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Maryland names Gary Williams to senior role

In another move by a university that hasn't had many missteps lately, the University of Maryland announced today that it had named Gary Williams to the position of Senior Managing Director for Alumni Relations and Athletic Relations.

Jim Rogash

First they hired Steve Aird to coach volleyball. Then they won a national championship in women's lacrosse. Then they brought back Courtney Scott to coach softball. Wednesday, in yet another smart move, the University of Maryland elevated Gary Williams to Senior Managing Director for Alumni Relations and Athletic Development - a title that took me nearly as long to type as Williams coaching tenure at Maryland.

Nominally, Williams will be responsible for overseeing the fundraising operation that raises over $8 million annually for student athlete scholarships and operates the Terrapin Club Scholarship Fund. More practically, the Naismith Hall of Fame coach will be increasing the engagement of the alumni as Maryland looks to expand and upgrade its athletic facilities. "Ultimately, I think my job is about building Maryland pride," Williams said. "In other words, our move to the Big Ten, the research that we do here, the students that study here, there's a lot to be proud of. I think I can make a positive difference and I'm excited to get to work." (Ed. Note: In the official quote, Willimas is not cited as saying "In other words" but it felt Gary like to put it in.)

A 1968 Maryland graduate with a degree in business administration, Williams returned after stints at American University, Boston College, and Ohio State to coach his alma mater's basketball program from its darkest days to the 2002  National Championship. "There is no better person who represents our university than Gary Williams," Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson said. "When the opportunity presented itself to add Gary to our leadership team, we were eager to offer him this position to spearhead our fundraising efforts for scholarships and capital improvements. As a student athlete, coach, and ambassador with the Terrapins over the past five decades, Gary represents our 'Proud Past' and will be instrumental as we welcome the 'Fearless Future' era at the University of Maryland," he added.

Williams will also work to help manage the University's new regional development plan in Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York City, and South Florida with a focus on increasing the level to which the University's 320,000 alumni engage with and donate to their alma mater. University President Wallace D. Loh said, "This is an exciting moment in the history of the University of Maryland. I like to think of Gary Williams as our new head coach of athletic fundraising and alumni outreach. And I'm confident he will have the same level of success off the court as he had on it."

The Maryland Alumni Association was founded in 1989. Coincidentally, that's the same year Williams returned to become Maryland's head basketball coach. As the Association celebrates its 25th anniversary, it will have Gary Williams working to integrate campus wide alumni outreach while serving as its spokesperson. "I can think of no better ambassador for our 25th anniversary and help us grow the community of Terps around the globe," said Nicole Pollard, President of the UMD Alumni Association.

When Maryland's basketball program needed rescuing, Gary Williams rode into Maryland Madness on his Harley. The climb for Maryland's athletic department's efforts to build facilities befitting a Big Ten program may not be as steep but no one Maryland could have hired will be met with more enthusiasm.