Garyland

I was never one of the people that thought it would be a good idea for the Maryland Terrapins to fire head basketball coach Gary Williams.  I was alive in 1990 when Maryland was served one of the toughest probation sentences any major basketball program has ever received.  A two year post season ban, a one year television ban, and the loss of scholarships.  That’s harsh under any circumstances, but even tougher on the school that had just suffered through the death of ACC legend Len Bias.

June 13th, 1989 Gary Williams was hired to coach the school he once played for.  That was less than a year before the NCAA handed out punishment for the many problems the school faced in the aftermath of the Bias tragedy.  It’s now March 9th 2010 and Williams is currently 6th among active division one coaches in wins.  He ranks 3rd in ACC history in wins.  He has 3 acc titles, 7 sweet sixteen appearances, 2 elite eights, 2 final fours, and the 1 national championship in school history in 2002.  Those numbers don’t even take into account the 70 some wins over teams in the top 25, the 30 some wins over teams ranked in the top 10, and the 19 wins against teams ranked in the top 3.  This is Maryland we’re talking about here not Duke or UNC.

The fans and media members that wanted Williams out as recently as last season just don’t understand the game of basketball or sports in general.  Look at UNC, they won the whole thing last year and aren’t even on the bubble less than a year later.  The team you root for doesn’t win the national title every year, hell Duke hasn’t even been to a final four in quite some time.   Fans need to remember the 11 consecutive trips to the big dance and not the 3 out of 5 year stretch where the Terps fell just short of the field of 64.

The knock on Gary Williams has been that he doesn’t spend the time to land the big time recruits.  To those people I ask, What did Steve Francis do for Maryland that Steve Blake didn’t?  Was Nic Canner Medley so much better than Landon Milbourne?  If you let Williams recruit his types of players, and give him the four years he’ll spend actually coaching and teaching these young men you will be rewarded with the Juan Dixon’s and Grevis Vasquez’s of the world.

Next time the team you root for has a bad season, take a second to think about what kind of shape the team or program was in before the current coach took over.  If you can say things have gotten progressively worse than you may be justified in you’re argument for change.  I am in the opposite situation.  When I was 12 years old I listened to Johnny Holliday broadcast the Terps games on the radio because the team wasn’t allowed to be shown on TV.  When I was 24 years old I watched Gary Williams lead the Maryland Terrapins to the national championship with a victory over Indiana.  There are some frustrating moments, and bad losses, but Maryland has one of the best coaches EVER on the sideline.  Don’t forget all the great moments because of the one or two bad ones.  The sign that you see at every Maryland home game that just says “GARYLAND” should be there until Coach Williams decides on his own terms that his work at Maryland is done.

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~ by tuben4 on March 10, 2010.

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