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After 33 years in the business of coaching, the University of Maryland men's basketball head coach Gary Williams will call it a career.
Williams, who recently completed his 22nd season at the helm of his alma mater, the is winningest coach in Maryland history, fifth among active coaches and third in the Atlantic Coast Conference, trailing only Mike Kryzewski and Dean Smith. Following a 106-52, Williams surpassed John Wooden on the all-time wins list. His overall record stands at 668-380 (461-252 at Maryland).
"It's the right time," Williams said in a statement released late Wednesday afternoon. "My entire career has been an unbelievable blessing. I am fiercely proud of the program we have built here. I couldn't have asked any more from my players, my assistant coaches, the great Maryland fans and this great university. Together, we did something very special here."
Williams amassed 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, three regular season ACC titles and championships, seven Sweet Sixteens, two Elite Eights, two Final Fours and won the National Championship in 2002, when he earned National Coach of the Year.
Before returning to College Park, Williams had head coaching stints at American University, Boston College and Ohio State. In 1989 Williams accepted the job to coach his Terrapins, the school he played point guard for and graduated from in 1969.
"Gary Williams is a legend," Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson said in the release. "His accomplishments on the court have earned him a place among the elite in college basketball history. But Gary's legacy here at Maryland goes far beyond basketball. From his philanthropic efforts to his tireless work with fans and alumni to his impact with our students, Gary has left an indelible mark of excellence on this university."
Williams will stay with the university, according to the release, as an assistant A.D. and special assistant to Anderson to continue his work with the Great Expectations campaign, which has helped raise over $240 million in scholarships.
"I am delighted that Coach Williams will remain a part of the Maryland community," said Loh. "His work on behalf of the Great Expectations campaign has provided support for thousands of Maryland students. He embodies the spirit of Terrapins everywhere."
The news of Williams retiring comes just one day removed from Maryland's leading scorer and rebounder officially hiring an agent to remain in the NBA Draft and a 19-14 campaign in which the school broke a 17-year stretch of reaching the post-season.
Without Jordan Williams, the conversation circled over how the Terrapins would rebuild their frontcourt. Without Gary Williams, it is how the Terrapins will rebuild their program.
Though the university has yet to announce the direction of how the search for the next head coach will be conducted, Anderson, who recently had to replace football head coach Ralph Friedgen, elected to hire a national search firm.
Candidates to fill the void could Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan, a former assistant of Williams, as well as current assistants Keith Booth (sixth season) – another Maryland alum – and Robert Ehsan (fifth season).
If the search were to extend outside the Williams coaching tree, there is speculation Arizona coach Sean Miller could change. Recently fired Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl is on the market, and PIT co-host Michael Wilbon threw VCU coach Shaka Smart into the pool, although Smart signed an eight-year extension to remain with the school following the Rams' trip to the Final Four earlier this month.
Whoever is named to the position will have the burden of luring the team's top two recruits from the 2011 class – Nick Faust and Sterling Gibbs – who have reopened their commitment, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY via text message.
Faust became in the immediate headline of the class when he announced his decision on television in late October. A four-star shooting guard from nearby Baltimore, Faust was expected to give the Terrapins another scoring option and three-point threat. Gibbs, brother of Pittsburgh guard Ashton Gibbs, would provide depth at the point guard. Gibbs committed last April. Maryland also received a letter of intent from Martin Breunig.