Gary Williams is hanging it up after 22 years at Maryland and 33 years as a college basketball head coach. Now since this is a lunch blog that sometimes discusses Georgetown Basketball, you might wonder why this news matters. Well, Maryland's status has a direct impact on Georgetown Basketball. We compete with the Terps for local recruits and for local media coverage. The Maryland replacement will have an impact on the Hoyas, but it is yet to be seen whether it will be for the better or for the worse.
(More after the Jump)
- Short term - no matter who the Terps hire, they are going to be in trouble next year. You don't lose your head coach, your best player, and your best incoming recruits off of a team that failed to earn an NIT bid and not face a dark road ahead. Class of 2011 guards Sterling Gibbs and Nick Faust have both re-opened their commitments in light of this news.
- Long term - Maryland could ultimately become much stronger and more dangerous to Georgetown. Hiring the right coach could awaken a sleeping giant. Maryland is positioned in a recruiting hotbed and as a state school, has lots of money to throw around. They also have a state-of-the-art on-campus basketball facility.
So why hasn't Maryland been able to capitalize on the advantages afforded to them, you might ask? It pretty much boils down to Gary Williams. While many believe he is headed to the Hall of Fame, which is likely true, the fact remains that the recruiting game has passed him. Much like Thompson Jr. before he retired, Gary is old school. He refuses to play games, kiss up to kids, or chase them around the country. He believes that recruits should want to come play for him and he shouldn't have to expend energy wooing them. Recruits have constantly stated how they liked Maryland but Gary never showed them love. Gary would rather be on the golf course or hitting on co-eds while eating chicken wings than be out on the recruiting trail - not that there's anything wrong with that... unless you are supposed to be running a program.
A competent recruiter taking over the Maryland program could hamper Georgetown. We already have to battle out-of-state programs looking to poach players from the talented DC-area. It was nice to know we were the solid choice if a kid wanted to stay local. Georgetown has landed three of the last five DC All-Met Players of the Year. A good hire, especially one with local ties, would bring serious competition to Georgetown's doorstep.
That being said, it's not like Georgetown is doomed if Maryland is able to make a competent hire. There will still be plenty of talent to go around. JT3 has proven he can go up against heavy hitters and win. But it will be more difficult than going against Gary Williams where all JT3 had to do was actually show up and he was already in the lead.
Announcing his retirement now will make it very difficult for the Maryland Athletic Director to find a top notch replacement. The Coaching Carousel has already spun around a few times and has briefly come to a stop. All the names that people were looking at at the end of the season have either left for other jobs or signed big fat extensions. It's unclear how attractive a job at Maryland will be at this point in time. Many coaches are hesitant to jump into the ACC where people believe Duke and UNC run everything and get preferential treatment. At the very least, it's damn near impossible to compete with those two. It's viewed as a race for third place if you're at one of the other ACC programs.
One potentially good thing that could come out of this is that the main obstacle to a Georgetown v. Maryland series has been removed. So if you're in favor of the two teams playing each other it just got a lot more plausible.
It's certainly going to be interesting coaching search to follow and something that Hoya fans should keep an eye on. Gary Williams you will be missed, hopefully your replacement follows your local recruiting strategy.