Maryland legend Gary Williams a finalist for Hall of Fame

As the Duke Blue Devils and Maryland Terrapins prepare for their last ever, regular season men's basketball game as ACC foes, former players and coaches revisit the two seasons that defined a heated rivalry. (Jonathan Forsythe, Tom LeGro and Gabe Silverman/The Washington Post)

Gary Williams, the legendary former Maryland men’s basketball coach who guided the program through a decade-long stretch of national prominence, was announced as a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Williams, who retired in 2011 after 33 years of coaching, is one of eight finalists chosen by the North American screening committee, having received at least seven of nine votes.  During his tenure in College Park, Williams led Maryland to 11 straight NCAA tournaments, two straight Final Fours and the national title in 2002.

“For all of his significant accomplishments, Gary deserves to be recognized along side the greatest contributors to the game of basketball,” Maryland Athletics Director Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “We are confident that all of Terp Nation will be able to celebrate with Gary in Springfield.”

Finalists need 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee to be elected into the Hall of Fame. The class of 2014 will be announced on April 7 in North Texas before the national championship game. The enshrinement will take place in Springfield, Mass., this summer.

“This is a tremendous and very well deserved honor,” said Coach Mark Turgeon, who succeeded Williams. “Gary’s record speaks for itself. He won a national championship and in my mind he is a Hall of Famer. This is a great day for Gary and the University of Maryland.”

Said former guard Juan Dixon: “I am so happy for Coach. He turned around a program and led us to a national championship. Coach is a great motivator, my mentor, teacher and most importantly a father figure. I know this is a dream come true and is very well deserved for someone who gave so much to the game of basketball.”

 The remaining finalists, courtesy of the Hall of Fame Web site, are below: 

Women’s Committee Finalists:

HARLEY REDIN [Coach] – Redin, compiled an overall women’s record of 431-66 (.867) capturing six AAU National Championships (1956, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1970, 1971). Leading Wayland Baptist to two undefeated women’s season (1956, 2957), 17 top five finishes and went 110-2 during his first four seasons at Wayland Baptist. He coached the Women’s US National Team in 1959, the 1971 Pan-American Games, and the 1963 World Tournament in Peru. Redin is also a member of the US Olympic Committee and the AAU Rules Committee. He was the recipient of the Jostens-Berenson Service Award by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association for his lifetime of service to women’s basketball (1992) and the recipient of the Naismith Award for Outstanding Contribution to the game of women’s basketball (2000). Redin was named #42 in Sports Illustrated 50 Greatest Sports Figure from Texas.

IMMACULATA UNIVERSITY [Team] – Coached by Hall of Famer Cathy Rush, Immaculata University won three straight AIAW National Championships (1972-74), compiling an overall record of 60-2 in three seasons. They were the first women’s college team to play in a nationally televised game, play at Madison Square Garden and to play in Australia. The roster included some of the nation’s best women’s basketball players including: Theresa Shank, who was a three-time All American recording 1,167 points and 952 rebounds in her career, Marianne Crawford, who was a two-time Kodak All- America also recording 747 points and 544 assists and Mary Scharff, who was a Kodak All-American recording 1,235 points and 583 rebounds in her career. All three ladies were inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

North American Committee Finalists:

TIM HARDAWAY [Player] – A 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist, Hardaway played 13 NBA seasons scoring a total of 15,373 points while averaging more than 20 points per game for four consecutive seasons.  He is the 1990 recipient of the Jack McMahon Award for most inspirational player and a 1993 All-NBA Third Team member.  He currently ranks thirteenth in NBA history with 7,095 career assists and 1,542 career three-point field goals.  The Chicago, Ill. native was a member of the men’s basketball at the University of Texas at El Paso (1985-1989) and played in the NBA from 1989-2003.  He is known for making his signature move – the “UTEP Two-step” – famous in 1989, the same year he was named WAC Player of the Year.

SPENCER HAYWOOD [Player] – Haywood joined the ABA in 1969 and then went on to play for 12 years in the NBA (1970-1983), where he scored 14,592 points, had 7,038 rebounds and won a National Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980.  He is a four-time NBA All-Star (1972-1975) and two-time All-NBA First Team member (1973, 1974).  Haywood was the leading scorer on the 1968 gold medal United States Olympic team.  During his time with the ABA’s Denver Nuggets, he was named ABA Rookie of the Year and ABA All Star Game MVP.  He holds ABA single season records for most minutes played (3,808), most field goals made (986), most rebounds (1,637) and highest rebounding average (19.5).  At the University of Detroit, he received a unanimous First Team All-America selection in 1969.

KEVIN JOHNSON [Player] – Johnson is the first player to have his jersey retired at the University of California.  After playing for Cal from 1983-1987 he played for 12 years in the NBA and holds the NBA Finals single-game record for most minutes played with 62.  Johnson is the first player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 10 assists, a .500 field goal percentage and two steals per game for an entire season.  In 1989, he earned the NBA Most Improved Player award.  The three-time NBA All-Star (1990, 1991, 1994) is also an All-NBA Second Team member (1989, 1990, 1991, 1994) and an All-NBA Third Team member (1992).  Now the mayor of his hometown of Sacramento, CA, Johnson was a major advocate of keeping the Sacramento Kings NBA team in the city when it was at high risk of moving.

ALONZO MOURNING [Player] – Mourning was a seven-time NBA All-Star (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002) and a member of the Miami Heat NBA Championship team in 2006.  He is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1999, 2000) and a two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member (1999, 2000).  He led the NBA in blocked shots (1998-99, 1999-2000) and blocks per game (1998-99, 1999-2000) and earned an NBA All Rookie Team recognition in 1993.  The Chesapeake, Virginia native attended Georgetown University (1988-1992) and played in the NBA from 1993 until 2008 and the all-time leader in blocks for the Miami Heat with 1,625.

NOLAN RICHARDSON [Coach] – The 1994 Naismith and NABC Coach of the Year, Richardson led the University of Arkansas to the 1994 National Championship and to three Final Four appearances (1990, 1994, 1995).  Richardson is an enshrinee in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.  He was the 1998 SEC Coach of the Year and led Tulsa to an NIT championship in 1981 and Western Texas to a NJCCA national championship in 1980.  Richardson compiled a collegiate coaching record of 509-207 (.711).

MITCH RICHMOND [Player] – A six-time NBA All-Star, Richmond is a 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist, 1988 Olympic Bronze Medalist and won the 2002 NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.  At the beginning of his NBA career he became a part of the Golden State Warriors’ famous “RUN TMC” attack.  Richmond is the 1995 NBA All-Star Game MVP, the 1989 NBA Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-NBA Third Team member (1996, 1998).  He scored 20,497 points and averaged more than 21 points per game for ten consecuive seasons in the NBA.  At Kansas State University, he averaged 20.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game and was UPI, The Sporting News and USBWA Second Team All-America in 1988.

EDDIE SUTTON [Coach] – The four-time National Coach of the Year (1977, 1978, 1986, 1995) and eight-time Conference Coach of the Year (1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1993, 1998, 2004) is the first coach in NCAA history to lead four different schools in the NCAA Tournament.  Sutton currently ranks eighth among Division I coaches in all-time victories and has recorded only one losing season in 37 years of coaching (1989).  He coached Oklahoma State University from 1991-2006 and ties the conference record for wins by a first-year coach with 24.  He guided his teams to three Final Fours, six Elite Eights and 12 Sweet Sixteens.

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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