Posted on: September 27, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 2:05 pm
By Jeff Goodman
Gary Williams wants someone put in charge.
"We need a commissioner of basketball," said the ex-Maryland coach, who hung it up this past season.
Williams said that's one of the problems with the manner the NCAA is set up, that there's no one who hails from the college hoops landscape intimately involved with the organization.
His idea isn't novel. In fact, there are plenty of coaches who agree that someone should be solely in charge of running college hoops. My idea a few months ago was to have two people in charge: current NCAA tournament guru Greg Shaheen and former Duke player and current ESPN analyst Jay Bilas.
Both are extremely bright - and they differ on many issues.
That's a positive.
Williams' idea was to bring back former NCAA executive Tom Jernstedt, who was jettisoned into retirement shortly before Mark Emmert took over as NCAA president.
Jernstedt held numerous positions in his near-40 years with the NCAA - including NCAA executive vice president.
"He's not doing anything," Williams said. "He's only 65 and they need to tap into someone like that's knowledgeable."
However, Williams also maintains there needs to be a "basketball guy in there", someone who knows how it works - whether it be a former coach or player.
"We need someone with a basketball background," he said. "Not just someone who graduated from Harvard."
As for Bilas?
"He'd be great," Williams said.
Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: September 13, 2011 2:35 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 2:41 pm
By Gary Parrish
Maryland officials ended a debate Tuesday by announcing that the court at the Comcast Center will be named in honor of Gary Williams as opposed to Lefty Driesell.
"Gary has been a faithful alumnus, a highly successful and iconic figure in men's college basketball across the nation, a fierce competitor, and a tireless fundraiser on behalf of student scholarships," said Maryland president Wallace D. Loh. "He has been the face of Maryland men's basketball for more than 22 years. Gary led the Terps out of historic Cole Field House into the Comcast Center. I can think of no better way to recognize his success and his contributions to the University of Maryland than by naming the floor of the basketball court in Comcast Center in his honor."
Most everyone agreed the court should be named for Williams -- the school's all-time winningest coach with 461 victories and a national title. But some boosters reportedly wanted the honor to go to Lefty Driesell, who won 348 games in 18 seasons before being forced out following the death of Len Bias.
So Maryland had a delicate issue to resolve.
Williams or Driesell?
That was the question being batted around in College Park.
But Maryland officials have now answered it.
The dedication will take place in a formal ceremony on Dec. 9.
"I'm honored and humbled to receive this recognition," said Williams, who retired from coaching in May. "It's important to remember that the success we achieved at Maryland was a team effort and all the coaches, student-athletes and staff who were here are a big part of this. I'm very appreciative of the effort by [athletic director] Kevin Anderson, President Loh, Chancellor Kirwan and everyone else who has been a part of making this happen."
Posted on: August 24, 2011 9:22 am
By Matt Norlander
Gary Williams isn't leaving Maryland just yet.
The Hall of Fame coach retired from the school -- surprisingly -- in early May, but he'll remain on board with the program in an advisory role, according to Terrapins Insider. And this part-time position pays prettay, prettay ... prettay well. How's 400 grand a year for five years sound? After all Williams did to put Maryland basketball back on the map and in the national conversation, he earned it.
Williams, who will have the court named after him this upcoming season, will be an assistant to the athletic director, Ken Anderson. It's an ironic situation, given the fact Williams often clashed with his former AD, Debbie Yow, who is now in that position at North Carolina State. Williams' new gig wasn't always in the cards. Per Terrapins Insider, this arrangement was sparked once Williams was firm in his decision to leave coaching with a 461-452 lifetime record.
Such sweet terms! Williams can bail and still rake in serious coin. It's clear the heart can't ever leave on first attempt, and so Williams' attachment to his alma mater makes sense. He'll be as good as anyone in the sports realm when it comes to fundraising. The school needs him right now; there's been a ot of overhaul in the athletic offices in 2011, considering the football and basketball programs have hired new coaches, the university brought in a new president and a new AD.
My lingering concern: the Maryland uniforms. If Williams has any pull, their won't be an adjustment made to the basketball team's threads. We've already seen the monstrosity that's overtaken Terps football.Photo: AP
Posted on: May 14, 2011 3:10 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2011 3:15 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
For those of us who write about college basketball, one of the excellent side effects of the coaching change at Maryland has been the resurgence in interest in Lefty Driesell, the endlessly quotable former coach of the Terps.
Recently, CBS affiliate 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore had Lefty on to talk about his coaching run-ins with Turgeon, which happened when Turgeon was starting his head coaching career at Jacksonville State and Driesell was winding down at Georgia State. Turgeon had admitted in his introductory press conference that he had long felt that Lefty hated him, because he never got more than a scowl and a brief handshake when they coached against one another. Driesell admitted that he never was much for fraternizing with the "enemy" and then launched in to several amusing anecdotes that yielded a record for soundbites per minute.
On Turgeon's first coaching gig: "Have you ever been to.. um.. uh... I don't know where that city is where Jacksonville State is!* It's out in the country, man. I don't know how he could ever get anybody to go to school there."
Recalling Turgeon's tactical aptitude: "I know one game we were down there playin' them and we were up 20 at the half. He ran his pick-and-roll play in the second half and he killed us. I put that play in the next year for us."
His role in Turgeon's hiring: "To tell you the truth, I was calling (Kevin Anderson) up to recommend John Lucas. Then I found out he'd already made a decision, so I just told him he made a great choice."
Listen to the entire chat with Lefty Driesell at the CBS Baltimore home page.
That's Lefty for you: gruff to his opponents, bracingly honest even with his friends, and always, always entertaining. Taken all together, however, Lefty's comments have been very complimentary. That's a pretty good start for Turgeon in College Park.
*By the way, Jacksonville State is in Jacksonville, Alabama, population 8,404 as of the 2000 census. The Gamecocks play in the Ohio Valley Conference. They should not be (but often are) confused with the Jackson State Tigers of the SWAC.
Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: May 9, 2011 9:21 am
Edited on: May 9, 2011 9:49 am
Posted by Eric Angevine
Wake up, hoops junkies. It's a long time until our season starts up again, but our fellow basketball fanatics can always be counted on to find interesting ways to keep our thoughts on hoops all summer long.
One such project that just started this May is Halcyon Hoops, the latest brainchild of writer Corey Schmidt. Just three posts into this new joint, Corey has already hit on an interesting question, following on the heels of Gary Williams' retirement at Maryland. To wit, "what does it take for a coach to get a court named after him?"
It varies more than you'd think. Length of tenure would be the first thing most of us would guess, and that holds true for the likes of Jim Phelan, who had the court named for him after a half-century at Mount St. Mary's. The median tenure for a coach with a court named after him is right around 20 years, right where I would have pegged it if I had to guess. But if that's the average, there must be several below that line, right?
Right. Of the 22 coaches Schmidt looked at, 12 fell below the mark. Billy Tubbs had seven years at Lamar, in a most unusual fashion: four years in the 1970s as he began his career, and then three more in the new millennium as he wound it down. The absolute shortest was Lefty Driesell's 5 1/3 seasons at Georgia State, which nevertheless earned him court-naming priveleges.
Here's Corey's full chart, which is a beautiful thing:
(Image courtesy of Halcyon Hoops. Don't credit me, I do not have these skills.)
The main question Halcyon Hoops aims to explore is this: will George Mason University ever name a floor after Jim Larranaga? 14 years falls short of the average, but that's obviously not the crux of the issue. If Larranaga were retiring instead of heading to Miami, he'd pretty much be a lock. Schmidt put it this way:
Indeed. It's actually kind of hard to imagine how this might play out in Larranaga's favor. If time heals all wounds, and a sizable chunk of the school's alumni are behind the honor, it could happen, but that might also depend on what happens to the program now that he's gone. If Paul Hewitt stinks it up and the team falters, does that make Masonites more or less likely to want to pay homage to the man who took them to such heights? What if Hewitt wins a bunch of games? Do his accomplishments overshadow the man who will then look like he left to play in a sandbox in the middle of the team's heyday?
The fact is, Larranaga deserves recognition for making George Mason University a household name amongst the hoops-savvy. Let's be honest. Right now, more people could accurately identify Jim Larranaga and tell you why he's famous than could do the same for the school's namesake, semi-obscure founding father George Mason. Larranaga's legacy may not be an eponymous basketball court. Maybe it will be a scholarship fund or a conference room or something less visible that bears his name. It's worth noting that the only thing named after Joe Paterno at Penn State (so far) is a library. But Larranaga should be honored in some way, and it really should be something visible and meaningful, even if the sting has to fade a bit in the interim.
**Update** @GMUHoops makes a cogent point via Twitter: "A lot of people bring this up each year. Don't know if school would actually do it, they don't even retire player jerseys"
Photo: Halcyon Hoops
Posted on: May 7, 2011 6:44 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2011 8:40 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
As fan bases in Tucson, College Park, and several cities in-between wait nervously to hear any news of Sean Miller's rumored meeting with Maryland about the open coaching job there, the Arizona Daily Star has finally mentioned the infamous "L" word.
As in, Tucson's a nice place, and the Wildcats have a pretty luminous basketball history. Could it be that Miller is just using the Maryland opening to wring some money out of his employers in tough economic times?
That sounds selfish, but read what the Daily Star's Bruce Pascoe has to say about it before you judge:
Looking out for his assistants is a noble goal. It's also (hey, we have to be realistic here), a perfect excuse to jet if his demands aren't met. This way, it's not a selfish decision if he leaves, he did it for his homeboys.
Goulston was apparently sought out by the newspaper because he coaches incoming big man Angelo Chol, and knows Miller in that capacity. "I talked to him last night but I think there's all kind of reasons to stay at the end of the day," Goulston told Pascoe. "Sometimes these coaches use these situations for leverage."
If he gets what he wants from Maryland, he slides into one of the better jobs in the ACC, where he will be instantly loved for his fiery intensity, which will bring back (slightly less sweaty) visions of Gary Williams, who retired this past week after 22 years at the school.
Sean Miller is on top of the world right now. That's a mighty big plank, resting on a rock-solid fulcrum.
Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: May 6, 2011 10:45 am
Edited on: May 6, 2011 11:07 am
Posted by Eric Angevine
Typically, when a long time coach retires after more than two decades at the same school, a comforting list of former assistants is trotted out, to give the semblance of continuity in the coaching search. North Carolina, in particular, has made a science of this, drawing clear lines from Dean Smith to any candidate who has ever come near Chapel Hill. Gary Williams retired at Maryland yesterday after 22 years, but he hasn't left behind much of a list of former coaching associates to ease the minds of his AD or fan base.
The list of possible high-profile replacements includes some impressive names. But it begs the question: is Gary Williams' coaching tree really so bare?
Honestly, the answer is yes, but not for lack of trying.
One of Williams' longest-tenured assistants, Billy Hahn, played at Maryland in the 1970s and was an assistant to Williams for 12 years before taking the head job at La Salle University. Before he could really do much to turn the Explorers around, Hahn became embroiled in a scandal - in which he and La Salle's women's hoops coach were accused of failure to report sexual assault allegations - which ended his head coaching gig after just three seasons. Hahn was out of coaching for three years before Bob Huggins took him on as an assistant at WVU, a position he still holds today. Hahn wouldn't be a top choice regardless, but the heat Maryland AD Kevin Anderson would take if he looked at someone with that particular baggage would make it an even less likely scenario.
The other long-time assistant Williams sent out into the world was 13-year Maryland man Jimmy Patsos. Patsos is about as connected to the local scene as a guy can be. A Massachusetts native, Patsos played college ball at Catholic University in D.C. and coached high school ball at Archbishop Carroll in that same city before moving just down the road to help out at Maryland. When he left, it was to take over Loyola University in Baltimore. Patsos has only managed a 70-82 record at the MAAC school, but his reputation for eccentric behavior may be an even bigger problem. It was Patsos who tried to stop visiting Davidson by double-teaming Steph Curry for an entire game in 2008, leading to a headline-grabbing 30-point blowout loss for the Greyhounds (but hey, Curry didn't score!). That same season, Patsos again drew unwanted attention when he elected to coach from the stands to avoid ejection after several run-ins with officials in a November contest. No winning tradition and a goofy public persona aren't likely to earn Patsos a chance.
In desperation, some turn to Mike Lonergan as an exemplar of a successful Maryland assistant. It's a tenuous, one-season connection, but sure. The only problem is that the Vermont coach seems about to be snatched up by another area school, George Washington. Making the leap from the Catamounts to the Terps would have been a stretch anyway, and there's no way Anderson is going to try to outbid GW on Lonergan, who would be more of a fallback position if the big names don't pan out in College Park. Speaking of local backup options, do you think Jim Larranaga's down in Coral Gables kicking himself right about now?
The other names that come up are a couple of not-ready-for-prime-time players in Dave Dickerson (former Tulane head coach, now an assistant at Ohio State) and Chuck Driesell (son of Terp legend Lefty, current Citadel head coach). Either could be a candidate down the road, but neither is ready right now.
Dig deeper into the time before Williams became Testudo's best buddy, and big names pop up. Rick Barnes (not leaving Texas), Fran Fraschilla (hasn't coached since 2002) and Ed Tapscott (an NBA front-office guy who's had some coaching turns) don't seem like realistic choices, but they do, at least, have ties to Williams. The most promising name from Williams' days as a Buckeye is Randy Ayers, who is currently an assistant with the New Orleans Hornets. A former collegiate national Coach of the Year with fresh NBA ties, Ayers could be worth a shot, even though he's not really a Maryland man.
Aside from Barnes, none of the men mentioned above is a first-call kind of guy. As Gary Parrish points out, the UMD brain trust is much more likely to go for the huge splash by trying to lure the likes of Mike Brey or Jamie Dixon from the Big East. Anderson should aim high right now, he knows that there aren't many jobs in the country that compare to what he has to offer. That means he can let his fan base daydream about young tyros like Butler's Brad Stevens and Sean Miller of Arizona without it seeming patently absurd.
This is likely to be the biggest coaching search of the year, and it will be very public and stressful for Maryland AD Kevin Anderson and the school's fan base. For those of us not directly or emotionally involved, it should be very enjoyable high theater. Let's pop some corn, get comfortable on the couch, and enjoy the show.
Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: January 17, 2011 3:34 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2011 4:07 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
One of the season's early barn-burners was a 75-74 nail-biter between Maryland and College of Charleston. C of C star Andrew Goudelock was torching the Terps and an upset was in the making until freshman Pe'Shon Howard nailed a buzzer-beater to close out the win. Maryland fans and players were ecstatic, but a close look at the bench showed a morose-looking Gary Williams. The head coach looked as if his team had lost rather than won.
Williams is a veteran coach, which means he can foretell the future. He knew then that a narrow home win salvaged by a wild shot from a freshman was a bad omen for the rest of Maryland's season. The jury's still out on that implied prediction, but we've yet to see anything to refute it.
Let's look at the positive signs first. As of today, Maryland has the most efficient defense in the nation , as measured by kenpom.com. That ranking is predicated on a dominant interior game that holds opponents to just 40 percent shooting inside the arc, and ranks in the national top ten in defensive block percentage as well. 6-foot-10 sophomore Jordan Williams is providing excellent all-around play for the Terps, grabbing offensive and defensive boards and drawing fouls on those who challenge him inside. Senior guard Adrian Bowie has been a pretty good shooter, and leads the team with 3.8 assists per game.
On the negative side, the Terrapins are a pretty negligent bunch on offense. They turn the ball over far too often, and can't seem to hit the broad side of the backboard when shooting from deep. The number that really stands out is the 62.8 team free throw percentage. That's the kind of number that serves as a fulcrum between 10-6 in conference and an NCAA bid, or the alternative of 7-9 and the NIT.
To be absolutely clear, Maryland -- currently 1-2 in the ACC -- can be 10-6 just by dispatching teams they should beat. That means handling Virginia Tech, Clemson, Wake Forest and Virginia at home, then Virginia, Georgia Tech, Boston College and Miami on the road, plus one tough win over a more talented and opponent like Florida State, N.C. State or North Carolina. Maryland always seems to have one of those surprising road wins in them every season, so it's very doable. Grabbing a roadie from Virginia Tech would accomplish a slightly less noteworthy version of the same thing. Beating Duke in the February 2 rematch would probably buy them the leeway to go 9-7.
On Saturday, Villanova showed that Maryland can be beat if Jordan Williams is taken out of the game, which they did effectively in erasing a 19-point deficit. Every other team the Terps face this season knows the same thing. If Gary Williams can implore one or two of his other players to hit some shots and take the pressure off his big man, this season turns around. It's that space of seven minutes each game where the future of this team lies. Gary Williams knows it.
"We still have a chance to have a good year in our league," the elder Williams said after the loss to Villanova. "We have to do it for 40 minutes rather than 33."Photo: AP