The Gary Williams Way

I'm going to preface my remarks by saying that I'm not a real writer.  I just pretend to be one on the Internet.  I'm a fan.  Whatever success this blog has had in gaining an audience has been due to the passion I have for Terps basketball.  For the most part, my entries over the last 6 years have been easy for me to write because they are simple expressions of how I feel at that moment as a fan.  Today is different.  This is the hardest post I've ever had to make.  I've only met Gary Williams once; yet he feels like a member of my family.  I know his personality.  I know his quirks. I know his strengths.  I know his faults. I understand why he gets emotional after big wins. 

I can't believe he is leaving.

Who could forget his first press conference after accepting the job?  Watch this video and try not get choked up.

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Being the head coach at Maryland was Gary's dream and it wasn't just because he played basketball there.  You see, Gary did not grow up in a loving family.  His childhood was difficult. His early struggles helped to formulate the famous hard-scrabble demeanor that became his signature.  It was as a student/athlete at Maryland where Gary first felt what it was like to be part of a family.  Gary got choked up at that press conference in 1989 because becoming the Head Coach of Maryland Basketball was not just the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.  He was coming home to help at a time when his family needed him the most.

Gary Williams saved Maryland Terrapins basketball.  Period.  This cannot be argued by anyone who has remotely paid attention over the last 25 years. The story is familiar. Len Bias' ignominious death left the program in shambles and Gary rode in on a white horse and resurrected it.  But Gary did more than just rebuild Maryland.  He crafted the program in his own image.  Terps basketball was not just synonymous with name Gary Williams; Terps basketball was Gary Williams.

Williams stood in stark contrast to the stately icons of the ACC: Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski.  Gary relished the role of the scrappy upstart.  The Terps did not land the top recruits, but instead became known for doing more with less.  Sure, it would have been nice to land some of those big names over the years; but the Terps achieved against the giants of the sport anyway. The common thread through it all was Gary's will and determination.  Maryland dominated with no-names like Joe Smith, Juan Dixon and Greivis Vasquez and looking back; I wouldn't have wanted to win any other way. What fun is it to win with a roster of 5-star recruits? (Alright, winning is fun no matter what). The Terps won with Gary's guys.  Players who were always underestimated and overlooked.  Just like Gary Williams.  In fact, being disrespected motivated Gary more than anything else.  It's what made him great.  It's what made me and millions of others love Maryland Basketball.

Today, President Loh announced that he will "recommend" that the floor at the Comcast Center be renamed in Gary's honor.  That should have happened 10 years ago, but in retrospect, I'm glad that it will happen now because it will serve as a the perfect coda to Gary's career.  His imprint on the University is as indelible as the paint will be on the Comcast Center floorboards.

In the end, I'll remember all the joy Gary's teams have brought me over the years. I'll remember how he famously sweat for his Alma Mater, but more importantly, I'll remember how he not so famously shed tears for Maryland. I'll remember Gary for making me proud to be a Terp.  Ultimately, I'm simply thankful that I got to root for a coach that embodied everything that I love about sports.

Whenever a public figure steps off the stage; I'm reminded of the famous speech General MacArthur gave before Congress upon his dismissal in 1951.  It's probably not appropriate here, but it is my site and I'll do what I want:

I am closing my 52 years of military service. When I joined the Army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all of my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that "old soldiers never die; they just fade away."

I'll leave you with the video montage that played before Gary's presser this afternoon.  If you don't get chills watching Gary's reaction to Duane Simpkins sinking the game-winner against Georgetown; then I don't know what to tell you:

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Author: Jeremy | 5/6/2011 7:40:00 AM | Tags: gary williams, farewell |

Gary Williams Is Giddy

Now that Debbie Yow has gone; all of that unspoken animosity has apparently bubbled to the surface.  Apparently, Gary Williams can't contain his excitement that Yow has left.  Jeff Goodman on reports that "Yow's departure has added 5-years to Williams' career".Yeesh.  I knew it was bad; but I didn't know it was THAT bad.  My guess is [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 7/27/2010 11:47:20 AM | Tags: debbie yow, gary williams |

Terps Returning Frontcourt - An Analysis

I'm back from my self-imposed week long hiatus.  Once Evil Drew Nicholas doomed our season, I needed a break from writing.  Some unattributed quotes overheard last week: When the shot went in, I had to take a knee I woke up at 5AM on Tuesday, started thinking about the shot and I couldn't go back to sleep. There is still a chalk outline of [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 3/29/2010 7:25:27 PM | Tags: gary williams, jordan williams, lonny baxter, chris wilcox, joe smith, terps |

Gary Williams Reflects On Greivis' Career

Watch this video.If there was a debate about Greivis' place at Maryland, Gary settles it.  For all his warts, I've never been more convinced that there is no other human being on this planet fit to coach this team.I need to stop because it's getting a little misty here in Chicago.... [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 3/22/2010 8:34:31 PM | Tags: greivis vasquez, gary williams, video |

From Cougars To Spartans

Houston, you had a problem.  His name was Jordan Williams.  21 points, 17 rebound and he is a freshman.  Perhaps the most exciting part is that players usually improve the most between their freshman and sophomore seasons. But, surely that is a topic for another time.  There are still game(s) to be played this season.On the whole, the Terps played [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 3/20/2010 8:16:27 AM | Tags: houston, gary williams, tom izzo, maryland, michigan state, jordan williams |

Greivis, Gary, and Georgia Tech

I'm back.  I've spent the last 4 days in Phoenix, AZ (where it rained and didn't get above 60 degrees) at my company's National Sales Conference.  Needless to say, I had no time to do any actual work, let alone write a blog post.During my hiatus, both Greivis and Gary won the honors they deserved. POY and COY are appropriate accolades for two men w [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 3/12/2010 8:14:26 AM | Tags: acc tournament, georgia tech, poy, coy, greivis vasquez, gary williams |

Some Pre-Duke Quotes

As promised (even though I'm a little late), here are some quotes I got from the Duke presser yesterday. It was my first one of these, and it was pretty cool. There were about 25 reporters (including familiar Terp faces like Patrick Stevens, Seth Hoffman, Steve Yanda and Jeff Barker), a bunch of cameras and Chick Hernandez, and Jay Bilas was just c [...] Read More »

Author: Ethan | 3/3/2010 9:43:52 AM | Tags: greivis vasquez, gary williams, duke sucks |

Gary Williams Has Been Sleeping At The Comcast Center

Let there be no doubt about Gary Williams  desire to coach.  He's been sleeping at the Comcast Center because he doesn't want to risk getting stuck in the snow on the way to the game tomorrow.  That is incredible.  You find me another 63 year old with that kind of dedication?In other news, the University is preparing to let students without tickets [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 2/6/2010 10:25:46 PM | Tags: gary williams, snowstorm |

Gary Williams - Quote of the Year

Dan Steinberg at the WaPo has summarized an extensive interview that Gary Williams gave on ESPN's 980 AM yesterday afternoon.  Here's what Gary had to say about recruiting:"The penalty that the Alabama football team got, for instance; they have to forfeit games, ok? And they get probation for three years or whatever it is. That has nothing to do wi [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 7/2/2009 7:00:04 AM | Tags: gary williams, recruiting, ncaa |

Gary Williams is on Twitter and Other Sign of the Apocalypse

The rumors are true.  Gary Williams has a Twitter account.  Terp96 comment in the last post has inspired me.  What gems would we have been privy to had Gary had a Twitter account over the last 5 years?  In 140 characters or less, here's a few I would have liked to see:1.  Who's ruined my legacy more?  Travis Garrison or Chris McCray?2.  Why should [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 5/7/2009 6:34:54 PM | Tags: gary williams, twitter |
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