Just filed this for the dead-tree edition, but don’t see much of a reason to write an entirely different version for here. ….
N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow accused Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams of interfering with her school’s search for a new basketball coach, the latest twist in the pair’s frosty professional relationship.
Yow, who left Maryland last year, hired former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried on Tuesday after an extended search to find a replacement for Sidney Lowe. While introducing Gottfried, Yow told reporters in Raleigh that Williams “tried to sabotage” her attempt to make a hire.
“I don’t have a reputation across all of men’s basketball of being difficult to work with,” Yow said. “I have a reputation of not getting along with Gary Williams, who has tried to sabotage the search. Come on. We all know that, OK, so whatever. It’s not a reputation. It’s Gary Williams out there doing his thing. Whatever.”
Williams, who completed his 22nd season at Maryland last month, responded with a statement through an athletic department spokesman.
“I haven’t talked to anyone —- coach or athletic director —- connected to the N.C. State search,” Williams said. “I don’t have any interest in the N.C. State search, since I’m coaching at Maryland and working hard to run our program. Anyone who says I’ve had contact with a prospective coach or athletic director regarding this search isn’t being truthful.”
The spat is an unexpected coda to a tense coexistence between Williams and Yow for more than a decade that seemed to lose relevance once Yow left College Park last summer.
Williams was coming off his first of 11 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances in 1994 when Yow was hired from Saint Louis. During that stretch, Maryland won the 2002 national title, reached two Final Fours and replaced Cole Field House with Comcast Center.
The most notable friction between the two came in early 2009, when Maryland was coming off three NIT appearances in four seasons and appeared headed for another season without an NCAA tournament appearance. The Maryland athletic department rebutted comments from Williams about recruiting, prompting him to take issue with department officials.
Less than a week later, Yow made an impromptu appearance at one of Williams’ press conference to “lay to rest any of these crazy rumors” about the coach’s job security. Maryland rallied to reach the tournament that season, then shared the ACC regular season title with Duke in 2010.
Yow departed Maryland after a 16-year stint in June to take over at N.C. State. Replacing Lowe, who resigned March 15 after five seasons, was her first major coaching hire with the Wolfpack.
Yow said she was uncertain whether she would pursue any legal recourse connected with her accusations against Williams.
“I don’t know,” Yow said. “I haven’t thought about that. I’ll give that some thought.”
Williams’ Terps defeated N.C. State twice last season, once in the regular season in College Park, once in the first round of the ACC tournament. Based on the ACC’s schedule rotation, the teams will meet at N.C. State next season —- a game that suddenly looks like it will generate some attention beforehand.
—- Patrick Stevens