- The Washington Times - Monday, December 19, 2005

Maryland men’s basketball coach Gary Williams agreed to a new contract yesterday that could keep him at the school through 2013.

Williams’ previous deal ran through May 2009, but he will add an extra season to the contract every time the Terrapins meet specified competitive and academic criteria in the next four years.

Williams’ guaranteed salary for this season is $1.6 million, and meeting academic and competitive bonuses could bump the total to $2.3 million. Academic bonuses in the contract are tied to the program’s graduation rate, and the deal’s competitive bonuses are connected to Maryland’s performance in the ACC regular season.

The deal all but ensures that Williams, 60, will end his career at his alma mater. If he secures all four option years, he would be 68 when the contract expires.

“I’ve never worried about a contract in terms of how I coach,” Williams said. “You have to coach how it’s best for the players. I never worried about the extension. At this point, it’s nice to have the extension.”

In order to add an extra year to the contract, Williams must take Maryland to the NCAA tournament while also meeting the cut score in the NCAA’s academic progress rate. If Maryland does not match that score — 925 of a possible 1,000 when APRs are released early next year — the Terps’ scholarship players must average 27 credits to extend the deal by a year.

“It’s definitely highlighted, and we always had included academic components in our revenue coach contracts, but this is definitely taking it to the next level,” said athletic director Debbie Yow, adding that work on the deal began in January. “He was glad to do it, and it’s a value we espouse. It’s important we put some muscle behind it.”

Added Williams: “Of my players in 17 years at Maryland, I had one guy suspended for academics, and that guy wound up graduating . It’s just in there. It’s there, and it’s fine with me. I don’t need that. It’s not necessary to have it in a contract for me to care about academics.”

Although Maryland scored 917 in the APR last year, both Williams and Yow anticipate the Terps reaching at least 925 when the NCAA issues the APR data in February. The APR formula has changed since last year, taking away penalties to schools for players in good academic standing who turn pro before their eligibility is completed.

Earlier in the day, the NCAA revealed the men’s basketball team’s graduation success rate was 30 percent. The data was based on players entering the program between 1995 and 1998, allowing each player six years to graduate.

Williams, whose team missed the NCAA tournament last spring for the first time in 12 years, has led the No.16 Terrapins to a 7-2 start this season, including a 73-71 win against then-No.6 Boston College on Dec.11. The Terps are in the middle of a break for final exams and do not play again until Friday against American at Comcast Center.

This is the sixth contract extension or amendment in just more than 11 years for Williams. He signed a 10-year deal with seven guaranteed seasons and three option years in November1994, then agreed to a similarly structured contract four years later to take him through the 2007-08 season.

That deal was amended three times between 2000 and 2002, and the net result was an extra option year, a salary hike and the conversion of the four option years into guaranteed seasons to ensure Williams’ contract ran through 2008-09.

Under Williams, Maryland won its only national championship (2002) and made its only Final Four appearances (2001 and 2002). He also helped Maryland win the 2004 ACC tournament and has led the Terps to 11 NCAA tournaments in 16 seasons.

Williams is 341-180 at Maryland and needs only eight victories to pass Lefty Driesell for first on the program’s victories list. The 341 wins ranks fifth for coaches while at an ACC school, trailing only Dean Smith (879), Mike Krzyzewski (658), Bobby Cremins (354) and Driesell.

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