About a year after Maryland moved into Comcast Center, Gary Williams went back inside Cole Field House by himself. He just wanted to look around.
“It was hard to go in, to tell you the truth,” he said on Friday. “Nobody knew I went in there. So many memories — great memories. We beat six number one teams in the country in Cole.”
The coach thinks he was inside the classic building one more time since that solo visit. But now he plans to go back. Williams — who has given Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon a remarkably wide berth since retiring in May of 2011 — said he will be at Cole for Maryland Madness on Oct. 18, when the Terps re-enter their storied on-campus home.
“I’m gonna go,” Williams said Friday. “This is Cole Field House. It’s special. This is Lefty Driesell, Bud Millikan, all the great players that played there. That’s what this is about.”
In fact, Williams said he had tried to hold some sort of similar event inside Cole for years, but was told by administrators that it couldn’t be done.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “I felt right away that Cole shouldn’t be forgotten; not just because that’s where we played but because of the history of that building. Very few on-campus buildings have that history. I tried to get that done and it didn’t happen, but I’m just glad it’s getting done now….
“A lot of the students, they’ve never been in Cole, they haven’t seen Cole,” he later said. “Comcast Center is necessary; you had to go that way. Cole was old; there was asbestos, no air-conditioning, no restrooms. But to play a basketball game there, it’s incredible. You can’t build places like that anymore. That’ll be a good night.”
(The Sun wrote about this first.)