Steve Davis: Gary Williams’ Greatness
Gary Williams is going to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. This is a bigger deal than the attention it is getting because, for some reason, people don’t talk about the Basketball HOF like they do football and baseball.
He goes in with a class that includes Commissioner David Stern, Alonzo Mourning, Mitch Richmond and Nolan Richardson, who won a title and went to 3 Final Fours. Gary’s #’s are impressive. 11 straight NCAA’s, 2 Final Fours, a National Title, almost 700 wins, etc.
To me, however, is greatness is what he did at Maryland. He single-handley resurrected a program. This was a program in disarray, disgrace, turmoil, you name it, after Bias died, Lefty was ousted and Wade got them on probation. Gary left a great gig at Ohio State and rebuilt Maryland basketball. I am not sure very many people could have done it, or would have been committed to do it. 11 straight tourneys is phenomenal. (For selfish reasons, I think it was great, because I got to travel the country covering the Terps.)
It may not have ended as he liked, but I think it can be excused because he didn’t want to deal with garbage that goes into recruiting and AAU programs and all that. Gary was one of the great “game” coaches you will see. Rarely did you think that he lost the game. Now he is getting an amazing honor, the Hall of Fame.