By Matt Vensel
4:30 PM EDT, May 5, 2011
UPDATE: Read the Baltimore Sun story on the retirement of Gary Williams
Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams is retiring, the school announced in an official press release Thursday afternoon. Williams, who spent 22 years at Maryland and coached his alma mater to a national title in 2002, said "it's the right time."
“It’s the right time,” Williams said in a statement. “My entire career has been an unbelievable blessing. I am fiercely proud of the program we have built here. I couldn’t have asked any more from my players, my assistant coaches, the great Maryland fans and this great university. Together, we did something very special here.”
Williams, who turned 66 in March, will say his goodbyes on Friday at a press conference at 1 p.m. in Comcast Center.
"Gary Williams is a legend,” Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “His accomplishments on the court have earned him a place among the elite in college basketball history. But Gary’s legacy here at Maryland goes far beyond basketball. From his philanthropic efforts to his tireless work with fans and alumni to his impact with our students, Gary has left an indelible mark of excellence on this university.”
Details are few and far between at the moment, but you can't help but wonder if Jordan Williams' decision to enter the NBA draft played at least a small role in Gary Williams walking away now, even though he told John Feinstein of The Washington Post that he considered retirement after the 2009-10 season.
"I started thinking about it last year after we tied Duke for the ACC title,” Williams told Feinstein. “I’ve been doing this a long time and I thought it might be time to do something else. After [Debbie] Yow left, I thought I might enjoy it more this year and I really did like working with Kevin Anderson. He’s a straight shooter. But I think I’d been worn down by the previous 15 years [with Yow]. It grinds on you."
Sure, the timing wasn't ideal. It puts the Terps behind the eight ball when it comes to finding a replacement. But whatever his reason, Williams has earned the right to walk away on his terms.
Enjoy your retirement, Gary.
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