Gary Williams Makes Emotional Goodbye

Gary Williams gave an emotional goodbye Friday afternoon to the University of Maryland.

The longtime men's basketball coach at the school choked up several times inside the Comcast Center as he discussed his successful career and his retirement.

As Williams walked onto the floor, he treated the crowd to his trademark fist-pump. His eyes welled with tears as the crowd chanted his name.  He had to pause several times during his speech and news conference to contain his emotions.

Williams announced Thursday that he was retiring after 22 years of leading the Terps.  He said Friday that it was "my decision," not the university's. 

"I feel like I still could coach, but at the same time you realize that there's other things out there," he said. "This gives me a chance, while I'm still relatively healthy, to do some things. To see what's out there. I've never really looked at anything else. This gives me an opportunity to do that."

Williams said it was just the right time to retire, adding that is "better to leave early than to hang around too late."

During the news conference, university president Wallace Loh said he and athletic director Kevin Anderson would recommend to the university's board of regents that the basketball court at the arena be named in Williams' honor.

"Your legacy here will live forever," Loh said.

Loh said that Williams "represents the heart and soul of this university" and "represents the best of the Terrapin character."

Williams was appreciative upon hearing that his name would grace the court.

"I didn't walk out here for 22 years thinking, 'I hope they put my name on the court,' " Williams said. "But now that it's here, it's a great honor. I've had some really good people help with that, which I really appreciate. I've been fortunate, in terms of time, to be a coach here as long as I've had, and hopefully a lot of people will feel the same way -- that they will feel responsible for that happening."

Williams said he thought about retiring as far back as 2002.  He said he thought about it briefly after the Terps won the National Championship.

"Then I checked my bank account," Williams said, bringing laughs from the crowd.

Fast forward to 2011, and retirement is a reality.  Williams called it a "gut feeling" to end it now.

"It was very difficult decision to make. "Mainly, beside the coaching thing, I'm basically unskilled," he said to more laughs. "When you leave the one thing you kind of knew how to do, there's always some apprehension in that decision. But at the same time, coaching gives you confidence that you can be successful in some other ways."

And finally, here is the tribute video that was shown during the news conference:

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