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Yow's spat with Williams years in the making

 

The day that Debbie Yow announced she was leaving Maryland for North Carolina State, I called Gary Williams to ask him what her legacy would be in College Park.

After a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, Williams offered a short and not-so-sweet statement about his longtime boss and adversary. "I have nothing to say specifically other than I'll let other people judge the 15 or 16 years Debbie Yow was at the University of Maryland," Williams said.

It was essentially a no-comment, but it was a snapshot of a relationship that had never been particularly close and deteriorated badly in recent years, especially after Yow allegedly tried -- unsuccessfully -- to put together a group of boosters to buy Williams out. What happened Tuesday night in Raleigh, N..C., when Yow accused Williams of sabotaging N.C. State's search process for a new basketball coach, didn't surprise anyone who has closely followed this dysfunctional Yow-Williams dynamic. That she did it during the introductory news conference for Mark Gottfried -- after a reporter asked Gottfried if he was aware of Yow's reputation of being difficult to work for -- was also typical of Yow.

That Williams offered a response to The Sun denying he had any interaction with candidates involved in the search was also not unexpected. Each always had to get in the last word. Each always had to make the other one squirm.

It's not that I can't believe Williams wouldn't let his feelings be known to other coaches about Yow. If he did tell Sean Miller or Shaka Smart or even Rick Barnes to be careful about going to work for Yow, what's wrong with that?

It's done every day in the workplace, whether you're a college basketball coach making seven figures or a schoolteacher asking about a principal who had just called about a job teaching middle school math. That Yow had a hard time finding a replacement for Sidney Lowe has more to do with Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams -- and maybe even the late Jim Valvano -- than it has to do with Williams.

When Herb Sendek left Raleigh for Arizona State five years ago, Lowe was about the fifth choice for the job then. Yow was trying to justify why it took so long to find someone to take the job, and why she settled on a coach who was run out of Alabama despite being an alum.

As she is known to do, Yow probably leaked the whole sabotage angle to Gregg Doyel, a columnist for CBS Sportsline, who went on a radio show in Raleigh Tuesday ranting about Williams.

I know first-hand that this is her MO, having been the recipient of a leak years ago that tried to make Williams look bad. This was in 1997, the day before the NCAA tournament, and I met up with Yow in a Cincinnati airport on the way to Memphis. She asked me, "What is he going to do to them?" I had no idea what or who she was talking about, but played along until I figured that a couple of players had broken curfew at the ACC tournament.

With the help of Greg Manning, the former Terp guard who was the radio color analyst at the time, I pieced together a story that LaRon Profit and Terrell Stokes were going to be benched. The Terps wound up losing to College of Charleston.

I remember a few years ago when Williams cursed out a fan sitting behind the bench at an ACC tournament game. The man was there with his young daughter and wrote a letter to Yow asking for Williams to apologize. Yow told me about that too, and how she and some ACC officials went to Williams demanding that he go for anger management. Williams' response was that he went to a psychologist -- noted sports psychologist Bob Rotella, who is best known for the advice he gives to professional golfers.

"He gave me a few putting tips," Williams joked.

As Maryland became a dominant team, Yow and Williams co-existed. But as the Terps began to slide on the court, Yow realized that she was gaining an upper-hand in the relationship. The gloves came off three years ago, when Yow and Williams took their venomous relationship public over a recruit, Tyree Evans, with a checkered past. Yow, who was attending the funeral of her sister Kay, the legendary N.C. State women's coach, had associate athletic director Kathy Worthington intervene. It caused an even bigger firestorm, and from that day on, it was just a matter of time to see who was going to outlast the other in College Park.

The day that Yow left last June, you figured that Williams had won. You also figured that the battle between them was over.

Apparently, it's not.

Comments

Hey, Gary, stop fighting with a woman and start recruiting some decent players to College Park.

We fans are getting sick of being a lower tier team in the ACC. How long are you going to live off of the national championship you won? You've been doing so for nine years now.

Oh, I forgot, it is super difficult to recruit student-athletes to the University because of the stringent academic requirements it has. Wait a second, I don't see Duke or North Carolina having that problem.

Kevin Anderson, if you're reading this, it's time to cut bait. The program needs to go in a new direction.

Hey, I didn't know Debbie Yow also went by Scott!

Hey, Scott, grow up. When you make the hall of fame, you can throw stones. 'Til then, you're just whinin'...

Dave

It will never be over for them! It is like a married couple who divorces and continues to harbor bad feelings for each other and never passes up the chance to jab at each other!

Hey, Scott, Love Debbie so much? Why not follow Ms. Ego right down to Raleigh. We will surely not miss a "fan" of your caliber. Get lost will ya?

NC State just moved up the list and is now right behind Dook, UNC, and the Criminoles. Let's beat the dog pack as bad as we can every time we can.

Who cares about this dumb crap? Get A Blue Chip player or two and she will go away or shut up anyway.

GW, You can only coach so much. We need to step up the talent pool and you need to calm your butt down a little bit more and maybe they will come.

gw tells anyone who will listen that his antagonist has left the athletics program in financial schambles.
as fans, we're waiting for some real players to participate in both the football and basketball programs.
our area produces lot's of good athletes,why don't they come to Uof M?

In the past 10 seasons, only 1 team has more wins in the ACC than Maryland. That is Duke. But some Maryland fans act like we are bottom of the basement. Support the team more than maybe better recruits will come.

Criminals no criminals on the b-ball team. At least we graduate and don't lose scholarships for academic ineptness.

Criminals no criminals on the b-ball team. At least we graduate and don't lose scholarships for academic ineptness.

If you like Gary Williams so much, then you deserve him. Get over him. He should have been fired years age. We need a coach K personality, not a hothead like Williams!

I am a Terp Club member, 4 season tix for football and I believe better days are coming. No Blue Chippers wanted to play for a 400# coach as they don't want to play for someone who rants and raves on the sideline spitting in your face while he tries to coach during a game. I DO think he's a good coach, just not much of a recruiter. Too much talent leaves the state. Look at what Randy is doing. Give him a couple years and ..... look out.

you gary bashers are funny. most of you probably aren't even terps fans. as painful as the past year has been, i'm feeling pretty good every time i drink coffee out of my terps championship mug, just like my skins superbowl mug. can you imagine being a cleveland browns fan, or a uva wahoo fan? other than dook and unc, which other acc school has done better even in the last 10 years than md? and those aren't even md's glory years. can't think of one. debbie, suck it up baby. i know it's hard to swallow, but your subordinate kicked you outta md and said "don't let the door hit you on the way out!" . hope your fifth choice for coach wins a few games next year

Fear the Turtle! Route 1 will burn again, when DUKE, UNC and State visit.

In Gray I Trust. The NC State AD? Like most of her kind, wouldn't trust her as far as I could throw her, and in my current condition that ain't far. As a class, the only thing worse than AD's in my experience are college presidents. Just pleased she is in Raleigh and Gary at College Park instead of still back in Columbus. How soon it forgotten just how bad things were, on and off the court, when Gary came home to coach his alma mater. Thanks, Coach. Love you, Man.

Living off a championship 10 years ago is as bad as NC State fans clinging to a championship they won almost 30 years ago. We deserve better.

Q: "If [Coach Williams] did tell Sean Miller or Shaka Smart or even Rick Barnes to be careful about going to work for Yow, what's wrong with that?"

A: Depending on the specific facts and circumstances, it may constitute intentional interference with prospective economic advantage or tortious interference with contract. Both are actionable claims.

It's sad to see a 66 year-old coach who is so abrasive and paranoid about everybody around him it has wrecked everything in his life at some point. His marriage, his relationship with his kids, his rapports with coworkers and fans, and finally (and probably most hurtful to him) his basketball program. Growing up rooting for the guy, it was a rude awakening to see someone who had been a local god cursing out fans in the stands one night, and awkwardly hitting on 18-year old girls at RJ Bentley's the next. Most of all, I feel sad for him.

But since he's obviously never going to let this vendetta go- here's an idea. He should have taken the NC State job himself. After a more few years of missing both the NCAA and NIT tournament, lackluster recruiting, and actively alienating fans, the media, coworkers, etc- I'm sure both he and Yow would have been shown the door at NC State, and then Gary will have had his final revenge.

Before you laugh, consider that it isn't that ridiculous to think that Gary's interest in screwing over Yow for some old spat overrides his concern for his own reputation, as this whole ordeal shows. Kevin Anderson, take note...

Andrew, I couldn't have written it better myself. He is a classless man who doesn't know the meaning of selflessness.

K-Grub- Congrats on being a 1st year law student.

I love how everyone is trying to make Debbie Yow's tough coaching search and unprofessional press conference about GW. This is just what Yow and NC State want. They pointed a finger at GW because they could not bring in one of their top choices. GW, Coach k, or Roy Williams could not influence the decision of a strong willed coach who is looking at a $2 million a year contract. DY made her own bed when she openly feuded with GW for years. No top coach who had options was going to come to NC State to work for an AD who has a reputation of being very hands on. Top coaches want the autonomy of running their program their way. They also probably frown on AD's who attempt to fire a coach who won a National Championship when he is having a tough run.

Yow who stated when she arrived at NC State that she did not have a bad relationship with Williams because she nominated him for the Hall of Fame, is now changing her tune and saying she had a terrible relationship with Williams. Which one is it?

If you are not a GW fan that is fine. But do not let another University and their AD blame a botched coaching search on someone who does not work for them and does not have influence over grown men who stand to make millions of dollars.

Wow one gets the feeling no one actually read this article.

This is GARYLAND!!!!

Nick Faust and Justin Anderson coming on board the next two years?! That duo will get Maryland to the elite eight easy. And if JWill stays through his senior year(blind hope)? National Champs in the making.

How many active coaches have national championships? 11.

Oh... well Gary hasn't won one in 9 years you say?
Steve Fisher hasn't won one in 22.
Rick Pitino hasn't won one in 15.
Tubby Smith hasn't won one in 13.
Tom Izzo hasn't won one in 11.
Jim Boeheim hasn't won one in 8.

Anyone wanting to get rid of Gary doesn't understand basketball.

Wish the fans would fill the arena? That might help get recruits and wins.

Might also help to show the recruits real social life at MD, it used to be great, historically african american greeks might be able to help in that area.

Are student tickets not free anymore?

COLE was our power, I miss it was one of the great venues in ncaa.

Good riddance to Yow. Now let's concentrate on putting the Terps back on the map. We have become an also-ran. I love Gary for what he has done for the program over the years, but maybe it's time for a change? If Gary doesn't want to recruit, he should get a job in the NBA. Winning a championship doesn't (or at least shouldn't) guarantee you a job for life.

K Grubb, in order to have tortious interference with a contractual relationship there must be a contract first! Yow made herself look small by bringing those allegations with her new coach sitting at her side, what an insult to him - basically calling him a consolation. Gary certainly needs to step it up in the recruiting area (Faust and Anderson are a very nice start) but he deserves mad respect for what he's done for the program and university over the past 20 plus years.

Frnak:

I'm not out to get Gary, I'm not a hater, and I dont want him fired.

However if you want to look at the cold hard facts - then look at the last SEVEN years.

In the last SEVEN years in the ACC:

UNC 83-29 - Five ACCRS titles, two ACCT titles, six NCAAT appearances, five S16’s, five E8s, three FFs, and two NCs

Duke 83-29 - Two ACCRS titles, five ACCT titles, seven NCAAT appearances, five S16’s, one E8, 1FF, and one NC

Terps 60-52 - One ACCRST, three NCAAT appearances

FSU 58-54 - Three NCAAT appearances, one S16

VT 57-55 - One NCAAT appearance

Clemson 56-56 - Five NCAAT appearances, one S16

Boston College 49-47 (only been in the ACC last six years) - Four NCAAT appearances, one S16

While we do have “the best record in the ACC after UNC and Duke” we’re clearly behind them, and barely ahead of (more like clumped together with) four schools who are considered football schools.

Since we won the ACCT in 2004 (the only time an ACC school other than UNC or Duke has won the ACCT since 1996) we are 4-7 in ACCT with four losses to lower seeded teams. We’ve not made an ACCT final since 2004.

The MBB has been in a steady decline since 2004. Gary has not been as successful as he needs to be with recruiting. I can live with his style and his type of players - but the bottom line is he isnt getting the talent he needs to consistently have the program ranked in the top 20, make the NCAAT without having to endure the bubble, and competing with Dook and UNC eye to eye - not pulling the occassional upset.

What other major college program concedes 1st and 2nd place in their own conference and has any realistic expectations of competing for a NC?

I'll bet the NCSU and MD play home and home next year. GW and DY are probably doing this to make sure they have a sell-out for those games!

Thank you Fred for reminding everyone how hard it is to consistently win in college basketball . Good riddance Yow--you'll fit right in with Raleigh and their pathetic fan base.

A coach that's been around as long as Gary really should be doing better than he is, Debbie Yow or not.

Was it Debbie's fault that two of Gary's players put themselves AND their coach in a bad spot by staying out past curfew? No. But Gary and his supporters don't want to deal with that part of it, the part where Gary takes responsibility for his program and its direction. Was it Yow's fault that Maryland didn't admit Bobby Maze? No. Was it Yow's fault that Tyree Evans had character issues that could embarrass the program had they cropped up at Maryland? No. Did Yow recruit Evans? No. Did Gary consult Yow before recruiting Evans or inform her office about his legal problems? No. This all goes back to Gary Williams and his lack of responsibility for his program's results, the recruiting gaps that he's caused and his bitching to the media about how the kids he doesn't get have their hands out and everyone cheats but him. Look, I realize that Rudy Gay got paid by UConn. Gary needs to get over it. But if Gary wants to sell that every other kid out of DC/Bmore that he didn't get the last 10 years were all on the take? I find it insulting. But to recruit Bobby Maze and Tyree Evans and then sully the recruiting of other athletes out of the DC/Bmore corridtor as "dirty?" Gary needs to stop running his mouth. Even Jordan Williams got into some legal trouble before coming to Maryland, so I ask again: is Gary actually minding the store?

I think the Gary supporters are soooo hypocritical. They equate holding Gary accountable as 'anti-Maryland'. What a joke. But if you really are a fan, than accountability is a necessity!! But they are only following Gary's lead in this. Thats why he's in the wrong. Gary never stands up and says "Hey, I'm working on it, and I understand your concern." Which isn't even admitting that he's screwed up, but it at least acknowledges that he's addressing the concerns.
You know, in this respect he reminds me of George Bush 2. When 911 happened, the world was behind us and willing to do what it took to get justice, but in 2 years time, he managed to turn the whole world against us. Bush never accepts that he could do anything wrong, and America suffered for it. GW always has an excuse for why his players lack the talent as other high profile teams. But all you have to do is look at Duke; then you realize, HE HAS NO EXCUSE.

"j": Thanks for your reply. You correctly noted that in Maryland "tortious interference with contract" requires an existing contract; shame on me for short-handing "tortious interfence withcontract or prospective economic advantage" as just "tortious interference with contract." It will be interesting to see what state's law applies to Debbie's claims.


"Scott": Thanks for you ascerbic (and wrong) response to my factual comment. Hope you're having a nice day.

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