Crowing for Gary - NBC4 Washington

Crowing for Gary

Terps rally around their coach

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Relax! Gary's in control.

    There's plenty of crow being eaten tonight in Maryland.  If you ask nicely, Gary Williams might even be willing to serve it personally.

    In a season of turmoil, and in a season where even the NIT looked like it might have been a stretch, the Terps earned a 10-seed in the NCAA tourney.  And Terps fans have Gary to thank.

    Part of the appeal of Gary is that he constantly appears to be fighting.  In-game, you can practically see his guts twist in knots.  In HD, you can even see the vein in his temple throb in time with the shot clock.

    Nothing comes easy for him.

    He's a battler.  And this season, he battled harder than ever before.

    Some of it's his own doing.  He's never been an elite recruiter, in part, because he seems unwilling to deal with all the shady crap that some other coaches do.

    For good and bad, that's just what Gary does.

    This season, it was mostly bad.  An early January loss to Morgan State -- does hindsight make that less embarrassing? -- spiraled into five losses in seven games.

    In the midst of that spiral, Williams showed off that fighting streak, taking on his own athletic department when some members ripped his recruiting prowess.

    The squabble and the struggles turned up the heat, and some UMD fans were calling for Gary's job.

    But Gary wasn't done fighting.

    He helped inspire and round his team into shape, taking out the Tar Heels, and winning the games his team needed to win.

    The team fed off Gary's spirit.  They worked hard for him -- especially Greivis Vasquez -- and with the season about to go up in flames, they really did rally around him.

    For this team and this coach, making the tourney, especially from where they were in January, is the accomplishment.  Vasquez said as much after hearing his team's name called during the tournament selection:

    "I know we didn't win the championship, and I know people are like, 'Oh, these guys made it to the tournament, and it's not a big deal,' " Vasquez said. "For this family and this team, it is a big deal because we don't have the most talented team. We don't have a 6-10, 240-[pound] guy who can just dominate in the paint. We just have guys who are willing to work hard and do anything. That's why this is so special."
     


    Making the tourney was quite special indeed.  But that doesn't mean Terps fans still won't be pulling for them to kick some Golden Bear butt.

     

    Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment.  He would appreciate it if you wouldn't burn his couch.