COLLEGE PARK -- The University of Maryland is expected to announce today that it has come to terms with basketball coach Gary Williams on a new contract, sources familiar with the negotiations said last night.
The announcement likely will come at an early afternoon news conference scheduled for Cole Field House. The terms were not disclosed, but the deal likely will be more generous the one Williams was offered last month.
That deal was for seven years and included an annual $50,000 raise, as well as a $1 million term insurance policy. While this contract also is expected to run for seven years, it seems likely that the university has been able to come up with other financial incentives to keep the 49-year-old coach at his alma mater.
After taking a team picked to finish near the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference to an 18-12 record and a place in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament last season, Williams again is considered a hot commodity in the coaching business.
Aside from his team's strong finish last season, what prompted the university to begin contract negotiations was some interest in Williams by at least one pro team.
Before hiring Del Harris, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Jerry West mentioned Williams on his short list of possible college coaches capable of taking over that franchise last spring.
"It was never really serious," Williams said of West's interest.
But Williams certainly fits the profile of the kind of college coach NBA general managers might be interested in hiring.
One of Williams' good friends, P. J. Carlesimo, was lured away from Seton Hall last summer by the Portland Trail Blazers with a five-year, $7.5 million contract.
Williams reportedly is making around $450,000, which would make him the fifth-highest-paid coach in the ACC.
Maryland pays him a base annual salary of $138,500, with the other income being generated from a sneaker contract with Nike, a radio-and-television show and a summer camp.
Williams reportedly was seeking a 10-year deal that would include a $500,000 annuity paid when the contract expired. The university was reluctant to sign another coach to a long-term contract after having to pay off former basketball coaches Lefty Driesell and Bob Wade as well as former football coach Joe Krivak. Those buyouts contributed to the athletic department's current $7 million debt.
Asked after practice last night to comment on today's announcement, Williams said: "I can't say anything. That's part of the deal."
Don McCartney, Williams' Baltimore-based attorney, also declined comment. McCartney, who has represented Williams since he was coaching at American University (1979-1982), entered into the negotiations after another attorney, Robert Ades of Washington, was fired by Williams two weeks ago for making demands in the media.
Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow was unavailable for comment.
University president William E. Kirwan declined to comment, saying Yow "would speak for the university on the matter."
el,.3l Today's announcement ends nearly a month of negotiations between Williams and Maryland. Williams, who returned here from Ohio State in 1989, is going into a year when many have picked Maryland to challenge North Carolina at the top of the ACC.
"I want to get this done before Maui," Williams said recently, referring to the team's opening game Nov. 21 against Chaminade in the Maui Invitational.
Apparently, he has.
Gary Williams' five-year coaching record at Maryland:
Year ...... Overall ... ACC
1989-90 .... 19-14 .... 6-8
1990-91 .... 16-12 .... 5-9
1991-92 .... 14-15 .... 5-11
1992-93 .... 12-16 .... 2-14
1993-94 .... 18-12 .... 8-8
Total ...... 79-69 ... 16-50