COLLEGE PARK -- The University of Maryland has offered basketball coach Gary Williams a new seven-year contract worth an estimated $500,000 a year -- an offer that is only marginally more than he is making now.
The offer came during an afternoon meeting yesterday between Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow and Rob Ades, a Washington attorney who is renegotiating Williams' contract. But while Ades said the meeting "went well," Yow didn't sound too optimistic.
"The information proposed by Mr. Ades is very different from what we offered," Yow said last night.
In other words: The two sides are very far apart.
Williams, who declined comment, currently makes an estimated $450,000 a year, with a base salary of $131,500 a year.
The additional income is generated from a shoe contract endorsement Williams has with Nike, as well as the coach's summer camp and radio and television shows.
According to those familiar with the new package, the extra $50,000 a year would not be added to his base salary, which is paid by the university, but would come from outside sources. The new package still would only make Williams the fourth- or fifth-highest paid coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"He'd be behind Dean [Smith], Mike [Krzyzewski] and Bobby [Cremins], and Pat [Kennedy] is right around there," said a source familiar with the pay structure of ACC coaches.
This is the second time since Williams came to Maryland from Ohio State in 1989 that the university has renegotiated his contract. Signed originally to a five-year deal, Williams was given a new five-year contract in 1991. That contract rolled over at the end of each season for an additional year.
"I respect the job Gary has done as our basketball coach and wanted to do something in recognition of his achievements," said Yow. "I have great respect for the obstacles he and his staff have overcome to reach this level of success."
Those obstacles were two years of NCAA sanctions, including a one-season television ban and a two-year ban from postseason competition. The penalties, which were handed down for violations committed during the three-year reign of former coach Bob Wade, went into effect after Williams' first season.
Williams is coming off his most successful year since returning to his alma mater.
The Terrapins, who were one of the youngest teams in the country with two freshmen and three sophomores in the starting lineup, finished 18-12 and made the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. It was the first time Maryland made the NCAA tournament in six years, and the first time the team advanced that far in nine years.
Maryland is now considered one of the top teams heading into the 1994-95 season. With sophomore center Joe Smith being recognized as one of the country's best players, the Terps are a consensus Top 25 team and have been picked as high as third by one preseason publication.
It isn't known whether Williams, 49, will accept the new contract, which also includes a $1 million term insurance policy, but those familiar with the situation said that Williams is seeking a 10-year contract that could be worth in excess of $700,000 a year and includes a six-figure annuity paid at the end of the deal.
"I hope he accepts this in the spirit in which it was offered," said Yow, alluding to the fact that the athletic department is a reported $6.8 million in debt. "At this point, it was a good-faith effort to show Coach Williams an appreciation of the job he has done."
When asked about the proposed deal last night after practice, Williams said, "I don't want to say anything until I talk to Debbie."