Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams retires

May 06, 2011

Gary Williams, Maryland's men's basketball coach, will step down after 22 seasons at his alma mater with a program-record 461 wins (668 overall for his career) and the 2002 national championship. Post sports reporter Josh Barr will attended Williams' press conference Friday at 1 p.m. Ask Barr your questions about the coach's decision, and let us know what you think.

Read today's story: Gary Williams retires after 22 seasons coaching Maryland basketball

Have to say, lots of memories stirred by the big news of Gary Williams hanging up his whistle at U-Md. Let's get started.

Who do you think will be the next coach?

all signs right now seem to point to sean miller. i think maryland is going to move fast, but could be slowed a tad by the mandatory acc meetings this weekend outside jacksonville. miller is from pittsburgh, had a long stint at nc state and was believed to be high on debbie yow's list of potential replacements. he's certainly proven himself, both at xavier and arizona. that said, i wouldn't rule anything out. it's an A list job, and i'd put brey/dixon/wright among those possible.

Hi Josh, Do you think Gary was burned out on coaching or do you think he had had enough of all the other stuff like recruiting, fund raising etc. Thanks GaryFan, Alexandria Va.

There's no doubt he's tired of the grind. As the Maryland coach, your life revolves nonstop around the sport, whether it is games/practice/recruiting/fundraising/etc. It's no secret that Gary never wanted to be a nonstop recruiter. There are no stories of him hanging out across the street from a high school at 7 am to wave at a recruit (see Billy Donovan/Shavlik Randolph, how did that one work out for everyone?). And the recruiting process keeps getting more challenging, despite the NCAA's attempts to make things easier for coaches. There are many coaches who would love a year to recharge their batteries (see Bill McGregor). I can see him back on the sidelines if he wants. He knows he can still coach. My inbox is littered with messages saying that no matter who Maryland hires, the new coach never will be as good a coach as Gary.

Dick Vitate just said Tubby Smith should be hired at UMD, what do you think of him

Tubby obviously has a great resume and he is a Maryland native. But I think Maryland is going to skew younger here.

We all know MD is a good job, top 10/15/20 who cares, only 1 job on that list is open. The real question should be: how much does it pay? What is MD's bottom line going to be when compared against the current salaries of the names on the short list?

I don't see money being an issue here. Yes, the Terps will be paying two football coaches next fall and the new hire might come at a greater cost than Gary's salary. But there are enough people around who know what must be done. They won't lose their man because of money.

You cover high school sports, are the aau and high school guys in the minority here about being happy Gary is leaving? They seem to be the only group of people who did not like Gary because he wouldn't kiss their butts. I'm thinking of Curtis Malone who the Post has written about, Mike Jones at DeMatha and other guys who have never sent a player to play for Gary.

I don't think any coaches are happy that Gary is leaving. Even if they haven't sent players to Maryland, they are happy with where their players have gone. Will (more of) their players now go to Maryland? That remains to be seen, will be very interesting with all of the top local players coming up -- Justin Anderson, Jerami Grant, BeeJay Anya. Will Arnaud Adala Moto now be back in consideration? Remains to be seen.

What's the feeling like on campus right now?  Must be sad, no?

Well, I just drove in and walked in, but I don't think it is sad. The folks who are here today realize just how much Gary Williams did for the basketball team and university. He came in when the program was at a serious low and took the Terps to two Final Fours and the national title.  Those people also know Gary is leaving at a time when the team is far from its high point, but I think they appreciate all Gary has done and are excited to get the team back to a higher level.

First, I want to congratulate and thank Gary for all the great memories and all the success. Alas, I feel that Maryland basketball's best days are behind us. It was a great ride though. Second, who's the best fit for the next head coach? Dixon, Wright, Smart, Brey, Stevens? Who's the most likely?

I can't see Stevens or Smart. This is a big-league job, not the place for a mid-major coach coming off one big year like Smart. What Stevens did at Butler is more impressive, but I don't see him coming east. Would Anthony Grant be more intriguing with some seasoning at Alabama? Maybe. But I think this is going to be a more veteran (while still younger) hire: Miller/Dixon/Wright/Brey. Unless Kevin Anderson has a rabbit to pull out of his hat.

Sean Miller just signed a new recruit today...that would not be a good sign that he is leaving.

Been a little immersed in GW and the other GW (Lonergan) the past 24 hours, but wouldn't you think that any coach is going to continue to recruit for their school until they are certain to be going elsewhere.

How sad was this day for long time beat writers who covered the team for so long and got to know Gary probably better than any of us fans?

It's not sad. It brings back a lot of memories from back in the day. Seeing some guys here and seeing what others have written/tweeted, I think it's safe to say we all enjoyed covering the beat. What I liked most was that I always knew where I stood -- good guy of the day, bad guy of the week -- and why. There were few surprises, if any. I also had the benefit of covering the team for The Post, which meant that I always could count on getting a call back.


Gary loved the give and take. He expected you to watch other ACC games and be able to discuss those teams when he did interviews the next day. Sure, he was defensive (consider the 2002 Sweet 16 weekend where all I heard from him was "yellow journalism" after co-workers wrote a story about the team's poor graduation rates) but he enjoyed the give and take and banter with the media. It's probably why he has been good on tv and I expect him to continue being on TV this season.

After NC State fans got all hyped up about their possible new coach and the failure that ensued, I am a little bit nervous about Maryland. I know Maryland is in a better situation(not sharing a state with Duke/UNC), has had more recent success, but I am concerned maybe we are overstating who we could get.

I don't think so. Maryland is a place that can vie for the national championship regularly. A lot of people think Gary's biggest letdown was not being able to capitalize on the national title and keep the Terps at the top or even with Duke and UNC.


Watching the video before Gary spoke today, I was struck by how big a deal it is now for the Terps to beat UNC or Duke. Fans/announcers getting just as excited as when team won national title. Seriously? Terps used to compete/beat UNC/Duke on a yearly basis.  As I type right now, I'm sitting next to AP writer extraordinaire Dave Ginsburg, who so enjoyed hitting the road with me for a down-and-back Terps win at the Dean Dome.

If Yow was still at UMD, do you think Gary would have stayed? People say he was determined to outlast her.

I said this to a TV friend walking in today, don't underestimate the fact that GW outlasted DY. Though I don't think that was the decisive factor here. I guess what I'm saying is, yes, he wanted to outlast her.

Does anyone know who he married? I heard Kevin Anderson refer to a 'Dana'.

got married a few weeks ago. Alas, my invitation must have been lost in the mail.

I know it dates back for umpteen years, but do you know what started it and kept the feud going? That's a loooooong time for a big-time coach and the AD to hate each other, while both stay on the job.

Both excelled at what they did. Say what you want about Debbie Yow, she took an athletic program in serious financial trouble and helped build an all-around strong program with top-of-the-line facilities. Gary is/was a great coach who won a national title. Both have strong personalities.

Josh, I must admit I was floored by the announcement. Gary is Maryland basketball. I looked forward to the season so much every year to see how Gary would get it done. To see how he would quiet his naysayers. And every year he did! I thought Gary could have coached another ten years. I am for one very sad to see this day. And the Maryland basketball program loses so much stature without him there. I have probably only missed about 6 televised games in the last ten years. Gary was the giant slayer. Handing it to Duke - handing it to NC. Winning when everyone said he couldn't. Also, I don't think Brey is a good fit. I'd like to see them look else where.

I'd heard talk for some time that it was possible but when I got a text just before the news broke yesterday, I had to pause and think. Even though you hear it might be coming, the Gary is leaving is shocking news. As for the next coach, whoever it is, it is goign to be different. Does any other coach yell at his assts or the scorer's table like Gary? The stories told by coaches/former players/refs are terrific.

Bill McGregor retiring, Ralph Friedgen being fired after winning 9 wins ant coach of the year, or Gary retiring now

Wow. Tough one. All different. I'd guess Ralph being fired? Maybe Gary?

What did you think of Debbie Yow alleging that Gary sabotaged her search? And how about her claim that a national writer (Gregg Doyel of CBS) would have a big piece on him (which never was published).

Weird. That was the talk of the town when it happened. I still can't figure it out. DY is smart and calculating, but the best explanation is that it was a slipup on her part. I don't see how it helped.

That's all for now. I don't think it will be long before we are talking about where Maryland goes from here.

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Josh Barr
Washington Post sports reporter
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