Post reporter Josh Barr, who covered Maryland athletics and Gary Williams’s teams for five seasons between 1997 and 2003, hosted a live discussion just after Williams’s news conference this afternoon. Here are a few highlights from the chat:
Q. Dick Vitate just said Tubby Smith should be hired at UMD, what do you think of him?
A.Tubby obviously has a great resume and he is a Maryland native. But I think Maryland is going to skew younger here.
Q. You cover high school sports, are the AAU and high school guys in the minority here about being happy Gary is leaving? They seem to be the only group of people who did not like Gary because he wouldn’t kiss their butts. I’m thinking of Curtis Malone, who The Post has written about, Mike Jones at DeMatha and other guys who have never sent a player to play for Gary.
A.I don’t think any coaches are happy that Gary is leaving. Even if they haven’t sent players to Maryland, they are happy with where their players have gone. Will (more of) their players now go to Maryland? That remains to be seen; will be very interesting with all of the top local players coming up -- Justin Anderson, Jerami Grant, BeeJay Anya. Will Arnaud Adala Moto now be back in consideration? Remains to be seen.
Q. How sad was this day for beat writers who covered the team for so long and got to know Gary probably better than any of us fans?
A.It’s not sad. It brings back a lot of memories from back in the day. Seeing some guys here and seeing what others have written/tweeted, I think it’s safe to say we all enjoyed covering the beat. What I liked most was that I always knew where I stood -- good guy of the day, bad guy of the week -- and why. There were few surprises, if any. I also had the benefit of covering the team for The Post, which meant that I always could count on getting a call back.
Gary loved the give and take. He expected you to watch other ACC games and be able to discuss those teams when he did interviews the next day. Sure, he was defensive (consider the 2002 Sweet 16 weekend where all I heard from him was “yellow journalism” after co-workers wrote a story about the team’s poor graduation rates), but he enjoyed the give and take and banter with the media. It’s probably why he has been good on TV and I expect him to continue being on TV this season.