The Washington Times - February 2, 2009, 03:53PM

I have a flight to catch and a story to crank out, and obviously there’s plenty of parsing to be done after athletic director Debbie Yow offered support of basketball coach Gary Williams.

This happens to be one of the handful of times where a full transcript of the proceedings (or relevant parts, in Gary’s case) are worth offering up.

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So here’s Yow’s statement and Williams’ reply to selected questions from today’s availability:

DEBBIE YOW

I wanted to come in and say a couple of things. One of them was it’s still an emotional time for me as you might imagine, but there were some of you in the room who were kind enough to send me a note of condolence on the loss of Kay. I appreciate it so much. And I appreciate Gary and the team wearing the cancer sign turned upside down for the game Saturday night for the Y. I’m adjusting like any of you would be adjusting if you lost a close family member. I have my good moments and I have my bad moments, but I’m having a pretty good day today. It was nice to communicate with some of you with something other than work. It was nice. I really appreciated the sentiments.

The other reason I’m here – I would have done this on Friday at media availability if I had not needed to be in North Carolina. I really want to lay to rest any of these crazy rumors that are floating around related to the job security of coach Williams. He has my personal full support, as he does from the department and from the university. He and I communicate regularly, and a couple of things he’s communicated to me are pretty important.

One of those is he’s very optimistic about the future and he’s very focused on recruiting and we all know that’s important. He’s after it with as much enthusiasm and passion as I’ve seen in my 15 years. Our team is playing really hard. Saturday night’s victory was terrific.  I heard about the atmosphere in the building and I wish I could have been here, but we were on the drive back from the burial so I missed it. I would have loved to be here for that.

His current contract which I believe – we’ve done this several times, but I think the current contract was 10 years. We still have 3 ½  years left on that contract, and a one-year rollover option for going to the NCAA tournament. In addition to that, if we ever get to the place where it isn’t enough and he needs more for recruiting, we’ll deal with it. He’ll tell me what he needs and we’ll take care of it then. Those are the two reasons I came in. Thank you for your kindnesses about Kay’s passing, and I just wanted to settle any rumors that were out there. All I’m focused on is supporting him and supporting the staff and the team and winning basketball games this year, which we’re going to do.

GARY WILLIAMS

[What  Yow’s comments meant to him]

It’s nice that she said those things. I’ve never felt threatened by anything. I know what I’ve done just this decade alone. Very few programs have done what we’ve done this decade. There’s probably three or four, maybe. There’s Florida, because they won it twice. You could say UCLA, even though they haven’t won a national championship this decade. Carolina and Duke, those two because they’ve won it this decade. I’m sure in what I’ve done. The last 15 years, the only two teams not to finish last in the league in the regular season have Maryland and North Carolina. This decade, Final Four, national championship, Sweet 16 losing to Michigan State on a Steve Blake jump shot to go to the Elite Eight. ACC champions, 19 wins with Strawberry tearing his ACL, our best player, 19 wins with Chris McCray being ineligible the last 12, 13 games of the season, our leading scorer. Next year we won 26, I think that tied the sixth-best mark in the school’s history. Winning an NCAA game against Davidson and losing to Butler who gave Florida the best game that year in the NCAA tournament, the closest game with the eventual national champions, Florida. Then last year we won 19 and beat the No. 1 team on their court. So that’s been this decade for Maryland. I’ll compare that with anybody in the country. I haven’t felt threatened at all – logically, I think.

[Was Yow’s statement important?]

She’s the athletic director. She wanted to make a statement. That’s certainly her prerogative. As for me, I’m the coach. I’m the basketball coach here at Maryland. I get measured by a lot of things, and you get compared to a lot of coaches around the country, so I think I’m in pretty good shape.

[On the future]

We lose Dave Neal off this year’s team. We’ve signed Jordan Williams and James Padgett, and I think we’re in a pretty good position. I really believe we can be a top 25 team preseason next year.

Here’s the video:
Debbie Yow statement — TerpCenter.com from Seth Hoffman on Vimeo.

Patrick Stevens