Time For A New Terp In Town

Posted: May 6, 2011 by Bacon in Outside the Ville
Tags: , ,

Twenty-two years ago the University of Maryland fired head coach Bob Wade after just three seasons removed from replacing the legendary Lefty Driesell. Maryland would replace Wade that season with a former Terps point guard from the 60’s named Gary Williams.

Williams had just finished a successful three-year sting at Ohio State and his alma mater Maryland was facing sanctions and probation. That didn’t stop Williams from accepting the challenge though of returning glory to a program that had once been a power in the ACC in the 1970’s despite fading slightly before his arrival.

Williams wasted zero time turning Maryland around.  In his first year he took Maryland to the NIT with a respectable 19-14 record. The Terps had been 9-20 the year before under Wade. Behind the play of a great scoring sophomore named Walt Williams, Maryland seemed to be heading on the right track back.

Walt "Wizard" Williams

Maryland would return to the NCAA tournament in 1994, making the sweet sixteen. Starting an eleven year straight run of tournament appearances. Shattering the previous record of four straight tournament bids set by Driesell (1983-1986).

Maryland would ride that cinderella run in 1994 and turn it into a six-year stretch (1998-2003) where Williams teams won 21+ games each season including of course back-to-back final four appearances in 2001/2002. Winning the schools only National title in 2002.

That is where though the story book fairytale could take a dark turn. Maryland would return to the sweet sixteen in 2003 following winning the championship but it would be Williams last time going that far.

Recruits started sneaking out of the talent rich Baltimore area away from Maryland. Carmelo Anthony, who played high school basketball in Williams back yard left for the New York area and Syracuse and later on Kevin Durant would prefer to head to Austin, Texas rather than stay at home to play for the Terps.

In the eight seasons since his last sweet sixteen run and just one year removed from winning a national title, Williams and Maryland have been on a downward spiral. A spiral very similar to the one Louisville fans saw in the end of the Denny Crum days.

Between 2004 and 2011 seasons, Maryland would miss the tournament four times in eight seasons. Never getting past the second round in any of the four appearances and only surpassing the 20 win plateau three times.

Should the last 8 seasons of an overall proud twenty seasons over shadow the terrific job Gary Williams put together at his alma mater? Giving them their only two final fours and only national title in school history. Of course not but success can cause the temperature on a seat rise when the previous expectation are not met.

One thing is for certain though, thanks to Gary Williams Maryland is a consistent top 15 program in the nation and is a great job opportunity for whoever the school decides to bring in.

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