Maryland to name court for Gary Williams

Baltimore Sun reporter

Maryland announced today that it is naming the Comcast Center basketball court for retired men's coach Gary Williams.

The plan cleared an important hurdle -- approval by University System of Maryland Chancellor William "Brit" Kirwan. The proposal was discussed in private last week by the Board of Regents, which didn't make a decision and forwarded the matter to Kirwan.

The plan had the public support of university president Wallace Loh and athletic director Kevin Anderson.

"I'm honored and humbled to receive this recognition," Williams said in a news release. "It's important to remember that the success we achieved at Maryland was a team effort and all the coaches, student-athletes and staff who were here are a big part of this. I'm very appreciative of the effort by Kevin Anderson, President Loh, Chancellor Kirwan and everyone else who has been a part of making this happen."

Williams was 461-252 at Maryland and won the 2002 national championship.

He will join other coaches who have been honored this way. There's a "Lute and Bobbi Olson Court" at Arizona. There's a "Bobby Cremins Court" at Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum. There's a "Coach K" court at Duke. And more.

"Gary is a respected alumnus, coach and leader in the college basketball community nationally," Anderson said in a statement. "His student-athletes are tremendously loyal, which speaks of Gary's care and support of those on his teams. One of the fiercest competitors to have coached, Gary has always felt a similar passion for his alma mater.

"Gary started his career as a high school teacher. It's fitting that we honor him with the naming of the Comcast Center court – a place where he achieved unparalleled success in his own classroom."

Maryland also intends to honor former men's basketball coach Lefty Driesell, who won 348 games in 18 seasons in College Park before being forced out following the 1986 death of star player Len Bias.

Driesell's supporters believe such recognition – raising a Comcast Center banner for Driesell is among the options under consideration -- is overdue.

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