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By Kyle Rowland firstname.lastname@example.org | 0 comments
The news of Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel’s resignation on Monday capped off an unprecedented era of corruption in big time intercollegiate athletics.
In just the past year, the Fiesta Bowl, Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun and Tennessee men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl, among others, have all come under fire.
The Fiesta Bowl, a Glendale, Ariz.-based bowl game, was guilty of making illegal campaign contributions to various politicians and spending lavishly on gifts to the game’s CEO.
Calhoun, who, ironically, led the Huskies to their third national championship in April, is suspended for the first three games of the 2011-12 season for recruiting violations.
Like Tressel, Pearl’s tenure ended unceremoniously, after he was fired in March for NCAA violations related to recruiting. Pearl, too, lied to the NCAA regarding the violations.
In this time of rampant cheating, the question that arises: Can a program achieve success by remaining clean?
All you have to do is look a couple hours down the road for the answer.
The 66-year-old retired earlier this month after 33 years as a head coach, the last 22 of which were at Maryland. He compiled a 461-252 record at the helm of the Terrapins.
For those who are mathematically challenged like me, that is a .647 winning percentage.
And, by the way, he won a national championship in 2002.
Also on his resume are 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, seven Sweet 16s and two Final Four berths. Maryland also won three Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season titles and the 2004 conference tournament.
The blue collar, gruff Williams accomplished all of that in the hoops-hotbed known as the ACC, among blue bloods Duke and North Carolina while running a squeaky clean program.
To put Williams’ success in perspective, you first must understand where the Terps were before he arrived in College Park in 1989.
Complete disarray would be a good way to describe it.
Mired in NCAA violations and the death of Len Bias, a cloud hung over the entire Maryland program.
However, Williams began winning almost immediately, and by the mid-90s, the Terps were consistently a force in college basketball.
Williams faced constant criticism throughout his years at Maryland, though, often related to missing out on high-profile recruits. Over time, his relationship with both the athletics department and fans became strained because of this, prompting Williams, in 2008, to say, “I’ve run a clean program for 20 years. Check my record. I coach here, I’ve got to live here. I’ve coached here for 20 years, long before anyone else was here. Nobody was here 20 years ago.”
In a time when coaches take athletes with shoddy pasts for the sake of winning, Williams recruited kids who were upstanding citizens and held themselves accountable.
And he still won.
College sports needs more Gary Williamses now more than ever.
Kyle Rowland is a sports reporter at the Cecil Whig.
Posted in Sports, Colleges on Monday, May 30, 2011 11:57 pm. Updated: 8:55 pm.
· June 2, 2011
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