Evidently, former Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow, who currently holds the same position at N.C. State, isn't terribly fond of Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams, and the feeling may well be mutual.
There has been no shortage of rumors over the years saying that Yow and Williams get along like Obama Democrats and Tea Party Republicans.
Yesterday, when announcing new basketball coach Mark Gottfried, Yow accused Williams of what the pros call “tampering.”
When asked if her reputation made it hard to hire a new coach, Yow said: "You guys, come on. I don’t have a reputation across all men’s basketball of being difficult to work with. I have a reputation of not getting along with Gary Williams, who has tried to sabotage the search. Come on. We all know that, OK? So, whatever. It’s not a reputation. It’s Gary Williams out there doing his thing. Whatever."
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"I haven't talked to anyone, coach or athletic director, connected to the NC State search," Williams countered. "I don't have any interest in the NC State search, since I'm coaching at Maryland and working hard to run our program. Anyone who says I've had contact with a prospective coach or athletic director regarding this search isn't being truthful."
Usually, if a rumor persists long enough, some truth is assigned. If Yow and Williams don’t get along, it would seem logical that Williams would say less than nice things about his former boss when queried by a buddy seeking the Wolfpack job. The college coaching fraternity is tight-knit, and if a candidate called Williams and asked his opinion, we wager after years of observation that he would be quite candid.
The latest flareup of the old feud is likely to increase the rumble in and around College Park. Hardcore, and frequently suffering from annual unrealistic expectations, fans and alums are concerned over the Terps' recent lack of success. Critics blame Williams' evident abhorrence of all things recruiting.
The other Williams in Chapel Hill doesn’t hesitate to get on a plane and go to a high school game midseason, but Maryland’s version is having none of that. Those tasks are apparently assigned to assistants, who in many cases are part of the coaching staff because of their recruiting talents and connections. This approach makes perfect sense to a point.
There is a story floating about that doesn’t reflect well on Williams’ recruiting style. According to Yahoo, when Kendall Marshall visited North Carolina, he was given a tour and had dinner with Ol ‘Roy. At Maryland, the Marshall men were given a blackboard presentation by an assistant in the locker room while Mrs. Marshall waited outside. They never met the head coach, prompting Marshall’s father to allegedly say something along the lines of, “Gary Williams wouldn’t know us if he sat next to us on a bus.”
True or not, Gary Williams needs to be more sensitive to this ongoing criticism. After winning the 2002 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship, the Terps have not been as successful as one might expect. While Williams has earned his tenured job security and remains one of the best coaches around, he needs to find a way to quiet the recruiting clamor that seemed to have started with his former A.D. and spread via the media/internet/blogosphere.
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