Washington Post columnist Jason Reid wrote a column this morning titled "Gary Williams is Maryland Basketball, like it or not"
In it, Reid writes how the embattled coach has dealt with criticism over the last few years for not getting the Terps into the NCAA tournament annually like he used to or challenging for a national title. The article quotes coach Williams as saying that he doesn't cheat.
Well I for one am here to say I'm glad he doesn't. I don't care how many times the Terps don't make the NCAA tournament under Williams as long as they do things the right way. I get fired up when people say that Gary needs to recruit better. As Reid stated in his article, Gary is recruiting the same below the radar players that he always has. It's just that some have panned out and some have not. And with more one and done players in college basketball today, it's hard to get the lower level players he once did, because they can go to schools which wouldn't have given them the time of day ten years ago. And if Gary doesn't want to go after the one and dones more power to him.
Unlike some, I remember how close Maryland was to getting the death penalty in the early 1990's. I remember the loss of scholarships, ban from television and ban from not only the NCAA tournament, but the Atlantic Coast as well. And despite what the NCAA said, most of us felt at the time and still do that the penalties did not stem from what Maryland had done then, but from the stain the University supposedly left on college basketball after Len Bias' death in 1986. Five years earlier! I don't want to see Maryland basketball under any kind of scrutiny again, because of that.
Only one man could have saved the program then and it was Gary Williams. I told everyone it would take ten years and Maryland was in the Final Four in 2001. In my opinion, it does not happen without Gary as coach. And he did it the RIGHT way.
He's still doing it the right way, critics be damned. Sure the landscape of recruiting has changed. And maybe Gary has not changed with it. If it means breaking a rule he won't. That two year probation was hell on Gary and he remembers. He can't afford to take a chance on it happening again. We as fans have to remember that. And we as fans have to understand how lucky we are to have Gary as our coach. A Maryland man who understands Maryland basketball and its fans. And what the program has been through. For that alone he can coach the Terps for as long as he wants in my book.
Because there is no guarantee the next coach will be better.