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Not Time for Gary to Go

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Has this team struggled? Yes. Are their some things that need to be fixed? Yes.  But does that mean Gary Williams should be fired? 100% no.  Who would you replace him with? Were are you going to find another coach? They guy brought your school a National Title, back to back Final 4's, and ACC Tournament title. There have been several things that have gone wrong for this Program in the last 5 or so years and yes, if they don't change and adjust, they're going to keep falling.

Listen, I know people are frustrated. I'm frustrated. But firing Gary Williams would set this team back 3 years, minimum. We'd likely endure a few seasons where we're the last team in the ACC,  as Vasquez would likely leave early, a number of other players would likely transfer, and our two incoming big men might ask to be released from their letter of intent. On top of that,  you might have to re-establish recruiting trails with new coaches, unless someone like Chuck Driesell was promoted, which could change a lot of the above. 

Part of Gary's problem stems from no long-term assistant coaches, who begin building relationships with some of these kids in middle school.  That's why the NCAA recently reclassified a prospective recruit as someone as young as a 7th grader because that limits some of these coaches who pushed the envelope and were talking to some of these kids at that age. MD's best run came when we had coaches here for a long time, like Pathos and Dickerson.

You also have coaches like Jim Calhoun up at UConn, who push the NCAA's recruiting envelope and get his UConn team to play a scrimmage against Rudy Gay's AAU team in order to get Gay to come to UConn, even though he originally was going to MD to play along side Wil Bowers. Gary, for better or worse, won't do that.

Bottom line is this - despite all of the things that have happened on the recruiting trail, Gary needs to stop pointing the finger and blaming other people. It is what it is and he has to deal with it. Gary's MO since coming to UMD has been developing players and if you want to knock him for anything, that should be where people's concern should lie. You've seen some development in the guards, especially Bowie and Mosley, and some with Gregory, but Dupree hasn't advanced, and Hayes I think has regressed/hasn't been the same since he hurt his ankle last year.

If this team could learn to play defense for 40 minutes rather than 20, we'd be fine. Gary needs to figure this one out and I think it's something that is hounding him right now.  Are his players losing steam in the second half? Are they having trouble hearing the coaches at the other end of the court?

If Gary does want to survive though, he's going to have to change some things, including some coaching and coaching strategy. The Terps need to be able to beat a zone defense, as our perimeter shooting this year has been poor. Gary should probably change his starting 5, putting Hayes and Neal on the bench and inserting Mosley and Gregory into their place. Hayes can back up Bowie at the point and Neal's role in ACC play should be as a #7 guy off the bench, giving Gregory or Milbourne a breather when needed. I think everyone likes Dave Neal, but he's not the guy who should be banging around inside against other ACC big men. That's not Neal's position nor is it his strength.

If this team wants to right the ship, it has to start Saturday against Miami. If they can get past the Hurricanes, they still have some hope. But I think regardless of what happens this season, you have to give Gary 2010. If that season becomes a failure, then I think you talk about Gary's time in College Park being up.

There is also a lot going on behind the scenes with Gary and the Athletic Department.  There clearly is little to no communication between the two departments and that is going to half to change and soon.