The ACC sidelines, already looking unfamiliar after the coaching changes of the last two years, will get a little stranger as Gary Williams has announced he's leaving his job as the coach of Maryland. A press conference has been scheduled for one pm tomorrow, where hopefully more details will come to light, as the press release is pretty vague. Williams is quoted as saying "It's the right time," and then goes on to effusively praise the university and all who went there.
The years since Williams' 2002 NCAA championship have been rough, to say the least. His first recruiting class afterwards was a disaster for the next four years, with Chris McRay and John Gilchrist eventually leaving the team, and Travis Garrison picking up a felony assault charge during his tenure. Maryland never made past the second round of the NCAA tournament after 2003, and didn't put a player on the first team All-ACC again until 2010. During that stretch, George Mason made the Final Four with players recruited from the DC area, and Williams came under increasing pressure from the local media when he became outspoken about the underbelly of recruiting. He also clashed with the athletic director at the time Debbie Yow, who went as far as to accuse Williams of sabotaging the coaching search at her next job with N.C. State. (Williams has already blamed Yow for his loss of interest in coaching in post-announcement interviews.)
Williams was the oldest active coach in the ACC at 66, and the second-longest tenured behind Mike Krzyzewski. His departure leaves Roy Williams as the second oldest, third-longest tenured, and finally the only coach named Williams in the conference. Even Gary seemed annoyed at his longevity, saying:
I'm 66. Who is older than me in the business. Calhoun? Okay. Boeheim? He's spent his whole life in Syracuse; he doesn't know any better."
Williams will remain an assistant athletic director – mostly devoted to fundraising – and consult with Under Armour. The Terrapins appear to be targeting Jay Wright, Mike Brey or Sean Miller. Brey, of course, is a Krzyzewski protege and Sean Miller one of the coaches N.C. State coveted; the hiring of either is sure to cause fireworks across the ACC.