"I'm very surprised, I love Roy. UNC has been so good for so long," said Luke Metzler, an incoming UNC student. "I have been a huge fan ever since I was born."
Another incoming student, Will Robinson, said: "He really will be missed. I don't know what we're going to do without him, He always really pushed the program on."
RELATED: 'An amazing coach to cover:' Mark Armstrong reflects on Roy Williams' legacy at UNC
"He's the third-winningest coach, really would have loved to seen him take that further and see where that would have gone," UNC fan Matt Pate said.
RELATED: 'He's on my Mt. Rushmore of coaches:' NCCU's Moton reacts to Williams retirement
Sport apparel shops along Franklin Street saw sales rise in the wake of Thursday's announcement.
Pate, who works at the Shrunken Head Boutique, said online orders for the Lessons from Roy children's book are shooting up and a poster featuring former UNC coach Dean Smith alongside Williams is also a popular pick.
"Actually we've seen online sales increase, and we've seen more foot traffic come through the door, so it's been busier than a normal Thursday would be," Pate said.
Students said they feel it's the end of an era. Williams has been at the helm of the basketball team since they were born.
"I just feel like the environment's going to be different here, at least the basketball program," UNC student Zani Konstandt said. "For a while, it's going to take a long time to build back that culture that he has here,"