The University of Maryland has announced that head men's basketball coach Gary Williams is retiring after 33 years, 22 of them in with the Terps.
Williams, who took over the job in Maryland when the Terps program was in complete disarray following NCAA sanctions and the death of Len Bias made the program one of the top performers in the ACC. Maryland went to back-to-back Final Fours in 2001 and 2002 winning the title over Indiana on their second trip.
UNC fans will best remember Gary Williams as the coach who somehow found a way to beat UNC no matter how good the Heels were. Maryland beat UNC in 2007, 2008 and 2009 despite the Heels being loaded with talent and outmatching the Terps. It was said of Williams that he did a better job of doing more with less than any coach in the ACC.
One can only speculate what prompted the decision to come now. You hope it is not health related but rather Williams wanted to take plenty of time after the season ended before deciding whether he wanted to return. Or the fact Jordan Williams is not returning caused Williams to think long and hard about whether he wanted to coach a struggling team in 2011-12.
As for finding another head coach, the timing is bad though Maryland should be considered one of the top jobs in the ACC after UNC and Duke. They have a passionate fan base and the DC/Maryland/Northern Virginia area is a hotbed for recruits. UNC's Kendall Marshall, Marcus Ginyard and Ty Lawson all came from that region. Duke's Nolan Smith was also a DC product. There are plenty of solid recruits to be had if Maryland can land the right guy. The question for Maryland AD Kevin Anderson is whether he should try to lure someone there now or ride the season out with an interim coach to do a more deliberate search next year.