Posts Tagged ‘Debbie Yow


Terp Football Fans: Should I show up to boo, or just burn my ticket?


I’m glad someone woke up John Feinstein. He must have finally finished his latest tell-all book about the William and Mary soccer team.  Let me guess: it’s a place where sports still mean something.

Just a couple weeks after making some waves by claiming rightly that ACC football is irrelevant on the national stage, yesterday Feinstein noted the growing swarms of Boo Birds at Maryland and Redskin games. More fans seem to be eating their “Boo Berries,” if you get my drift.  They’ve got a case of the “Boos.”  Their teams “make them sick” to the point where they want to “lash out like Huns after a break-in at the meadery.”  If you take my meaning.  Because mead is an intoxicant.

Sometimes I hear a little too much talk radio in Feinstein’s columns, but he’s right. Terp fans are angry over what could be a dreadful season. And I’m not talking about the overreactionist “OMG SOMEONE NEEDS TO THROW ACID IN DEBIE YOWS FACE” contingent. A lot of the rank-and-file fans seem to be getting fed up, too, and they’re fighting back with their mouths and, more ominously, their wallets. Another Post story today notes that attendance is down at Byrd by nearly every measure: last Saturday’s MTSU game had the smallest crowd since 2002. Season ticket sales are declining. And that’s even before we bring up the luxury boxes.  These people, they just don’t know true poshness when they see it.  That’s REAL particle board, people!  That stuff doesn’t grow on trees.

Does the economy play a factor?  Surely.  But would the attendance dip be as bad if the team wasn’t also dipping like a bag of Scoops at an AA meeting?  (zing.)  No. Look at Michigan, one of the hardest-hit states economically. The Big House is packed every time.  Byrd could be, too.  The team doesn’t have to win the ACC every year — just be competitive.  Don’t embarrass your fans.  Is that too much to ask?  For instance, what about that Murfreesboro vacation I was planning?  You think I can still show my face there?  And I heard they just got a Mattress Discounters.

Bottom line:  we wouldn’t be having any of these conversations if the team was winning.  In many ways, sports is an easy business. 

(Non-topical final note:  If you think the Lions don’t have Sunday’s game circled on their calendar, you haven’t been watching the Skins. Booo, Snyder!)


Maryland Athletic Budget Slashed

Well, we kinda saw this coming, but that doesn’t make it any more fun.

The Terps athletic department is cutting $301,000 out of the football budget, according to the Baltimore Sun. That’s about a 3 percent reduction out of a $9.7 million overall budget.

So what are the ramifications. Well, the team now has to take the bus for some of its games, and the PR folks are sending out media guides on CDs instead of printing them. WHAT? Unacceptable. Oh wait…they won’t give a lowly blogger like me the time of day anyway. At least, I imagine they would not, if they knew I existed.

Lots of other sports are also affected. Men’s basketball, which has a $4.4 million budget, was trimmed $137,786, or about 3.1 percent. Women’s basketball saw its budget – about $2.6 million – cut $61,583, or about 2.4 percent. The “Olympic sports” of swimming and diving, track and field, gymnastics, tennis and other sports, are being cut by 9 percent (tennis is an Olympic sport?). Lots of Ramen noodles in their future, I’m afraid.

The good news is that it seems like no sports will be eliminated barring some catastrophe. AD Debbie Yow said “I’m pretty steadfast on the 27 [sports]. We’re just going to get through this period.”

So just a little general belt-tightening. It’s understandable. It could be worse. Besides, riding the bus builds character.


Gary Williams not out of, and in fact still very much in, the woods


Following the big Georgia Tech victory — pop the champagne! tear down the goal posts! — the anti-Gary Williams mob has temporarily put aside its torches and pitchforks.  After it all came to a head with the public spat between Gary and the athletic department, there seemed to be a backlash against the backlash.  Suddenly, if you said anything bad about Gary on the discussion boards or wherever, you weren’t a real Terps fan, or something like that.

Either way, I’m firmly on record as saying he deserves at least one more season after this one.  And with a guaranteed three years and $4.2 million left on his contract — and with the cash-strapped university probably reluctant to pay two head coaches at once — he could stick around for a few more seasons regardless of what happens with the team.  So Gary lovers probably don’t have much to fear.

But love him or not, there’s still a lot of blood in the water.  The program is under a lot of scrutiny right now, and, on the national stage, it’s only getting worse.

Obviously, the infighting has added an extra layer to the intrigue. Yeah, Gary and Debbie Yow buried the hatchet at a news conference, but did anyone really buy it?  It might still be going on if the friggin Board of Regents hadn’t called for it to stop. It was like a dysfunctional couple who puts on their finery and throws a big lavish dinner party, but you can still see the woman’s black eye and the man hammering back martinis.  The cat is out of the bag. You can’t unblack the eye.

As evidence of this, stories exploring the behind-the-scenes drama, and attacking Gary on a more individual level, are getting more common in the mainstream media (USA Today for one) and the blogosphere (at The Big Lead among other places).  Just yesterday, Gary’s recruiting practices were highlighted in an interesting article on the Yahoo! Sports home page — it detailed a rather unimpressive recruiting visit by a local prospect who ended up signing with Carolina.  In other words, it’s not the same “What’s Wrong with the Terps?” articles that have cropped up periodically over the past few seasons.  The questions have become more pointed: “What’s Wrong With Gary Williams?” or “What’s Wrong With This entire Cockamamie Program?”   The media now has two openings to attack (the team’s record and the AD drama), and us readers are sopping it up with a biscuit.

Again, Gary is at least somewhat insulated from all this by loyal Terps fans who try to shout down or shame anyone with a negative opinion.  He even seemed to get a mulligan on the Carolina drubbing from the local media.  But unless he starts winning, these national voices are going to grow too loud to ignore — and you’re kidding yourself if you think the media’s opinion doesn’t matter.  I said before that Gary lovers don’t have much to fear, but that’s not entirely true.  Even if Gary doesn’t get the axe, without a turnaround his reputation, his recruiting, and the program will continue to grind against one another. And the farther away we get from the calming lubrication of 2002, and the more these articles appear, the worse that grinding is going to get.  Of course, the best cure is winning. Seven games left!

(Photo credit: Justin Kase Conder for USA Today)


Maryland alternate uniforms: Black vs. Gold
















 Time for some more Shell Games crack reporting.

Did you know that Maryland is the only D-1 school with FOUR team colors? It’s true, my friend.  And with all these colors come many opportunities for uniform sales designs. And ever since Nike took it over, everyone’s gotten a little more greedy inventive. Hence the gold and black alternate uniforms.

They’re both tight unis. No question. So the real question is, which one has better karma?

As you know, on Tuesday the Terps rocked the blacks at Carolina but got rocked 108-91 (nice word play, MASH,  hey, thanks, MASH, I appreciate that).  But did you know they first wore the blacks back in 2004, and lost a scrimmage to some Italian team?  That is not a good sign. Not hospitaliano as I know it. After that, a superstitious Gary Williams shelved the jerseys, supposedly forever. But back they came for the Terps’ 2006 ACC tournament game against Boston College, which the Terps promptly lost 80-66. And now there’s the Carolina game. The lesson here: get the hell rid of those black jerseys right the hell now. Burn them in the alley and watch the ghosts fly out.  They look pretty good, so maybe down the road break them out against Central Delaware Tech or something and try to build a new legacy. But for now, they need at least a few years of non-existence.

Now for the golds. Of course, these are a holdover from the Lefty Driesell years, but Maryland first wore the new-school golds last season in a 73-48 win over Holy Cross. They rocked the gold again a week ago in a big 73-68 win over Miami.

So by my count, they’re 0-3 in the blacks and 2-0 in the golds. There you have it. Case closed. Gold uniforms for every game. This is the answer we’ve all been looking for. We’re through the looking glass here, people.  You can mail the Pulitzer to my house.

(Photo credits: Gold uni: Jonathan Newton — The Washington Post; Black uni: The ACC)


A true hip-hop preview: A Maryland-North Carolina analysis from ESPN anchor Stuart Scott

stu-scottA wise man once said, “winning isn’t every thing.  It’s the only thing.”  That man?  Vince Lombardi.   That’s right, y’all.  Droppin’ serious science. Mad knowledge. So don’t front. Because what you hear, it’s not a test. I’m bloggin’ to the beat.

Check it. Lombardi’s phrase isn’t just a random saying you can use to wow your buddies.  It’s applicable. Specifically?  To tonight’s game, between North Carolina and Maryland.  Word up.

I’ve seen every “House Party” movie eleven times.  If you ain’t hip, better ask somebody.  But in the meantime, just know that instead of saying “look at this” Kid n’ Play say “peep.”  So that’s what I say, too.  So yo yo, homies.  Peep this.

My Tar Heels are a massive 21.5-point favorite in this game. Hansbrough. Lawson. Ellington. Green. What else do you need to know? Oh, you want more? Peep this, kid. Carolina? They’ve only had three games this season decided by less than 15 points. Tops in the ACC in scoring. Second in field goal percentage. Cool as the other side of the pillow. And you know something? That’s the only really cool phrase I’ve ever used. Boo-ya!

But on defense? The Heels aren’t so jiggy. Second to last in scoring defense in the ACC. Where does Maryland rank? Third, kid. Mad props to the Terps, son. Walk this way, talk this way. Jam Master Jay’s makin out my sound. The turntables? They might wobble. But they don’t fall down. And that’s real.

The Terps have a one-game win streak. The Heels? They’re at five. You do the math. Can the Terps win? If Heavy D can find love, anything’s possible. But the question is, what are they gonna do with it. Gary Williams got mad love from Debbie Yow today. But yo. Actions still speak louder. And Maryland needs to speak a lot in Chapel Hill. They need to get hot. And I mean Laura Winslow hot. They need to be the hater in the house. They need to regulate AND get jiggy. At the same time. Possible? Sure. Probable? Hardly. Just one man’s take. A wise man once said, “don’t hate the player. Hate the game.” Think about that, people. Think about it.  And let me know.

Prediction: North Carolina 74, Maryland 60


It’s getting ugly out there


Ye gods. You can tell a situation is getting bad when it shows up on the ESPN ticker. I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw something to the effect of: “Maryland assistant athletic director Kathy Worthington says Gary Williams released recruits himself, contrary to Williams’ previous statements.” Then there was another line: “Maryland head coach Gary Williams states that ‘the next time I see her, Kathy Worthington will feel the back of my hand.'”

Well, maybe not. But he did tell reporters that “Kathy Worthingon has never won a national championship. She has never done anything.”  Jesus. Of course, Gary’s true target here is athletic director Debbie Yow, whose sister, Kay, just lost a very long and public battle with cancer.  This is beyond messy. The full transcript of Gary’s rather defensive comments are here.

This lash-out comes on the heels of the athletic department’s own rebuttal of Gary’s claim that he was not the one who prevented certain recruits from coming to Maryland, with the implication (for some, anyway) seeming to be that the athletic department, and not Williams, icksnayed the players. But then the AD went and drug out a paper trail on him, in a display that, as the D.C. Sports Bog points out, seemed precisely calibrated to inflict maximum damage and embarrassment on Gary.

If Gary was intending to get his team’s poor performance off the front pages, he has succeeded, at least for the time being. He has also sent a message to Yow, who is apparently his mortal blood enemy, that he will not be going quietly.

And make no mistake — given this war of words, Gary is gone after this year barring a dramatic turnaround. Like it or not, the writing is on the wall.  And with half of the team’s final 10 games against Duke, Wake, Clemson, and Carolina TWICE, and with the team needing at least seven more wins in general and a couple more “signature” wins to make the tourney, I’m not expecting said turnaround (hoping yes, expecting no). And Gary knows all of this. This is the basketball coach equivalent of stealing office supplies and peeing in the coffee pot on his way out.  Here’s hoping that he won’t need a letter of reference.


The underside of this bus is getting kind of sticky

Fans, reporters, and athletic directors are circling Gary Williams.

Fans, reporters, and bloggers are circling Gary Williams.

The sharks are beginning to circle around Gary Williams. But he’s not going to be churned up into chum that easily.  At least not until he can bring a few people down with him.  During a meeting with reporters yesterday, Gary took aim directly at athletic director Debbie Yow, implying that Yow had forced him to jettison key recruits, including Gus Gilchrist, Shane Clark and Tyree Evans.

We’ve had, um, people that were here for different lengths of time. The kid, (Shane) Clark, up at Villanova was turned down for admission here at Maryland. The guy starting at South Florida, (Gus) Gilchrist, was here for a year. He’d be playing now. You know, Tyree Evans would be playing now. And they’re all qualified to play at other schools. So, that’s part of it. You know, in basketball one player’s a lot. It’s not like in football where you’ve got 25 (recruits) every year. So we’ve been through that.

Gus Gilchrist (now known as Augustus) is averaging 11pts/5rb per game for USF, and has stepped it up to average 13pts/5rb in seven Big East games including going 6/12 from three.  The guy’s still a head case, but hey, he’s a big. We could use him right about now.

Clark is just starting to be productive at Villanova, averaging 4pts and 3rb per game in his senior year.  Although he is 6’7″, I do not think his size or production would have made a big difference for this team.  Tyree Evans had a checkered past that included multiple arrests, including one for drug dealing and another for assaulting a woman.  That is not the kind of guy Maryland wants on campus.  We don’t want to turn into [insert Florida school name here].

On the balance, judging by the stats I’d say we lost one impact player and two borderline guys.  Ultimately, the team represents the school and part of Yow’s job is to protect the school’s reputation.  The women’s basketball program seems to be doing great, and we recently won national championships in field hockey and soccer, so she’s obviously doing something right.

Losing players to academic issues, off-court issues, and other teams is, unfortunately, par for the course in NCAA basketball.  I’m not saying that Debbie Yow is making Williams’s job any easier, but I am saying he has to deal with it whether Yow is there or not.  In my opinion, Gary is off the mark here.


The noose is tightening for Gary Williams

This post is a little long, but hang with me, it’ll be worth it (hopefully)…

There seem to be two emerging schools of thought on Saturday’s Duke loss. One side is that it was simply a tough (very tough) loss for the Terps — i.e., it was an awful game, but there really wasn’t any deeper “meaning” to it. The other side is that the Terps were exposed as a fatally flawed group that personifies the deeper failings of a program in decline.  This other side, which is seeing a real surge in membership today, wants change. What this means is that they want Gary Williams’ head on a silver platter, surrounded by field greens and dried cranberries. I’m kind of over field greens, but still, what a lovely presentation that would be.  Except for the head part, which would be a little macabre.

The criticism is hitting a fever pitch. Gary’s name now comes up on TV segments like “Who’s On The Bigger Hot Seat” and so forth. One of WaPo’s Terps beat guys, Steve Yanda, said in his online discussion that the Duke game was “the worst performance I have ever seen from a Division I program.”  That’s a bold statement. National college hoops pundit (and Dookie) Seth Davis said in a recent mailbag that “Maryland looks like it’s going to be irrelevant for the foreseeable future.”  Ouch.

You can tell it’s bad when people are not only speculating that Gary will be fired, but speculating on his replacement as well. The Examiner suggests Oklahoma coach and local boy Jeff Capel. Fans and bloggers are throwing out names as quickly as they come to mind. Memphis’ John Calipari, Miami’s Frank Haith, and Xavier’s Sean Miller seem like popular selections. Others point to Gary’s tense relationship with athletic director Debbie Yow as more evidence that his firing may be inevitable. (Still others want to fire Yow herself, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Discussion board posters and bloggers love to parse and re-parse the Gary situation, grind it up, beat it into dust, reconstitute the dust into a kind of putty using their own urine, and grind it up again.  Every fan knows what the problems are:  He can’t (or won’t) recruit top talent. The talent he does get doesn’t always meet its potential. Today’s players are put off by his intensity.  He has problems getting consistent effort from his guys.  His teams lack poise and appear sloppy.  (Personally, I think he goes too easy on his guards and too hard on his bigs, but that’s just my own pet theory.)

So those are the problems.  No real debate there, despite the constant discussion they elicit.  The real debate is whether they should fire him.  Those who say yes simply point to the aforementioned problems and the recent postseason drought.  Those who say no point to the championship, the two Final Fours, and the fact that Gary came to his alma mater while it was under NCAA sanction and lifted it back into prominence. They also ask, fairly, who would replace Gary. Top D-1 coaches don’t grow on trees.

Here’s my take, if anyone cares.  I love Gary. I remember how jacked up I would get, standing in the student section and getting the fist pump from him as he walked to the bench during warm-ups. I would love nothing more than to see him ride off into the sunset on his own terms. But at this moment, he is embarrassing himself.  Over and over again. Everyone loves to complain about the “what have you done for me lately” attitude in the sports world, but let me ask you this:  If you performed really well in your job for many years, but then sucked it up for four or five straight years, wouldn’t you be hearing whispers, too?  Even if they didn’t fire you, wouldn’t there at least be some kind of mandate that you improve your performance immediately, or else?

I personally believe we’re at the “improve or else” stage.  I don’t want to start settling for this “gee, I hope we make the Dance this year” mentality. I know there are off years, and I know that the playing field is more level now between the BCS schools and the mid-majors, but Maryland should be a lock for the big tournament more or less every year.  So if they don’t improve this season, and next year’s new recruits don’t make a big difference, then I say it’s decision time.  At that point it would become a question of whether the school prefers the devil they know versus the devil they don’t.  And is fear of the unknown really a good reason to hang on to a coach?  Does blind loyalty eventually just become blindness?  How long can a fan base hold onto old memories without needing any new ones?  Is a true fan the one who refuses to criticize, or is it the one who criticizes the loudest?  Is it a matter of believing in your team through thick and thin, or is it a matter of the emperor wearing no clothes?

So that’s my take, but I’m not even sure he’ll get that long.  Given what we know and where we stand right now, I think it’s very possible that, in three months, we’ll all be saying that Saturday’s loss at Duke was the beginning of the end for Gary Williams’ time at Maryland.

(Update: It’s getting worse between Gary and the athletic department. Like it or not, this could be an irreparable rift.)


Lady Terps show the men how you do it

At least one Maryland team is playing well. Yesterday, the no. 12 women’s hoops team upended no. 2 North Carolina, 77-71. Big ups to the lady Terps…after a slightly rocky start, the team finds itself in a pretty good spot…they’re 4-1 in ACC play and could crack the top 10 soon.

The ladies seem to have a lot of pieces that the men very blatantly lack. Strong floor leadership in Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver.  They’re calm in the clutch.  And they get awesome post play from Coleman, Demauria Liles, and Lynetta Kizer, who combined for 44 points and 34 rebounds in this game. How much money would you pay to see the men’s frontcourt put up a line like that?

Pinky and the pinks couldn't get over Lynetta Kizer and co.

Pinky and the pinks couldn't get over Lynetta Kizer and co.

The game also included a tribute to N.C. State women’s coach Kay Yow, sister of Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow. This is the second campus icon that N.C. State has lost to cancer. Here’s hoping Kay Yow’s legacy lives on in as strong and beneficial a way as Jimmy V’s has.

All in all, great day for the ladies. It’s nice to have something positive to root for in College Park right now. One thing I’m most decidedly NOT rooting for is a return of those hideous pink Carolina unis. Hey, Carolina. I know it’s meant to be a tribute, but tributes should never be unsightly. Your unis are so distinctive that their color is actually named for them. And it’s not Carolina Pink. Think, McFly. Think.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Gail Burton


Contact the authors

Tips? Questions? Comments? Tirades? E-mail us here.
Add to Technorati Favorites
September 2020