COLLEGE PARK, MD - MAY 6: University of Maryland basketball coach Gary WIlliams speaks while announcing his retirement on May 6, 2011 at the Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
We've been on the "name the court after Gary Williams already" bandwagon for quite some time, and when the proposal to do so was made at Gary's retirement, all seemed right with the world. But it looks like the campaign is hitting some roadblocks:
Those who question putting Williams' name on the court appear to be a small but potent minority. They argue that such a move could be unfair to other such as the retired coach Lefty Driesell, who was 348-159 in 18 Maryland seasons, and current women's basketball coach Brenda Frese, who - like Williams - won a national championship. Some say Maryland, eager for more athletic revenue in this difficult economy, should sell the court's naming rights to a corporate sponsor.
The Frese comment is almost surely a joke (even Auriemma doesn't have that), and while the money concern is legitimate, I'm not sure selling off the court is the right way to do it. Maryland needs dough, but "Under Armour Court at the Comcast Center" is a little busy and very desperate/commercial whore-ish.
But the Lefty concerns have a point. Lefty did near as much for the program as Gary did, and it's arguable that without Lefty, Gary doesn't achieve what he ultimately did. I know the popular response here is going to be "But Lefty didn't a national championship", and that's true, but it's a little misleading. Lefty was in a different era. Remember that if Gary was playing with the same rules Lefty did, he wouldn't have even been in the NCAA Tournament in 2001-02. Apples to oranges, and whatnot.
Apparently, some of the Lefty supporters feel like Driesell got booted out unceremoniously, and of course he did. While it might've been understandable at the time, they're right that he hasn't gotten his just due from the program. As I understand it, it doesn't appear that they want the court to be named after Driesell instead, but simply that naming it after Williams without acknowledging Driesell would be another slight, and ignoring an influential member of Terrapin history.
And they're probably right. It might be a little petty, but Driesell needs to be honored yesterday. Gary does, as well, and in truth probably deserves the court. Really, they both need something, even if it isn't the court. Get some statues in front of the Comcast Center, or a banner, or something and do it stat.