- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 1, 2009

THEY SAID WHAT?

“That was a worst-case scenario, like Hurricane Katrina.” - Former Texas women’s coach Jody Conradt on the 100-0 high school girls basketball game that sparked a major controversy and got the winning coach fired

TROUBLE IN COLLEGE PARK

In his public dust-up with senior associate athletic director Kathy Worthington, Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams said she “has never won a national championship.”

He is, of course, absolutely correct. She has not. Williams, on the other hand, has. And the point is what?

If it seems unclear how this pertains to why a pair of recruits ended up being a pair of ex-recruits, here’s a hint: It doesn’t.

It’s a specious argument but one Williams likes to use when stressed. Yes, his Terps went to the Final Four in 2001 and won it all in 2002 (in case you somehow forgot). No, it has nothing to do with the current state of affairs.

The story is how things have gone the other way ever since. Maryland might miss the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years. Last month, the Terps lost to Duke by 41 points. Attendance is falling, discord rising.

Williams has his supporters, to be sure. He and they also like to remind people that he resurrected the program 20 years ago. Correct again. Also pointless again in terms of recruiting in particular and current conditions in general.

Like Lefty Driesell, who created Maryland basketball as we know it, Williams is a towering figure whose contributions are respected, admired and appreciated. But his defense rests on where the program was, not where it is. By dwelling on the good old days, he brings more attention to the not-so-hot new days.

The larger issue is whether coaches should be granted permanence as a lifetime achievement award for past glory or whether more-up-to-date criteria should be applied. What have you done lately, what are you doing now and what about tomorrow? For Maryland, the answers appear to be less than encouraging.

TWT FIVE Hall of Famers who didn’t make the Super Bowl

1. Lem Barney, CB, Detroit (1967-77) - In his first game, returned interception for a touchdown against the Packers. Sang background on Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.”

2. Elvin Bethea, DE, Houston (1968-83) - Career spanned five presidents. Played in 135 straight games and led team in sacks six times.

3. Dan Fouts, QB, San Diego (1973-87) - Don Coryell built the plane; Fouts flew it.

4. Steve Largent, WR, Seattle (1976-89) - Jim Zorn’s buddy retired as top pass-catcher in the major categories.

5. Barry Sanders, RB, Detroit (1989-98) - “He’s better than I was,” Walter Payton once said.

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