February 02, 2009

The Decline of Gary Williams and Maryland Basketball

I stumbled on an article in the Washington Post about Gary Williams and his feud with the athletic director. Anyway, it hadn't occurred to me that he was in some sort of real danger of losing his job, but why wouldn't he be in danger of losing his job??

Here are his last five years:

2004–2005 Maryland 19-13 7-9 T-6th NIT Semifinals
2005–2006 Maryland 19-13 8-8 6th NIT 1st Round
2006–2007 Maryland 25-9 10-6 T-3rd NCAA 2nd Round
2007–2008 Maryland 19-15 8-8 T-5th NIT 2nd Round
2008–2009 Maryland 13-7 3-4

Now I know Gary Williams is a legend at Maryland who resurrected that program in the 90s and won an NCAA title there. I like Gary Williams. He was a good coach at Ohio State before his Maryland days, and he's been a good coach at Maryland as well. If you look at his record, it would be surprising to hear that he's in any type of jeopardy. He's been to 2 Final Fours, he's the 3rd all-time winningest coach in the ACC, and he's been to 7 Sweet 16s. He was cranking out lottery picks left and right for a long time in the 90s and early part of this decade. He's the type of guy who should be winning and recruiting on reputation alone.

But his last five years have been mediocre at best. That's just not getting it done at a school like Maryland. It's the type of record that would get a lot of coaches fired in the ACC. They haven't really been a top 25-ish team in almost six years. That's the standard at Maryland from what I would guess. With their tradition, there's no reason to be down for a 6 year period. If you aren't winning, you are going to catch heat. And his team is not winning again this year at 3-4 in the ACC with a loss at home to Morgan State. That's the way the business goes.

The other problem for Williams has been recruiting. He was one of those guys who liked to find the diamonds in the rough like Juan Dixon, but you also need to get out and recruit some of the big boys. Maryland has a brand new arena and top notch facilities. There's no reason they can't bring in quality recruiting classes every year. Maryland didn't build that brand new arena to go to the NIT every year.

Look at some of the names that have come out of the Baltimore-Washington corridor in recent years:

Carmelo Anthony
Rudy Gay
Kevin Durant
Michael Beasley
DaJuan Summers

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. He didn't need to get all of those guys or even any of those guys, but you gotta get players if you want to win in college basketball.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting to see that Gary Williams could be in real jeopardy of losing his job soon. At one time, I would have thought Mike Brey would be the type of guy who could get considered for a job like that someday. Now I'm not so sure about that.

1 comment:

Mr. Jones said...

Gary and the Terps rallied back to earn Maryland's 13th trip to the NCAAs in the last 16 years, but what you've said it spot on. Maryland should apply more pressure to Gary, but that title earned him LOTS of clout; the 2004 ACC championship gave him more fodder.

It's widely known that Maryland AD Debbie Yow and Gary hate each other, but he has the donors in his pocket.