Jeff Gravley

Good Gary, Bad Gary

Posted May 5, 2011
Updated May 6, 2011

The sudden retirement of Gary Williams leaves a divot in the ACC and college basketball. Only Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith won more ACC games than Williams did.

He inherited a once proud program at Maryland that was in shambles after a bad hire of high school coach Bob Wade. The Terps were also still trying to recover from the cocaine death of star Len Bias after he was drafted by the Boston Celtics.

Gary Williams went to work repairing his alma mater bringing a national championship to College Park in 2002 and winning 3 ACC titles. 

The guy can flat coach basketball but some of his on-court antics went too far. A friend of mine told me of an ACC tournament about 10 years ago when he was sitting behind the Maryland bench with his son. The Terps were getting whipped and Gary Williams was spraying profanities after every other play.

Embarrassed for his son, my friend had heard enough. After one of Williams' "F-bomb" tirades my friend stood up and shouted, "Hey Gary, watch the language. I have a young son sitting here." To which Gary replied, "F your son!!" The ACC heard about that one and so did Gary Williams.

But I also remember how engaging Williams was on those practice days at the ACC tournament. He would stand in the hallway surrounded by media telling great stories. Laughing and joking, Williams had so many stories to share.

I hope he finally gets into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. In early April, his former boss, NC State AD Debbie Yow, told me she nominated Williams for the Hall and suggested that the floor at the Comcast Center bear his name.

Gary Williams rubbed some the wrong way but he always wanted what was best for his sport.

His departure is not one of those good things for college basketball.


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  • dtd1961 May 8, 2011

    Yow made him step down. I was waiting 4 NC State & MD 2 see Yow would punch him n the nose.

  • lmartin152 May 7, 2011


    Gary Williams better than Everett Case? Norm Sloan? Jim Valvano? Wow. Okay, if you say so.... (as eyes are rolling).

  • VT1994Hokie May 7, 2011

    Highly interesting article. I hate to read that he said this to a father/child. And, he should have given an autograph too. He is one of the most intense coaches that I have ever seen. He won. Regardless, he did a solid job up there. 3rd in the ACC is pretty impressive.

  • jmoore27540 May 7, 2011

    View quoted thread

    Your ignorance is comedy gold. Please continue.

  • duane11 May 6, 2011

    hows that??..Norm Sloan won a NT, as did V...and they had success other than those single yrs....other than just plain coaching at md longer(which would explain the higher total numbers of victories in acc play) than the aforementioned coache as at State, how was he 'better'?...for one thing, he never had an undefeated tell

  • gsms69 May 6, 2011

    My memories of him go back to Greensboro at the MD shoot around before an ACC tournament game, when a young girl in a wheelchair asked him for an autograph, on his way to the floor. He looked at her saying, "I don't have time." He should have made the time.

  • Rdi73162 May 6, 2011

    considering he was a better coach than state has "ever" had, what word describes the wolfies HC`s?

  • jmoore27540 May 6, 2011

    Generally speaking they dont curse the fans.....

  • tarheelgrad1998 May 6, 2011

    Really? There are coaches who curse when they get fired up??? No way...

  • Shelley Cooper May 6, 2011

    View quoted thread




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