…. And More Bad News For Maryland, Too

March 19, 2009 |

I rarely write companion pieces, but I think one of my previous blogs has created a stir that’s less than acceptable. So, it’s time for some clarification …..

With all due respect to Glenn Williams ….. umm, I mean Glenn Clark, I couldn’t really care whether Coach Gary gets another year tacked onto his contract. I don’t pay Gary’s salary and if a losing conference record earns an extension, God bless him.

Lets be blunt with each other, WINNING is the bottom line ….. even in NCAA competition. If you disagree and feel “graduation rates” and “special seat deals” are just as important, then welcome to your finished product.

But, you can bet on this ….. on Monday, April 6th, the nets are getting cut down and a huge trophy gets hoisted on the court, at Ford Field, in Detroit. And, I’ll betcha there will be no mention of schools that graduate their seniors. Cruel business, huh?

I don’t expect anything other than WINNING from Gary Williams. If he can’t compete with Duke and North Carolina, there is a guy waiting to try – somewhere. Fifteen months ago, nobody knew John Harbaugh’s name.

Different sport? Sure ….. but, everyone is replaceable. The University of Maryland basketball team is a “Boeing 747 of sorts” and they don’t NEED Gary to fly it. The school and team are bigger than the man, and they always will be.

Are you getting tired of the seasons of barely reaching 20 wins and a .500 record, in ACC competition? If not, there is no need to read any further. But, I simply think more should be demanded from a program with such deep resources.

Winning is contagious and it’s the primary reason the most sought-after recruits choose Duke, Carolina, Florida, Kansas and other schools over Maryland. These kids are watching the NCAA Tournament and they’re really watching as the teams dwindle down.

I’m not a Gary Williams detractor. And, I’m a Maryland fan. On Sunday, I listened with anticipation, as the seeds were revealed. I was driving along I-95, and pleading with my radio. Finally, the good news was shared.

But, it shouldn’t be this way …..

Maryland fans and supporters deserve a better fate than to sit on the edge of their sofa, every year, with hopes of their “bubble” landing in the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, the Duke and Carolina fans consistently see their teams earning top seeds.

Yes, I keep referring to Duke and Carolina. But, they’re Maryland’s obstacle in reaching ACC greatness, again. Duke and Carolina succeed where it really counts and I’m not talking about graduation rates. It’s big-time college sports – you gotta win.

A week from today, a likely scenario will be an actual observation and reality ….. Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams will be priming their teams for the Sweet-16 and Gary Williams’ season will be in mothballs. If this isn’t viewed as unacceptable, then it’ll be repeated, again and again.

Glenn Clark and I enjoy trading these barbs – we’re friends, and the friendly contention propels us. But, he has his beliefs and I have mine. I know he’s reading this, so I want him to honestly answer this question …..

“If Roy Williams endured a 6-year stretch of surpassing 20 wins ONCE and an 8-8 (or worse) ACC record, in 5 of the 6 seasons, do you think he would be getting an extension?”

The answer is not “No” – it’s HELL NO !!!! In fact, I’d bet every last thing I own that Roy Williams would no longer be the head coach at North Carolina, before he saw that 6th season. Why? The University of North Carolina demands more from its coach.

Over the past couple days, I’ve heard all kinds of excuses and I’m gonna cover a few of them …..

I actually heard “Maryland can’t compete with Duke and Carolina – the ACC Tournament is usually held in their backyard.” Well, tell me this ….. what happened when Maryland lost 10 other games outside the Great State of North Carolina?

I really liked this one ….. “Gary did his best with an undersized and lesser talented team, this year.” Really? Well, who built the FREAKING TEAM ??? With all due respect to Bill Parcells, is Gary buying the groceries ….. or is this someone else’s shopping list?

Recruiting can’t be easy and it probably takes some “hat in hand” ass-kissing along the way. We all know rules exist and promises are hard to make. A coach can’t promise cars, money or other lures. But, they can offer a winning tradition and lots of exposure on the big tube.

Look at it any way you desire – slice it, dice it, GINSU-knife it ….. Mike Krzyzewski can walk into a living room and guarantee a kid he’ll be part of a championship program. He can honestly say “son, you will compete for an NCAA title with me.” He wouldn’t be lying.

Meanwhile, Gary Williams can say “I’ll do my best to ensure you graduate.” If I was a parent in that room, I’d kindly say “Mr. Williams, we’ll take care of that …. can you ensure our son will play in the NCAA Tournament?”

This whole “graduation” business is bunk. Our country has the distinct honor of having 22 year-old men fighting on a foreign shore for our freedoms. And, our very communities are protected by 22 year-old law enforcement officers.

If Landon Milbourne, Dave Neal or Eric Hayes need Gary’s oversight or influence to graduate, they’re not ready for the REAL world. Graduating from college is squarely on their shoulders.

You know what cures Glenn Clark and Rex Snider from disagreeing? Yep, it’s one thing ….. WINNING. It cures everything. If Maryland wins 25 games and goes 10-6 in the ACC, they earn a 5th seed in the NCAA’s and everyone is happy, while chugging down icy cold Bud Lights at Dellarose’s.

The NCAA Tournament starts today, and teenage boys across this country – from French Lick, Indiana, to Wilmington, North Carolina, to Lansing, Michigan, will be watching the games with anticipation. Some of them will have pretty important decisions to make in a few years.

I wonder what gets their attention – graduation rates, seat deals or winning? I think we all know that answer …..