Gary Williams Retires, Leaving 22-Year Maryland Basketball Legacy

Gary Williams was announced as the head coach of Maryland Terrapins basketball in 1989, just as the program was recovering from the 1986 death of superstar Len Bias. The death of the Boston Celtics' draftee forced coach Lefty Driesell out of College Park -- his successor, Bob Wade, produced two nine-win seasons in three years, so the Terps turned to Williams, who'd made the NCAA Tournament at three straight coaching stops: American, Boston College and Ohio State.

After an embarrassing 1990 DUI arrest, he posted two straight winning seasons in Maryland before soon beginning a run of tourney appearances that lasted over a decade and included the 2002 national championship, the only one in program history. Williams was responsible for six of the seven winningest seasons in Terps history. The two-time ACC Coach of the Year developed a particularly strong home court atmosphere, winning almost 82 percent of his home games.

The Terps have struggled (by their recent standards) since 2004, failing to make it past the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Williams' last venture into national headlines before retiring came in April 2011, when N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow accused him of tampering with the Wolfpack coaching search. The two have had a tempestuous relationship since Yow was Williams' boss at Maryland, where she publicly complained about his recruiting style -- Williams tended to favor less-heralded players -- and reportedly tried to fire him.

Thus far, Maryland fans don't seem all that torn up about his exit, at least as far as SB Nation's Backing The Pack goes. He'll likely be remembered as one of the last highly successful coaches from a dominant era of ACC basketball, whether he was beloved around the rest of the conference or not. He's the conference's third-winningest coach of all time, behind only Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith.

For more on Maryland sports, join Testudo Times and SB Nation DC.

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