasn't positive that we would be able to get it done," he
said.


Instead, Williams' teams have made 18 straight NCAA Tournament
appearances, winning at least one game each year. He is the fastest
coach to reach 500 wins and has coached in five Final Fours and
three national title games -- 1991, 2003 and 2005.



Texas Western, now known as UTEP, was the first team in NCAA
history to win a title with five black players, beating an
all-white Kentucky team in the 1966 final. The achievement,
regarded as a turning point in the integration of college
athletics, was the subject of the movie "Glory Road."


Rudolph worked 2,112 games in his career, a record when he
retired. He was selected to referee eight NBA All-Star games and at
least one game in the NBA finals for 22 straight seasons. He died
in 1979 at the age of 53.


Chancellor, who also attended Monday's announcement, was the
women's coach at Mississippi from 1978-97 before leading the
Houston Comets to the first four WNBA championships from 1997
through the 2000 season. He also coached the 2004 U.S. gold medal
team and has a 38-0 record in international competition.


Ferrandiz has led Real Madrid to a record 12 Spanish League
titles, 11 Spanish Cup championships and four European Cup titles.
He was a co-founder and first president of the World Association of
Basketball Coaches.


Novosel coached the Yugoslavian team that won the gold medal in
the 1980 Olympics. His teams won the silver medal in 1976 and
bronze in 1984. He is one of only four Olympic coaches to win at
least three medals.


The class will be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial
Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in September.


Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.