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This article has been a long time coming, and I still haven’t fully gotten over the shock that was Gary Williams’ retirement. Coach Williams achieved so many things as head coach of his alma mater’s basketball team over 22 years. The program was in shambles when he took over from Bob Wade. The NCAA had placed sanctions on the team, Len Bias’s unfortunate death had cast a shadow over the program, and losing had become a tradition. Coach Williams pulled the Terps from the depths of the ACC to take them to 14 NCAA tournaments (11 straight), 7 Sweet Sixteens, 2 Final Fours, and one remarkable National Title. His method of recruiting was always criticized but the man made a living off of turning unheralded players in to great college players who could ball with the best in the ACC. The real shock will come at the start of the 2011 season when Coach Williams does not trot onto the court at Maryland with his trademark fist pump firing up the players.

I have been asked almost on a daily basis who is the new head coach of Maryland basketball. When I respond, I always hear a surprised, “Who!?” Yes, Mark Turgeon (Tur-sian) is the new head coach and while it is not a sexy name, with what had been floating out there during the whirlwind hiring process that lasted 3 days, it is a solid hire. I spoke with a buddy of mine who has run in the DI College coaching circles for a few years and he was adamant about Coach Turgeon being a quality hire by Maryland. Something my friend pointed out to me was how Coach Turgeon had success winning at every place he had been to, which is a good sign. The coach has also taken Texas A&M to 4 straight NCAA tournament berths and taken unheralded players and developed them into good players on a successful team in a strong conference. However, his style is not like Gary Williams’. Maryland Basketball is about to hit the brakes in terms of tempo. We will be heading from one of the fastest teams in the country to one of the slowest. But as Coach Turgeon said in his press conference, “My style is winning”. You gotta like that answer.

The future of Maryland basketball is going to be an interesting transition. While I will always miss seeing Coach Gary Williams pacing up and down the sideline I know his love for Maryland basketball will only help to push the program forward into the future. We’ll miss you Coach Williams!

 


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