Posted on: January 30, 2009 2:48 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2009 6:10 pm

Dear Gary (on the saga at Maryland)

Here's Friday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: This is simple: Get rid of the associate athletic director, keep Gary Williams and publicly support him. (Beyond that), who is out there that would want to come to Maryland that would make it a better basketball program? In my opinion, there isn't anyone out there waiting in the wings that could come in and improve the situation. So I don't understand you or anyone else saying that Williams IS or 'should be' in trouble.

-- KVS

First, it isn't as simple as moving the associate athletic director, because the person Williams really doesn't get along with is the actual athletic director, Debbie Yow. Their relationship has been strained for years, which is one of the reasons I talked about Williams being on the "hot seat" back in the preseason. And just so we're clear, today's Final thought in the Friday Look Ahead isn't me rehashing an old column for the fun of it. Williams and the Maryland administration have been publicly fighting this week, which is what makes all of this relevant. It sucks for both sides, no question. But don't think for a second that there's a simple solution, because there isn't.

Now to your other point: Who would want to come to Maryland?

Answer: Just about everybody.

It's a GREAT job, one of the best jobs in the country. There's wonderful tradition, a talented natural recruiting base (Washington DC, Baltimore, etc.) and a league affiliation second-to-none. There aren't 10 guys in the country who wouldn't listen if Maryland called. So while I'm not suggesting that's a reason to part ways with Williams, what I am suggesting is that any worry that Maryland couldn't find somebody good to take the job is silly.

Most anybody would take the Maryland job.

But that's another column for another day.

Posted on: October 29, 2008 4:36 pm
Edited on: November 6, 2008 8:52 am

Victory for GP!

I love it when I crush other humans with the written word, just take their opinions and bury them deep. It happens more than some of you are willing to recognize because I have a unique, God-given ability to argue. I'm blessed, I tell you. And so on that note, I wanted to commend my Dear Gary pen pal AW for realizing as much and conceding defeat as it pertains to Gary Williams being on the hot seat.

If you didn't see it, here's AW's email and my rebuttal from this morning.

(Click this link and read his note and my response. Note his confidence and  my vigor.)

Did you read that?


Now here's AW's follow-up email that just arrived:

Dear Gary:You actually make sense. I, for once in my career, stand corrected.  Well said with GOOD facts.  Add me to the list of believers that Coach Williams is in the frying pan as you say. Thanks for enlightning myself and others.  Good Article.

-- AW

OK, fellas!

Cue the music!

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 29, 2008 1:33 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2008 1:33 pm

Dear Gary (on Gary Williams and his hot seat)

Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Are you serious? Oh, I get it. You just used Gary Williams name (in your Coaches on the Hot Seat column) as your headline gimmick, right?

Three points:

1. He plays in the toughest conference.

2. He has had numerous top 20 and top 10 and top five teams.


Williams will be there as long as he wants to be.

It is entirely his decision.

-- AW

To answer your initial question, yes, I'm serious, AW.

And if you want to spend the afternoon talking about stuff that was relevant five or more years ago, that's OK by me as long as we place it into context. Maryland won a national title in 2002, at which time Gary Williams was winning big and Gary Parrish was a 155-pound specimen of love. But that was six long years ago. These days, Williams isn't doing so hot and I'm gray-haired and fat. So lots of things have changed in the past six years, and that's my round-about way of telling you that what was relevant in 2002 doesn't mean much in 2008, which brings me back to Williams' current situation at Maryland.

Here's the truth: Contrary to your email, Maryland does NOT play in the toughest conference; the Big East is the toughest conference. And though Williams has had "numerous top 20 and top 10 and top five teams" he hasn't had those too often recently, which is why he's posted a winning record in the ACC only once in the past five seasons. Furthermore, three of the past four seasons have resulted in NIT bids, and unless the Terrapins overachieve this season (they were picked seventh in the official preseason poll) that streak will move to four NITs in five years.

Is that OK at Maryland?

I'll ask again: Is that OK at Maryland?

If so, then I stand corrected. But if it's not -- and I don't think it is -- then I absolutely believe a season that stops short of the NCAA tournament could have Williams in trouble based upon a combination of three things.

1. A less-than-ideal relationship with his athletic director.

2. A stretch of five years with just one NCAA tournament appearance.

3. A growing inability to secure the elite prospects from Baltimore, Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas.

Now don't get me wrong; it's a dicey situation.

As Tennessee football is finding out, there is no good way to remove a legend -- especially one who is an alum and respected as a brilliant coach. But college basketball at this level is less about coaching than it is about securing talent, and that's the thing people tend to forget when they start yapping about coaches. I mean, why do you think Kansas State's Delonte Hill is the highest-paid assistant in the country? Because of his ability to draw-up an inbounds play? No, silly. It's because of his ability to secure recruits, specifically recruits from the D.C. area that should be fertile ground for Maryland but is instead serving as a talent source for multiple other schools, among them Kansas State.

Bottom line, this sucks.

I want to be clear in stating that Williams' career is the stuff of Hall of Famers, and the man should be in the Hall of Fame someday. But there is no denying that Maryland isn't winning like it used to or recruiting at the level to ensure it can keep up with North Carolina and Duke, which is why it's reasonable to assume Williams must either turn things around quickly or risk going out the way he probably never imagined.

And with that, I'm heading to the gym so I can work on getting back to my fighting weight of 155 pounds.

Oh, for the good old days.

Posted on: May 22, 2008 5:44 pm
Edited on: May 22, 2008 6:43 pm

Lots of people go to Kentucky basketball games

The final figures are in: Kentucky led the nation in attendance this season. Again. It marks the 12th time in 13 years that the Wildcats have led in attendance, a statistic that demonstrates how UK has the most committed fans in the country ... and a really big home arena.

Kentucky averaged 22,554 fans to top the list by more than 2,000 people per game.

Interestingly, three of the top eight schools are from the SEC.

The entire Top 10 is below:

1. Kentucky (22,554)

2. North Carolina (20,497)

3. Syracuse (20,345)

4. Tennessee (20,267)

5. Louisville (19,481)

6. Maryland (17,950)

7. Wisconsin (17,190)

8. Arkansas (17,148)

9. Indiana (16,876)

10. Memphis (16,748)
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com