The Washington Times - October 16, 2009, 10:46PM

No fireworks. No player dunks. No light show. No grand entrance for Maryland coach Gary Williams.

The athletic department dubbed it “back to basics” —- which is all right, of course. But it’s no secret as to why many of those things disappeared.


“There’s a lot of budget cuts this year,” Williams said. “We couldn’t do a lot of the things we’ve done in previous years.”

(As a side note, if you really wanted to have a back-to-basics event, why not open up Byrd Stadium, pull in some cars and have the players do some laps around the stadium? Especially on such a lovely night. It’d be a hit. Really!).

Anyway, Williams made it a point to thank fans who supported the program throughout last season —- even if the season-opening event wasn’t quite as packed with extras as in the past and ended around 10:02 p.m.

“I know I was excited,” Williams said. “I know a lot of the fans were excited when I was out there. I don’t know what the rest of the night was. that’s what it was this year. We’ll look at it and see what we can do next year. Lefty Driesell started that in 1970, and a lot of schools don’t have it anymore. So at least we have it for the students.”

—- Patrick Stevens