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Maryland will honor Gary Williams by naming court after him

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Gary Williams

Gary Williams won't be on the Maryland bench next season, but the newly retired coach will still have a presence at Terps home games.

Maryland announced Tuesday it will honor Williams by naming the court at the Comcast Center after him on Dec. 9. The first game on Gary Williams court will be Dec. 14 against Florida International.

"I'm honored and humbled to receive this recognition," Williams said in a release from the school. "It's important to remember that the success we achieved at Maryland was a team effort and all the coaches, student-athletes and staff who were here are a big part of this. I'm very appreciative of the effort by Kevin Anderson, President Loh, Chancellor Kirwan and everyone else who has been a part of making this happen."

Maryland president Wallace Loh and athletic director Kevin Anderson had already given their public support to the plan in recent weeks, but the Baltimore Sun reported that there was some opposition from a small group of prominent alumni. They felt naming the court after Williams would be unfair to fellow Maryland legend Lefty Driesell, who won 348 games in 18 seasons as coach of the Terps before being forced out after the cocaine-induced death of star Len Bias.

The way Maryland will appease those alumni apparently will be to find another way to honor Driesell at the Comcast Center. Either a statue of the coach outside the arena or a banner hanging from the rafters would seem to be an appropriate way to recognize what Driesell contributed to the program.

Williams would join a select group of active or retired coaches whose names grace the famous floors where they once worked. There's Nell and John Wooden Court at Pauley Pavilion and there's "Lute and Bobbi Olson Court" at Arizona, there's Coach K Court at Duke, among others. {YSP:MORE}

What Williams accomplished at Maryland before abruptly retiring last spring suggests he's as deserving as anyone of such an honor. In addition to being the winningest men's basketball coach in the school's history, Williams led the Terrapins to a pair of Final Four appearances and the school's only national title in 2002.

"Gary has been a faithful alumnus, a highly successful and iconic figure in men's college basketball across the nation, a fierce competitor, and a tireless fundraiser on behalf of student scholarships," Loh said. "He has been the face of Maryland men's basketball for more than 22 years. Gary led the Terps out of historic Cole Field House into the Comcast Center. I can think of no better way to recognize his success and his contributions to the University of Maryland than by naming the floor of the basketball court in Comcast Center in his honor."

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