Well, it's official: when the Maryland Terrapins take the floor at the Comcast Center against the Florida International Panthers on December 14, they'll be playing on Gary Williams Court (or something similar). The news, which was broken earlier today by Jeff Barker, was just confirmed by the Terrapins' athletic department in a press release.
The floor of the basketball court at Comcast Center will be named in honor of Gary Williams, former head men's basketball coach. The dedication will take place in a formal ceremony on December 9, 2011. [...]
"Gary has been a faithful alumnus, a highly successful and iconic figure in men's college basketball across the nation, a fierce competitor, and a tireless fundraiser on behalf of student scholarships," said Loh. "He has been the face of Maryland men's basketball for more than 22 years. Gary led the Terps out of historic Cole Field House into the Comcast Center. I can think of no better way to recognize his success and his contributions to the University of Maryland than by naming the floor of the basketball court in Comcast Center in his honor."
It's good news: I think most people will agree that Gary has done enough for the program - including winning its only national championship - to warrant such an honor. He's a huge part of the team, and obviously gave his heart and soul into it, rebuilding the Terrapins from what could've been program-crippling sanctions back into the one of the nation's premier programs. As Andy Katz said: he made two Final Four appearances, won a national title, and didn't suffer a scandal, as both of his predecessors did. Throw in alumnus status, and it's easy.
As several people have noted, the dedication date of Dec. 9 is odd. It isn't in time for the Terrapins' biggest home out-of-conference game against Illinois, and, in fact, there's no game on the 9th at all. Just strange.
Regardless, good on the university and good for Gary. It's easy to make an argument against it, but I'm assuming most will be in favor of honoring the program's most accomplished coach and the university's most recognizable face. I know I am. Now, though, the focus should probably change to honoring Lefty, which is on the way, as well. Statue, anyone?