After John Feinstein publicly campaigned for Gary Williams to get the (technically still occupied) Wizards head coaching job, many readers scoffed.
“Gary Williams would never want to coach the Wizards,” they said, scoffingly. “What piffle.”
I’m paraphrasing, of course. But if they didn’t say that, they should have.
Anyhow, to those scoffers, let me refer you to this dialog from Mike Wise’s radio show on 106.7 The Fan Thursday afternoon. The discussion was about whether Gary Williams would coach in the NBA.
Co-host Chris Johnson: “I think Gary Williams wants the Wizards job, and only the Wizards job.”
Feinstein: “Yes. He does. I wouldn’t have written the column if he didn’t want the job. It would have been pointless. I mean, why write a column saying they should hire somebody if the person’s not interested in the job?”
Johnson: “So he told you he wanted the job?”
Feinstein: “Yes. Yes. Yes. I asked him the question, I said would you take the job. The answer was yes.”
Ahoy there. That’s news. News-ish, anyhow.
More from Feinstein:
“The point I made in the column, I think the exact words were Randy Wittman has a roster full of deuces in a league where you need aces. And it’s not his fault, it’s more Leonsis’s and Ernie Grunfeld’s fault that they are where they are and that they have the team that they have. Randy just kind of got thrown into the middle. I think he’s a good man and a good coach….
“But my point was, when you’re this bad, it’s time to just blow the whole thing up. Give him another job in the organization. If he wants to stick around as an assistant under Gary, that would probably be great, because it’d be good for Gary to have someone who’s had NBA coaching experience there with him. I think they gave him a two-year deal, so they’re gonna have to pay him for two more years anyway…
“I think you need Ed Tapscott there, because he knows Gary so well, and he’d be a good right-hand man for Gary. And by the way, there are people out there who think Ed was the source of this story. He wasn’t. I never spoke to him about it before it came out, just for the record. Gary’s the source. Well, really, I’m the source, because I started it by asking the question. It’s not like Gary called me up and said Hey, I’d like the Wizards job, why don’t you write a column. As we often do, we were discussing basketball, and the subject of the Wizards came up and how bad they are. And Gary was talking about the team. I said Hey, would you take the job? He said yes. I was surprised… He just said, yes.”
Now, as it turns out, Williams was also on local radio this week, discussing the Wizards season with Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban on ESPN 980’s Sports Reporters.
“All right, enough [messing] around, would you coach this team if asked?” Czaban finally asked.
“Heh,” Williams said, approximately. “I think Randy Wittman is in a situation where he’s working as hard as he can, and he’s doing whatever he thinks is the best for that team. If [Tuesday] night’s any indication, then you go from here. Believe me, 15 games in an NBA schedule is way too few games to get a sample, because they don’t even have their best player. You know, John Wall hasn’t played yet.
“So there’s a long way to go before there should be any speculation about who’s going to be the next coach or whatever. But I coached in high school and I coached in college, and in an ideal situation, you look at it, sure. I mean, you can never say that you wouldn’t look at it. But I’m not in a position to say anything or to make any call, because like I said, you haven’t seen the real Wizards team yet.”
“That’s a definitive walk-around,” Czaban later observed.
“Thank you,” Williams said.
“Yeah, well done,” Czaban said.
“I got that from RGIII,” Williams countered.