Not surprisingly, reaction to the news of Gary Williams’ retirement as Maryland’s men’s basketball coach came from far and wide. Here are some samples.
Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski: “I love Gary. What he has done for Maryland and for college basketball is remarkable. He is one of the great coaches of all-time. He is a coaches’ coach and an ultimate competitor. His retirement is a big loss for the ACC and for college basketball.”
ACC Commissioner John Swofford: “Gary has been an iconic figure in the ACC,” conference commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “His resurrection of the Maryland program to national championship status was huge, not only for the University of Maryland, but the Atlantic Coast Conference as well. His long term consistent success is what I admire the most about Gary. His accomplishments are of Hall of Fame caliber.”
Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson: “Gary Williams is a legend. His accomplishments on the court have earned him a place among the elite in college basketball history. But Gary’s legacy here at Maryland goes far beyond basketball. From his philanthropic efforts to his tireless work with fans and alumni to his impact with our students, Gary has left an indelible mark of excellence on this university.”
N.C. State Athletic Director Debbie Yow: “Gary is one of the best X-and-O coaches in college basketball. He will be greatly missed by Terps everywhere. I trust that he will be selected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame soon. Also, his name should be on the Comcast Center floor, as was proposed a year ago.”
Loyola Coach Jimmy Patsos, a former Williams assistant: “What Gary did at Maryland was amazing for the basketball program, the university, but most of all for the players who he coached. I would not be a head coach if not for Gary, and there are a lot of NBA players who would not be in the league if not for him.
“I think what epitomizes Gary as a coach is to look at the NBA playoffs now and see Steve Blake [of the Los Angeles Lakers] and Greivis Vasquez [of the Memphis Grizzlies]. A lot of people never expected them to be great players, even in college, but through Gary’s coaching, they became All-Americans at Maryland and great NBA players.”
Ohio State assistant Dave Dickerson, another former Williams assistant: “I have never been around a person with a passion for the coaching profession, a passion for a university as Gary had. He loved to teach, he loved to coach and he loved the game of basketball. And his next love was the University of Maryland. Now being at Ohio State and knowing what the people thought of him here, and to coach with him for nine years at Maryland, I think his lasting legacy will be his passion for the game and his passion for the University of Maryland.
“Gary coaches with a lot of passion, and if the passion is not there, especially in his case, he is definitely doing the right thing. If the passion is not there to go through summer recruiting and another season, I trust his decision and I always have. I’m excited for him. I can’t wait to be at the induction ceremony at the Hall of Fame.
“He has been a head coach for over 36 years and his accomplishments speak for itself. To see him go out on his own accord, I think it’s a good thing.”
“Knowing Coach, he took his time and came to the decision that he could live with. When you are Gary Williams and you have accomplished what you have accomplished in the last 35 years of coaching, he has earned that [to take his time before making a decision]. The timing is not the issue. He made the best decision for himself and for the university. The passion he has for the university of Maryland and the passion he has for the players and coaches and supporters of Maryland, he did what he felt was right, which was very commendable.”
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley: “I’d like to thank Gary Williams for over 20 years of dedication to the University of Maryland, College Park men’s basketball team and for his devotion to his alma mater. Gary’s leadership and outstanding coaching and recruiting abilities have developed the talents and skills of some of today’s best athletes, and helped them to become great professionals and individuals with confidence and character – on and off the court.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.): “Since 1989, Gary Williams has done an exceptional job as the Head Coach of the University of Maryland men’s basketball team, leading the alma mater we both know and love to a position of national prominence.
“Throughout his career at UMD, Coach Williams has led his team to Fourteen NCAA tournament appearances, three Atlantic Coast Conference regular season titles, one Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship title, seven Sweet Sixteen appearances, two Elite Eights, two Final Fours and the National Championship. His outstanding record also includes recognition as the National Coach of the Year in 2002, and the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2010.
“I want to congratulate Coach Williams on an extraordinary career, and I wish him the very best. His leadership both on and off the court will be sorely missed.”