Ahead of the second-season premiere Monday night of “A Taste of Coaching” on the Big Ten Network, the longtime Terps coach spoke with Sporting News about his time in College Park. The Detroit Free Press also reviewed this season's first episode, which features former Iowa coach Tom Davis and former Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote.
Here are a couple of takeaways:
1. Williams was "really tired" when he got out of coaching
"I don’t know if there’s ever a right time" to retire, he told Sporting News. "I was really tired. I wasn’t feeling particularly well when I got out. Maryland was a job … there’s a lot of ups and downs there, and I don’t want to get into reasons why, but there were just things that made it an inconsistent job. I had to work very hard because I was in a good league, and you were always measured on what Carolina and what Duke did."
Williams was 66 when he retired in May 2011. He had spent 22 seasons at Maryland, making the NCAA tournament in 2009 and 2010 before missing the postseason altogether in 2011 and losing sophomore Jordan Williams to the NBA draft. The next season's team, Mark Turgeon's first in College Park, also played its last game in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. So, yes, there wasn't a lot to feel well about.
"It was very difficult to go after" North Carolina and Duke, Williams said. "So I got tired. If they’d give you a sabbatical — coaches don’t get a sabbatical — probably six months after I got out, I felt healthy. I felt good."
2. Williams is Turgeon's "biggest booster"
Williams swears he is not like that older sibling who secretly wishes a bad-hair day on a younger sibling at their graduation/wedding/movie premiere because, darn it, they should know their place in the family's pecking order, OK.
Williams had Turgeon's back when the Terps were handed a No. 4 seed in Kentucky's bracket in the NCAA tournament last season. And Turgeon at one point got choked up during Williams' Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction.
"I played there. I coached there for 22 years. That’s my school," Williams told Sporting News. "There’s some people out there that think, 'You’re jealous of Mark’s success.' No, I’m his biggest booster because I know the job; I know what he’s done."
3. Williams' last NCAA tournament game is still a total bummer
Trigger warning for Maryland fans: This section mentions the 2010 NCAA tournament.
After the Greivis Vasquez-led Terps handled Houston in the opening round, they faced fifth-seeded Michigan State. Earlier, Northern Iowa and Ali Farokhmanesh had upset top-seeded Kansas. The path to a possible Elite Eight berth was about to get easier ... provided Maryland could get past the Spartans.
It couldn't. Vasquez was heroic in getting the Terps past a horrific start, but after a go-ahead runner in the lane with seconds left, Draymond Green passed to Korie Lucious. Delvon Roe ducked just in time. Lucious gave a shoulder fake, took one dribble and delivered the dagger. The Spartans would reach the Final Four.
“I’ve never really gotten over that game,” Williams said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “I don’t mind admitting that.”
Said Heathcote: “You should have told that guy not to duck.”