Thanks to Seth Hoffman at TerpCenter.com for getting this up so quickly. I was unable to attend today’s press conference with Gary Williams and Debbie Yow because I am in for Programming Director Ray Bachman until he returns. Here are Debbie Yow’s statements….
“I just wanted to come in and say a couple things. One of them was: it’s still an emotional time for me as you might imagine but there are some of you in the room who were kind enough to send me a not of condolence on the loss of Kay and I appreciate it so much. And I appreciate Gary and the team wearing the cancer sign turned upside-down at the game Saturday night. I’m adjusting like any of you would be adjusting if you had lost a close family member so I have my good moments and I have my bad moments, but I’m having a pretty good day today. And it was nice, by the way, to comminute with you on something other than work. It was nice and I really appreciate the sentiments.
The other reason I’m here is I just–I would have done this on Friday at media availability if I hadn’t needed to be in North Carolina–I really want to lay to rest any of these crazy rumors that are floating around related to job security of coach Williams. He has my personal full support as he does from the department and from the university. He and I communicate regulary and a couple of things he’s communicated to me are pretty important. One of those is he’s very optimistic about the future, he’s very focused on recruiting–we all know that’s important. And he’s after it with as much enthusiasm and passion as I’ve seen in my 15 years. Our team is playing really hard. Saturday night’s victory was just terrific, I heard about the atmosphere in the building and I wish I could have been here, but we were on the drive back from the burial and I missed it. But I would have loved to been here for that.
His current contract which I believe–we’ve done this seven times–I think the current contract was 10 years. So we still have three and a half years on that contract and a one-year rollover option this year for going to the NCAA tournament. In addition to that, if we ever get to the place where it’s not enough and he needs more in recruiting, we’ll deal with it. He’ll tell me what he needs and we’ll take care of it then. So those are the two reasons I came in. Thank you for your kindnesses about Kay’s passing and also just wanted to settle any rumors that were out there. All I’m focused on is supporting him and supporting the staff and the team and winning more basketball games this year, which we’re going to do.”
Here is Gary Williams’ response:
It’s nice that she said those things. I’ve never felt threatened by anything. I know what I’ve done just this decade alone. Very few programs have done what we’ve done this decade. There’s probably three or four, maybe–Florida because they’ve won it twice, you can say UCLA even though they haven’t won a national championship this decade. Carolina, Duke, those two because they’ve won it this decade. But I’m secure in what I’ve done.
The last fifteen years the only two teams not to finish last in the regular season have been Maryland and North Carolina. This decade, [we’ve gone to] the Final Four, national championship, Sweet 16, losing to Michigan State on a Steve Blake jump shot to go to the Elite 8. ACC champions. Nineteen wins with Strawberry tearing his ACL, our best player. Nineteen wins with Chris McCray being ineligible the last 12, 13 games of the season, our leading scorer. Next year we won 26, I think that tied the sixth best mark in the school’s history, winning an NCAA game against Davidson. Losing to Butler, who gave Florida the best game that year in the NCAA tournament, the closest game to the eventual national champions, Florida. Then last year we won 19 and beat the No. 1 team in the country on their court. So that’s been this decade for Maryland, and I’ll compare that with anybody in the country. So I haven’t felt threatened at all, logically I think…
She’s the athletic director, she wanted to make a statement. That’s certainly her prerogative. But for me, I’m the coach, I’m the basketball coach here at Maryland. I get measured by a lot of things, and you get compared to other coaches around the country, so I think I’m in pretty good shape.”
As I’ve tried telling you; Gary Williams is going NOWHERE. Debbie Yow did the right thing by returning to College Park today and making a definite statement. The entire athletic department now must move forward in support of the coach and his attempts to bring in major recruits.