Something very special happened on June 13th, 1989. Gary Williams was officially introduced as head coach of the Maryland men's basketball team. They had just gone through a three year stretch with Bob Wade as coach, not only rough due to a poor team, but also because Wade's recruitment practices and player handling methods violated NCAA rules, landing Maryland heavy sanctions. They came as close to a death penalty as any major school has ever come (SMU excluded).
From this heap of chaos, an alumnus formerly coaching Ohio State emerged, and he not only resurrected the program, but took it to new heights, achievements never before experienced. He took a team from the deep depths of sanctions and, after a short four year rebuilding process, took them to eleven straight NCAA tournaments. The team has attended seven sweet sixteens since his hiring. He accomplished something not even the great Lefty Driesel could - he won an NCAA Championship.
The program has been through high highs and low lows, but Gary has somehow managed to experience the highest of highs with experiencing any lows that were too low. He's done a remarkable job and deserves the world for what he's done. There are plenty of doubters out there (I was one for awhile), but he's won me over again. Honestly, I feel stupid for ever wanting him out.
He remains one of the best big-game coaches in America, and he coaches with a passion and pride for the university matched by nary a coach across the country. I can't think of one person I'd rather have at the head of the program right now.
Thanks for the great 20 years, Gary.