I hardly know Gary Williams at all, but I’ve had a few fun conversations with him over the years, mostly at Congressional Country Club. For the best question I ever asked him, click above. (The question was supplied by my boss, for the record.)
But for something more serious, let me go back to 2009, when we started talking about bandwagon fans.
I suggested that all fanbases are essentially bandwagon-based. Williams immediately disagreed.
“Not all fans bail out,” he said. “Your hard-core fans are there. And if I leave Maryland, they’ll root for the next [coach]. They’re Maryland fans. but they’re Maryland fans right away; they just believe in the school. And everybody’s gonna have opinions. Fans are certainly entitled, they play a lot of money for tickets, they’re certainly entitled to an opinion about the game. But when it’s all said and done, they’re still with you, they’re still behind you.”
Then we started talking about Duke fans living in D.C.
“I don’t mind the students, I don’t mind the people at the games,” Williams said. “But the people that live here in D.C. and say they’re a Duke fan? You know, what for? Because they win? If you’re a fan, you’re a fan. It’s not that your team has to win all the time for me to be a fan.”
The other thing I thought about was Gary Williams last fall, on the Junkies, discussing the 1-1 Redskins.
“You’re crushed any game you lose where you feel like you’re gonna win, you’re crushed, I don’t care what the sport is,” Williams said. “So it’s ok to be crushed, but today you’ve got to start looking forward to next week. Don’t be babies.”