College Basketball: Maryland's Williams retires
Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2011
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — After sweating through crisp white shirts and expensive suits for more than three decades, Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams is finally ready to take it easy.
Williams announced his retirement Thursday, saying “it’s the right time” for him to end a career in which he led his alma mater to the 2002 national championship.
Williams coached for 33 years, the last 22 at Maryland, where he played as a guard from 1964-67.
“My entire career has been an unbelievable blessing. I am fiercely proud of the program we have built here,” Williams said. “I couldn’t have asked any more from my players, my assistant coaches, the great Maryland fans and this great university. Together, we did something very special here.”
His career record is 668-380, including 461-252 at Maryland. Under his direction, the Terrapins went to the NCAA tournament 14 times, won or shared three Atlantic Coast Conference titles and reached the Final Four twice.
Williams was a fiery competitor who despised losing and loved the challenge of competing against the best teams in the nation — including Duke, which usually got the best of him. But the Terrapins never went down without a fight, and rarely did Williams ever take a seat on the bench.
His frenzied style, and his propensity to sweat on the sideline more than his players, was as much a part of his legend as wins and losses.
“I love Gary. What he has done for Maryland and for college basketball is remarkable,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He is one of the great coaches of all time. He is a coaches’ coach and an ultimate competitor. His retirement is a big loss for the ACC and for college basketball.”
Williams, 66, arrived at Maryland in 1989, when the program was still struggling under the weight of NCAA violations. The Terps endured two straight losing seasons before reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time under his direction in 1994.