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Gary's Been Here 20 Years

The cover-your-eyes but peek-through-your-fingers week continued for Maryland, complete with athletic department officials, on the record, going out of their way to publicly embarrass Gary Williams. And sure, you could say that Gary started the public war of words, but his was an off-the-cuff remark under pressure from reporters, while the athletic department's was a coolly orchestrated, paperwork-heavy, middle-of-the-day path to ridicule. Shudder. I see carnage ahead.

Anyhow, I'm gonna try to forget the first 781 words of this morning's blow-by-blow, and instead focus on the last 18. This is Gary talking.

"I've coached here for 20 years, long before anyone else was here," he said. "Nobody was here 20 years ago."

He's right, you know. Twenty years ago, what modern D.C.-area sports figures were here? D.C. United and the Mystics didn't exist. The Nats were still in Montreal. Jim Larranaga was in Ohio. The Caps are completely different. Morgan Wootten was in then, out now. Same, I guess, with longtime Post sports editor and columnist George Solomon. Heck, our Terps beat writer, Steve Yanda, was something like five years old when Gary arrived.

So rather than contemplate all the depressing questions raised by the story above, I'm going to contemplate this cheerier question: who are the most prominent D.C. sports figures who were actually prominent D.C. sports figures when Gary arrived. My list:

1. Abe Pollin. Bernard King, Jeff Malone and Melvin Turpin have been replaced by Injured, Injured and Injured, but Pollin remains. And when the team held press conferences to announce the re-signing of Gilbert and Jamison over the summer, Pollin was the featured attraction.

2. John Thompson II. Sure, he isn't on the front page of the sports section as often as he once was, and sure, he's a big softie now, but I would argue that his status in this town has hardly changed. People still stop and stare.

3. Joe Bugel. Less of a media showman now than he was then, but he's still here, and still with the Redskins, and that counts for something.

4. Wilbon/Kornheiser/Feinstein/Boswell/Jenkins. Amazingly, this quintet of prominent local sportswriters were all prominent local sportswriters 20 years ago. All retain, to some degree, a D.C. connection, and all are crazily famous. Frankly, you could make a case for them as No. 1, but I'll be modest for them.

5. Frank Beamer. Would be higher, if Blacksburg were located in the same hemisphere as D.C., but still deserves to be here.

Also receiving consideration: Johnny Holliday, George Michael, Jeff Jones, Jack Kvancz, John Riggins, Dick Patrick.

But I'm sure I'm forgetting some obvious ones. Your thoughts?

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 28, 2009; 10:35 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Redskins , Terps , Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Maryland-BC: It's Over
Next: Jeff Bostic Remembers Grimm, Whisenhunt and the Hogs


Sports Machine.

Never forget.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | January 28, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Sonny and Sam. Many of us turn down the volume on tv and listen to Sonny and Sam and have been doing it for a long, long time

Posted by: rkrouse1 | January 28, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Sonny and Sam, Sonny especially. He was on Channel 9 with Glenn Brenner back then, as well as the radio play-by-play. You could make a better argument for him as number one than the sportswriters--since none of them were on television regularly back in those days. I think Abe, though, is probably the correct choice.

Posted by: TheFingerman | January 28, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The response to Gary is that he's been here 5 years too many. MD basketball needs wants Obama preaches, CHANGE.

Posted by: ewoldtk | January 28, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

As a Hokie who loves to see Tech in the local poll, I struggle to put Beamer in this "local" list. I never was a fan, but I'd also boost George Michael for his contributions to sports' reporting.

Posted by: sitruc | January 28, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

i thought you guaranteed a win last night?

Posted by: funkey | January 28, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Tim Brandt has been in and out of the DC sports market since the late 70's...he's currently in. Also, Doc Walker immediately became a Skins locker room reporter for local station in DC, immediately after hanging up his cleats. He's survived through the years on 980-his time here has been more consistent than Riggos. But the most obvious miss was Steve Buckhantz. He actually made Channel 5 sports matter. He was there from '84 through '97 and remains a force in DC sports, in spite of the Wizards current stinkiness.

Posted by: Trippey | January 28, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Your list is DC sports figures. College Park is in the state of Maryland.

Posted by: tbanderson1980 | January 28, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Andy Polley?

Posted by: rdpinva | January 28, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Right, tbanderson1980. The two aren't even remotely close...

I fear some lists are too Skins-centric. I have to put Michael before other tv reporters. He changed the game. I can actually easily imagine dropping the print guys from the list.

Posted by: sitruc | January 28, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if the print columnists shouldn't be on the list, but they're been much more influential in the last 10-15 years--especially Kornheiser and Wilbon. With Kornheiser's radio show (and everyone else at 980 sucking up to him for years by agreeing with any opinion he offered), Kornheiser and Wilbon's appearances on the George Michael Saturday night sports shows and then PTI, those two pretty much have controlled the sports agenda in the D.C. area, for better or worse (worse being their general dismissal of the Caps and hockey during that time and their general disinterest in the Nats.)

They had none of those platforms in 1989 (I don't recall when the George Michael Redskins Report started, but even if it was around 20 years ago, I'm pretty sure Wilbon wasn't on it yet), and thus all they did was write columns. Still influential, but not like they were most of this decade.

Posted by: TheFingerman | January 28, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

George Michael, He was Sports Center before Sports Center was popular or my family household had cable TV, which ever came first. Honorable mention to Miles of the Barry Farms summer league. Its a DC neighborhood thang.

Posted by: ged0386 | January 28, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Darrell Green and Cal Ripken.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 28, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

To all those who demand Gary be fired--please go find another team to root for. The terps don't need ingrates.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 28, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Gary Williams took MD to the promise land. It takes many stars aligned in such way for that to happen to ANY program. Why don't we talk bout the many many missed shots the players had? They couldn't BUY a basket when they needed a couple to keep BC at a distant. A Coach can only Coach them to be prepared and to compete and to have a plan. It's ultimately the players that need to actually MAKE the BASKETS and PLAY well. What is all this talk of Gary going to do?

Posted by: doeshin | January 28, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Fang Mitchell at Coppin State? He may not qualify as "prominent" to DC people, but he's local (if Frank Beamer is "local") and he's in his 23rd season at Coppin.

Posted by: mikeinrockville | January 28, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I probably should have elaborated, but that is why I said the list could do without the print guys, TheFingerman. They were biggest 10-15 years ago and not 20 years ago. Beamer took a program that was in the gutter and on probation and turned it into a national title contender and one of the most consistently good teams in college football. No disrespect to Coppin State, but they aren't on that level. Also FWIW(nothing), it's not just Maryland fans who think it would be best for the athletic program if Gary Williams were gone. Most posters aren't Terps.

Posted by: sitruc | January 28, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"4.Wilbon/Kornheiser/Feinstein/Boswell/Jenkins. Amazingly, this quintet of prominent local sportswriters were all prominent local sportswriters 20 years ago. All retain, to some degree, a D.C. connection, and all are crazily famous." Feinstein is the only one who even remotely warrants the accolade "crazily famous" for his book on Bob Knight. I can see where your listing comes from. Wilbon and Kornheiser first because of their PTI fame on ESPN, although Kornheiser's embarassments on MNF detract from whatever luster that has. The rest of the country has probably never heard of either Boswell or Jenkins.

Posted by: AntonChigurh | January 28, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I loved - loved these results.

Duke --- 85
Maryland --- 44

Boston College -- 76
Maryland -- 67


Miami -- 87
Maryland -- 58

Maryland will finish with a 15 - 16 record

No NCAA bid

No NIT bid

How can any parent, let their son play for a program like Maryland - with a 10 % graduation rate.

Carolina blue - Carolina WHITE - Go Tar Heels ! - Let's go Tar Heels !

Posted by: hclark1 | January 28, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Doc Walker - the only HOG and SMURF to still have a level of activity and prominence in the local sports and media community. (Riggins left DC for a while.)

Posted by: oknow1 | January 28, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

It sure is a tough time to live in Durham and be a Terp fan.

I'd hardly call what Sally Jenkins does "Sports Reporting" either. I wasn't aware that Title IX applied to Print Media.

Title IX is also the biggest detriment to college sports out there. Even more than Debbie Yow or Worthington.

Posted by: alecw81 | January 28, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

To the Tar Heel fan... How can you say you loved watching Duke blow out Maryland? Duke is your main rival! You should want Duke to lose every game of the year, especially to teams that aren't that good like Maryland...A true fan of a team would understand that. It would be like a Redskins fan enjoying watching Dallas beat the Cardinals or something.

Posted by: Killerangel81 | January 28, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I find it fascinating what the Post now considers 'local' or 'area' schools. Well in particular, Va Tech from Blacksburg, VA, 270 miles from DC. If we use that radius as the range for definition of 'local' or 'area', the Post can now really add some spice to its weekly 'local' college hoops poll: WVA Mountaineers - Morgantown WVA, 208 miles; UNC and Duke, Chapel Hill and Durham NC, 268 and 259 miles; Villanova, Phil PA, 137 miles. There a lot more that don't currently have b-ball teams that would make the poll: Penn State - State College, PA - 207 miles; Rutgers, New Brunswick NJ, 196 miles, etc. etc. I have a cheer for VA Tech as a local team - 'Hokie Hokie High, Go to Hadies (might make it past censor) VPI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: jyl1st | January 28, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Gary can stay as long as he wants. It is sad people have such short term memory. No one remembers the UM program that Gary took over...Think back! So he has had a little problem with a couple of great recruits. From what I hear they came with a little baggage and gary did the right thing and cut them loose.

Posted by: LongTimeSkinsFan | January 28, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

jyl1st, new here?

Posted by: sitruc | January 28, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

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