The Washington Times - January 30, 2009, 10:32AM

It’s a time for clamming up in College Park regarding this week’s tiff between coach Gary Williams and the athletic department, which is probably advice that would have been wise to heed about three or four days ago before the verbal Molotov cocktails were tossed.

That isn’t a wish or a hope or anything else. It’s just common sense for any organization to avoid such a public fracas. Let there be no question: Somewhere, someone writing a book on how to run a business is getting ready to devote an entire chapter on how not to do things, and using this as a textbook example.

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Chances are, there won’t be too many comments in noncontrolled settings going forward from much of anyone. But even somewhat controlled settings can be intriguing, and that was the case last night at the Greene Turtle in Laurel.

There were lots of red sweater-wearing boosters out for Williams’ weekly radio show. Lots of them. They came from northern Virginia, the northern Baltimore suburbs and everywhere in between. Williams was clearly appreciative of the support, and made it a point to shake hands with several acquaintances – from the Terrapin Club, the Fastbreakers basketball booster group and the Friends of Gary (FOG) support circle.

It was about as friendly an environment as Williams could expect anywhere. It was only about eight miles from College Park, but given all that went down on Tuesday, it might as well have been on a different planet.

I’ve been to Gary’s show three times in the last year or so, at three different locations. This was by far the largest and most boisterous group in attendance – mainly because of the intended show of force and support. Whoever owns that particular Greene Turtle had a very good Thursday night.

The radio show itself was pretty much exactly what you would expect – no dwelling on what had just happened, and generally positive or strategy-related questions from callers. (Loyola AD Joe Boylan, a former basketball coach and a long-time friend of Williams, was the show’s first caller). Williams did take umbrage with a caller complaining about how flat the Terps were at Duke last weekend.

In what does not qualify as a remote surprise, Williams retorted with a comment about Maryland’s solid record at Duke in the last decade and how the combination of a poor performance and the Blue Devils playing extremely well can lead to a dreadful result.

The guess here is Williams will talk about the situation as little as possible during his mid-afternoon media session, and that it will also be the only thing he is asked about. But you can be certain he was thankful for the show of support coming from somewhere a night earlier.

Patrick Stevens