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Gary on Recruiting Geeks and Making the Tourney


Can't jump, huh? Check this. (Photos by John Bazemore - AP

Gary Williams has been mostly gracious in victory this week, refusing to gloat about his critics, or the media, or the experts, or anyone else. He's argued that this tourney berth wasn't about redemption, but was merely about maintaining what Maryland has done for more than a decade. No big deal.

Which is all fine, but when I go out on a mild limb and say Michigan State is going to the Final Four, you can bet that if I'm right, I'll gloat for weeks. I haven't wanted to see the gracious-in-victory Gary; that's boring. I've wanted the well-maybe-I-do-recruit-well-enough-after-all Gary, the where-are-your-five-stars-now Gary, the 13-berths-in-16-years Gary.

That guy finally emerged this morning, in a long interview with the Junkies on WJFK. (Listen here.) He took some shots at Cinderella automatic qualifiers ("Well it's great, except half those teams couldn't win a game in the ACC"), but more on that later. This was clearly friendly territory; the Junkies are avowed Gary fans, and they were openly on his side during the Great Doubts in January. Perhaps because of that reason, here's what he eventually said this morning.

"Our recruits are good enough to go to the NCAA tournament," he said. "There's a lot of schools that supposedly got great recruits, but they're not in the NCAA tournament. So that's the bottom line. See, this recruiting thing has really changed, I'd say in the last 10 years, where there's a lot of geeks out there that only care about who you recruit. They could care less about how you do during the season or whatever--if you don't get the kid they think you should get, then you're not recruiting well. Well, we recruited well enough to go to the NCAA tournament this year."

Yee-haw. That's the redeeming angel of told-you-so vengeance that I've been waiting for. I was trying to think whether there are any schools in the immediate vicinity of College Park that supposedly got great recruits but missed the NCAA tournament this year, but for the life of me I just can't think of any. Nope, no idea what he was talking about there.

The Junkies also broke out one of the standard--and understandable--lines used by Gary supporters: that they remember what it was like when he got to College Park, and that the transformation has essentially earned him a lifetime pass.

"You remember it; very few people there at the university remember it," Williams said. "You know, they weren't around 20 years ago. The students weren't born. I just walked in there from Ohio State, where everything was done to promote your program. They didn't care how big football was. The bigger the better. If it dominated the whole state, it didn't matter, the whole thing.

"And now I come to Maryland and we were afraid. We were afraid to be good. We were afraid to say we were great. We were afraid to tell people to shut up and quit talking about Bias and let's move on to the next decade and things like that. You know, when I'm done, whenever that is, that's what I'll take the most pride in, the fact that we were able to turn that mentality around and to help make it a great university. In other words, every part of the university that can be great certainly helps the school, and it took awhile for people to understand that."


Look, this was a great listen, and you should obviously go hear for yourself (listen here!), but I'll just highlight two more passages. One, when he was asked whether he gets frustrated during moment's like this year's Great Doubt, when critics were chirping and (some) fans were booing.

"I get frustrated when they get on the players, I really do," he said. "Because this year--I'll say this about our team and I don't think anybody can deny this--our guys played hard every game. I mean, there was no game where we didn't play hard. I don't remember a game. I don't care if it was Morgan State, whoever, we played hard. And that's all you can do as a player....So that bothers me when our fans get on the players.

"Coaches, you take that, that's part of the deal. But this year was a little different. You know, we had several things on the outside which I don't quite understand, because It took us four years to get off those sanctions for the previous coaching staff. So the last 16 years we've been to 13 NCAA tournaments. If you look around the country, give me another program besides say North Carolina and Duke that's done that. You know? That's what I don't understand. I don't know where it comes from. I have an idea, but I can't prove it. But it's just there, and 13 out of 16 NCAAs, let's just start there and see who's done that."

(Here's the answer: Over the last 16 years, Arizona has 16 trips, Kansas has 16 trips, Duke has 15 trips, Kentucky has 15 trips, Texas has 15 trips, Michigan State has 14 trips, UNC has 14 trips, UCLA has 14 trips, U-Conn. has 13 trips, Illinois has 13 trips, Indiana has 13 trips, Oklahoma has 13 trips, Stanford has 13 trips and Wisconsin has 13 trips. That's a total of 15 schools, including Maryland. Not trying to be difficult, but I was just curious. It's still pretty elite company.)

And then lastly, Williams was asked directly about the idea of expanding the field, which he's supported in the past.

"You know what I did last night?" he responded. "I looked at the brackets in the NIT. You know how many good teams are in the NIT that are easily as good as half the teams in the NCAA tournament? And the reason the NCAA tournament was expanded from 16 to 32 to 48 to 64 to 65 was the same reason every time, because there was more good teams. So there's more good teams now, so why wouldn't you expand?

"Kids are not getting the chance to play in the NCAA tournament that have played well enough to be in there, that's what's broken. What separates us from Virginia Tech, just in our conference? Or Miami? Not much. Not much. You look at Auburn, you look at some teams that really played well down the stretch that didn't get in. I think there's room for teams like that to play, and they're not gonna embarrass themselves....

"All you guys that like that [automatic qualifiers], that say isn't that great? Well it's great, except half those teams couldn't win a game in the ACC....There's no next year Ask some coaches that are gonna be let go this year if there's next year."

Snide shots at the Ohio Valley champion aside, I'm not sure I don't agree with him on this one. How is having more games to agonize over a bad thing, anyhow?

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 18, 2009; 11:56 AM ET
Categories:  College Basketball , Media , Terps  
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Next: Inside AU's NCAA Tourney Trip, Part II

Comments

""Our recruits are good enough to go to the NCAA tournament," he said. "There's a lot of schools that supposedly got great recruits, but they're not in the NCAA tournament. So that's the bottom line"

---

Well, they weren't good enough last year, or the year before...or two years before that.

Statements like that are a double-edged sword, if you're going to use a tournament appearance to validate a group of guys, you have to also use the lack of tournament appearances to evaluate them.

Look, I think Gary is a great coach, I think he's done a great job for your program, and I think he deserves a lifetime pass. But let's be real real here...his recruiting is lacking - ESPECIALLY for a team that won the National Championship less than a decade ago.

You can ignore that fact, or address it. What's the solution? It's possible there is none. And that's cool too.

It's a great feat that you made the tourney, you had a great run at the end, but let's not pretend like a 7-9 conf. record, one road win vs. a +.500 team, and 40 and 30 pt. blowouts to Duke and *Clemson* are what you are expecting out of your program.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 18, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

www.garymustgo.com

Posted by: mateo_md | March 18, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"I was trying to think whether there are any schools in the immediate vicinity of College Park that supposedly got great recruits but missed the NCAA tournament this year, but for the life of me I just can't think of any. Nope, no idea what he was talking about there."

---

LOL you sly dog you .

Posted by: gregegeg | March 18, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

What kind of expansion are we talking about? My initial gut reaction is that 64 was great, and that the play-in game is sort of silly. On one hand, adding a few more spots increases the likelihood of awesome upsets and Cinderella stories. On the other hand, increasing the likelihood of those things also dilutes their value. George Mason in the Final Four was awesome precisely because it was so unlikely. If their path to the Final Four was filled with a bunch of middling teams, would we be as amazed? If the tournament adds a bunch of teams that are realistically 100-1 to win more than 2 games, is it really a better tournament?

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 18, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

www.garymustgo.comwebsitemustgo.com

I am tired of lame websites that call for other people to lose their jobs. Hater blogs are for losers. Gary has done a good job. And getting rid of gary does not make UM better if you dont replace him with someone better and most people calling for his job have no clue as to what to do after he is fired so stop calling for his job. Firing coaches does not always guarantee the program getting better. Remember, people in Kentucky were calling for Tubby Smiths head before he left for Minnesota. Is UK better off without Smith? Last I checked they did not even make the NCAA tourney. With him they won a national championship. Same as Gary. Who else has been to two final fours as Coach of Maryland? Let me know when you find out.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 18, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Chest_Rockwell

I have to agree. More bowl games does not make college football any more exciting so I am not sure that additional tourney slots will make it better or more boring. All I know is Arizona should be at home and Davidson should have gotten in. They pandered to Lute's legacy. Nothing against Lute.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 18, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"I was trying to think whether there are any schools in the immediate vicinity of College Park that supposedly got great recruits but missed the NCAA tournament this year, but for the life of me I just can't think of any. Nope, no idea what he was talking about there."

I don't suppose that could be Georgetown, huh??... LOL!!

Posted by: keneikirk | March 18, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

". Gary has done a good job. And getting rid of gary does not make UM better if you dont replace him with someone better and most people calling for his job have no clue as to what to do after he is fired so stop calling for his job"

Does it always have to be so Binary Man, though?

Is it possible to acknowledge that Gary has done a great job, shouldn't be fired, but still has flaws and the program isn't where it probably ought to be afte a national Championship?

Is it out of the question to say that UMD has issues that need to be addressed lest it suffer long-term consequences?

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 18, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I get the feeling Gary has decided he's been vindicated. For what, I'm not sure.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 18, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"I get the feeling Gary has decided he's been vindicated. For what, I'm not sure."

He had to create a percieved slight to get the team motivated. Now that they're in the Tournament, he has created a percieved vindication to the percieved slight he created.

I'll give him credit, it worked.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 18, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Vindication should include more then a 1st round loss in the NCAA tourney. I am not saying we are going to lose to Cal but right now our remarks are a little premature. Lets talk next week about how Gary has vindicated himself.

Posted by: sjp879 | March 18, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"I am not saying we are going to lose to Cal but right now our remarks are a little premature."

FWIW, you need to spread this mantra amongst your Terp bretheren. Most of you all are talking like there isn't even a first round and contemplating your chances against Memphis.

That's Dangerous.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 18, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"FWIW, you need to spread this mantra amongst your Terp bretheren. Most of you all are talking like there isn't even a first round and contemplating your chances against Memphis.

That's Dangerous."

Why do you care? Seriously, if you are not a MD fan then why do you care if the fans are talking about a 2nd round game and overlooking Cal?

Posted by: sjp879 | March 18, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"Why do you care? Seriously, if you are not a MD fan then why do you care if the fans are talking about a 2nd round game and overlooking Cal?"

Ummm...because I live in the area, have freinds and co-workers who are UMD Fans/Alumni, and am subjected to the constant local media coverage of them?

Do any of those reasons work?

What's with the Hostility? What do you care that I care?

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 18, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

He had to create a percieved slight to get the team motivated. Now that they're in the Tournament, he has created a percieved vindication to the percieved slight he created.

I'll give him credit, it worked.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 18, 2009 1:56 PM

A "perceived" slight?

-Websites calling for Gary to get fired.

-People up on these blogs ripping him and his recruits.

-Prominent area newspapers running multi-part series on how his program is tanking and underacheiving.

Gee. With "perceived" slights like that, I'd hate to see "actual" ones...

And it's not like Gary is the one that has made a "tourney appearance" the litmus test for a successful program. That's been foisted on him and all the other schools by the public and the media. He's just saying that if folks are gonna play those cards, then he's got a winning hand this year...

And he is ABSOLUTELY right about the charity-case auto-bids given out to the wimps. It is ludicrous to say that a team like Maryland doesn't "deserve" to go to the tourney, without criticizng the presence of schools like Cornell or Alabama State or Chatanooga...

Posted by: p1funk | March 18, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

BTW - lookslike Obama picked MD to beat Cal...

Posted by: p1funk | March 18, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"Ummm...because I live in the area, have freinds and co-workers who are UMD Fans/Alumni, and am subjected to the constant local media coverage of them?

Do any of those reasons work?

What's with the Hostility? What do you care that I care?"

No hostility at all. It just appears that you are an angry VT fan and might be throwing flames instead of truly caring if a MD fan has "dangerous" illusions of his teams 1st round outcome.

Posted by: sjp879 | March 18, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"-Websites calling for Gary to get fired.

-People up on these blogs ripping him and his recruits."

If a National Championship winning, hall-of-fame, 2-decade tenure coach like Gary Williams is paying ANY attention to chuckleads and idiots on blogs and asinine websites like "garymustgo.com" then he absolutely is using that as motivation. No coach worth his salt would honestly care about stuff like that.

"-Prominent area newspapers running multi-part series on how his program is tanking and underacheiving."

The program *IS* underacheiving though! Hay-sus Cree-sto. No Maryland fan who is being honest with themselves should be able to say with a straight face that the program has *not* underachieved since winning the national champsionship.

The post series simply looked into "why." It wasn't a cheap shot, it wasn't "bashing gary," it wasn't anything like that. It said here's a problem, let's explore why it's this way.

Gary took that and turned it into a motivational tool. It worked on the players and fans, I say good for him.

But if you guys use this tournament 10-seed as your reason to pretend like nothing's wrong with the program and all is well in College Park again, I think you all are doing yourselves a disservice.

But really, get over the Post thing. It was a good series, and you people look silly when you start screaming about it.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 18, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"No hostility at all. It just appears that you are an angry VT fan and might be throwing flames instead of truly caring if a MD fan has "dangerous" illusions of his teams 1st round outcome."

What do I have to be angry about?

Tech is a football school slowly (hopefully) building a BBall program. Anything that happens in BBall for the Hokies is Gravy. They probably could have gotten into the tournament if they beat UNC. But they didn't - it happens.

I know what you're trying to do, and it won't work because I don't really care about Tech Basketball. I enjoy watching them play, and will enjoy watching them play tonight. If they win, I'm happy and if they lose I don't care.

So, you're not going to get into a "who is better:MD vs. VT" thing because MD was better this year (barely :) ). Which is kind of the point. Going into the ACC Tournament, both programs were 2-wins away from an NCAA Tournament Appearance.

The problem with that? 8 years ago youall were winning the National Champsionship while we were *not* qualifying for the Big east Tournament. That should be a problem for you all.

But, don't pretend like a fan of another team can't have an objective take on yours. Arguably, non-MD fans are the only ones who *can* have an objective take on your team.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 18, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I knew you were just an angry VA Neck fan who was just flame throwing. Why did you pretend to be a concerned fan then?

Posted by: sjp879 | March 18, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"I knew you were just an angry VA Neck fan who was just flame throwing. Why did you pretend to be a concerned fan then?"

Where did I pretend to be a concerned fan?

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 18, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

At one point this season, I was envious of Georgetown for having greg monroe, chris wright, austin freeman, and henry sims. Other than Monroe, the others were supposedly maryland recruits. Gary definitely has the last laugh on that one.

Posted by: rfrfrf | March 18, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

And Jai Lucas, you're an idiot...

Posted by: rfrfrf | March 18, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I guess I don't get all the hurrahs. You made the tournament. You finished in the lower half of your conference. But you WON the title just a few years ago so why is simply making the NCAA's such an accomplishment? Shouldn't WINNING the title again be the goal? Shouldn't WINNING the ACC be the goal? It seems as though getting this far is good enough. Who cares about simply making the tourney - I want to WIN the tourney so Gary please step up the recruiting so we have a chance at more then simply "being there". And let's not even bring up the latest study that shows MD has among the WORST graduation rates of any school in the NCAA tournament which should be a complete embarassment for the school. And yet I'm a Gary supporter...

Posted by: freakymf | March 18, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

BARNO WILL ADDRESS SOME OF VTDUFFMAN'S COMMENTS, ONE BY ONE IN ALL CAPS FOR DIFFERENTIATING PURPOSES ONLY (IN OTHER WORDS, I AM NO SCREAMING WITH THESE WORDS IN CAPS)

"Well, they weren't good enough last year, or the year before...or two years before that."

ACTUALLY, WE WERE "GOOD ENOUGH" THE YEAR BEFORE LAST. 25 WINS GOOD ENOUGH ACTUALLY, 6TH MOST IN MARYLAND HISTORY. WE WERE A 4 SEED IN 07, AND NOW A 10 SEED. WE'VE MADE THE TOURNEY 2 TIMES IN THE LAST 3 YEARS, OR 13 OUT OF 16, DEPENDING ON HOW YOU WANT TO LOOK AT IT.

"if you're going to use a tournament appearance to validate a group of guys, you have to also use the lack of tournament appearances to evaluate them"

AGAIN, 13 OUT OF 16 YEARS. THROW IN 7 TRIPS TO THE SWEET 16, 2 FINAL FOURS, 2 ACC REGULAR SEASON TITLES, 12 TRIPS TO THE ACC TOURNEY SEMIS IN LAST 16 YEARS, AN ACC TOURNEY CHAMPIONSHIP, AND A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.......VS.......THREE 19-WIN NIT SEASONS WHEN WE WERE PROBABLY ONE WIN AWAY FROM NCAA BIDS EACH YEAR AND SUFFERED SEASON ENDING LOSSES BY INJURY AND ACADEMICS TO KEY PLAYERS IN 2 OF THOSE 3 YEARS.

"let's be real real here...his recruiting is lacking - ESPECIALLY for a team that won the National Championship less than a decade ago."

SINCE THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MARYLAND HAS HAD TWO TOP 5 RECRUITING CLASSES, ONE TOP 20 CLASS, AND IF THE TERPS ADD LANCE STEVENSON TO THIS YEAR'S CLASS IT WILL BE ANOTHER HIGHLY RATED CLASS AS WELL. THE OTHER YEARS SINCE THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, MARYLAND HAS HAD TOO FEW PLAYERS TO BE CONSIDERED HIGHLY TOUTED CLASSES (FOR INSTANCE, 2004 JAMES GIST WAS OUR ONLY RECRUIT, SO IT WASN'T CONSIDERED A HIGHLY RANKED CLASS EVEN THOUGH HE WAS AN ALL MET AND BECAME ALL ACC AND WAS DRAFTED BY THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS). YOU CAN'T HAVE 4 OR 5 PLAYERS IN EACH CLASS BECAUSE YOU ARE ONLY ALLOWED A CERTAIN NUMBER OF SCHOLARSHIPS. IT REALLY DOES APPEAR SOME PEOPLE DO NOT REALIZE THIS.

AS FOR THE IDEA THAT YOU CAN ONLY WIN WITH HIGHLY RANKED RECRUITING CLASSES, GARY WON A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WITH UNHERALDED RECRUITS LIKE JUAN DIXON AND LONNIE BAXTER. GARY DOES BETTER WITH MIDDLE OF THE PACK RECRUITS LIKE JOE SMITH, WHO WAS A NO-NAME IN HIGH SCHOOL BUT BECAME THE NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR AND FIRST OVERALL PICK IN THE NBA DRAFT. GARY ALSO WENT TO BACK TO BACK NITS IN 04/05 AND 05/06 AFTER BACK TO BACK TOP 5 RECRUITING CLASSES IN 02/03 AND 03/04. WOULD THE GEEKS GARY IS REFERRING TO PREFER TO GO TO THE NIT WITH MCDONALDS ALL AMERICANS THAN GO TO THE NCAA TOURNAMENT WITH BURGER KING ALL AMERICANS? TRAVIS GARRISON, DANNY MILLER, MIKE JONES, EKENE IBEKWE ALL WERE ALL AMERICANS IN HIGH SCHOOL, AND ALL WERE CONSIDERED BUSTS AT MARYLAND.

THERE IS NO PROBLEM WITH GARY'S RECRUITING, IT'S A MYTH. A COMMONLY REFERENCED MYTH, BUT A MYTH.

You can ignore that fact, or address it. What's the solution? It's possible there is none. And that's cool too.

THERE IS NO SOLUTION BECAUSE THERE IS NO PROBLEM.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 18, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey, VTDuffman, come back and comment on our program when the Hokies do anything worth talking about in basketball.

Posted by: JMSinCHeights | March 18, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"Hey, VTDuffman, come back and comment on our program when the Hokies do anything worth talking about in basketball."

I don't see why my alma mater's successes/failures in basketball have anything to do with having an opinion on other programs. I've already admitted that VT is not that good at basketball, it's not like you're informing me of anything. Which leads me to...

"THERE IS NO SOLUTION BECAUSE THERE IS NO PROBLEM."

If you think there is no problem, that's cool. The all-caps thing makes you look silly, though. My point is simple: 8 years ago you guys won the national championship. 8 Years ago, Virginia Tech literally didn't make their own conference tournament. Last week, both teams were in the *exact same position* WRT to the NCAA Tournament.

If you don't have a problem with that, that's fine. If I was a UMD Fan, I would. Counter Example: If Tech were only as good at football as Maryland, I would have a problem with that.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 18, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Did I really just see a blog commenter refer to themselves in the third person?

Or should I say, did Chest Rockwell just see someone refer to themselves in the third person?

Or should Chest Rockwell say, did Chest Rockwell just see someone refer to themselves in the third person?

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 18, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

"The all-caps thing makes you look silly, though."

BARNO SAYS YOU SHOULD HAVE READ THE PART WHERE HE SAID HE WAS USING "ALL CAPS FOR DIFFERENTIATING PURPOSES ONLY." MAKES IT EASIER TO DISTINGUISH WHO IS DOING THE TALKING WHEN RESPONDING TO A SERIES OF COMMENTS WHEN ONE IS IN CAPS AND THE OTHER IS NOT.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 18, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

"BARNO SAYS YOU SHOULD HAVE READ THE PART WHERE HE SAID HE WAS USING "ALL CAPS FOR DIFFERENTIATING PURPOSES ONLY."

I read that part. It still makes you look silly. I'm not 5 years old, proper use of quotation marks would have sufficed...

...and did you really refer to yourself in the 3rd person? Really?

I mean, not even the 3rd person, the 3rd person of your *blog handle*...that's like the 3rd person of your 3rd person or...3^2 = 9th person.

Did you just really refer to yourself in the 9th person?

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 18, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Any idea of firing Coach Williams is foolish. The state is in financial trouble. State employees, including Coach Fridgen, are taking furlough days. We'd have to buy out Williams' contract and we don't have the money. We couldn't fire him for cause. He hasn't given anyone cause to fire him.

Furthermore, I would rather have a team of scrappers than the arrogant spoiled brats that Gary doesn't recruit.

Posted by: GABinOdenton | March 18, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

hahaha VTDuffman is always all over the comment section of these posts railing against maryland. how utterly pathetic. seriously, dude, get a hobby

if the VT in your name stands for virginia tech, then why not go tard up the comments sections on the little blurb about their NIT match-up

Posted by: seanjames | March 18, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

One final comment about the Gary Williams critics and then I'm off.

There was a small but vocal segment of the MD fan base that demanded Gary Williams be fired in the late 90s and early 2000s. The week of Feb. 14, 2001, immediately after Md had lost to FSU at home on Valentines Day, to cap a string of 5 losses in 6 games, some fans booed Gary as he left the court. There were letters in the Diamondback calling for Debbie Yow to fire him and find someone else who could finally get MD past the sweet 16 (Gary had gotten MD there 4 times at that point but never past the 3rd round). Gary could not get it done, they argued. We need to find someone else who can, they screamed.

A month or so later MD capped a run of 11 wins in 12 games, including a win in Durham on Shane Battier's senior night, by beating Stanford in the Elite 8 and suddenly found itself in the Final Four. Within a year, they were national champs, with not a single high school All American on the roster.

A few years later, here we are again with a small but very vocal group of individuals claiming to Maryland fans who throughout this season have trashed Gary Williams, with some demanding he be fired with others hoped he would simply resign. After ever loss they showed up on the blogs and taunted the FOGs (fans of gary), mocked his accomplishments, and were flabbergasted by every thing the man did.

And yet here we are, in the NCAA tournament after they said it wouldn't--no, couldn't--be done. And if we lose to California today, you better believe they will be out in full force showing their dissatisfaction with Gary, mocking the NCAA tournament appearance altogether and again trashing the program he has built.

My only words to these people who claim to be Maryland fans is this: Thank God Debbie Yow did not listen to you when you wanted Gary Williams fired on Feb. 14 2001. Thank God. 2 Final Fours and a national title later, it's a blessing that Ms. Yow had more sense, and still does, than to listen to a bunch of know-nothing fools.

Go Terps.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 19, 2009 2:28 AM | Report abuse

"hahaha VTDuffman is always all over the comment section of these posts railing against maryland."

Give one example of me "railing against Maryland."

Just one.

Also, the NIT comment shows that you're not even reading what I'm writing (which is obvious also from the "railing" comment). If it's supposed to be a slam or whatever, because I don't care. I acknowledge that VT is not that great of a basketball program.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 19, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

VTDuffman, you are talking a lot of sense, but I have to question your underlying assumption: namely, that teams coming off national championships tend to maintain a consistently high-level performance.

If you look at the list of NCAA winners, most teams have a drop-off in years immediately following their championship.

A handful of examples: Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, NC State, Syracuse, Villanova, UCLA.

Maryland's drop-off has probably been a bit bigger than most teams', but it's hardly abnormal.

Posted by: otf123 | March 19, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

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