Gary Williams: Maryland Terrapins head basketball coach to retire

Maryland head coach Gary Williams at the Maryland-Duke NCAA game on March 11, 2011.

The 66-year-old Gary Williams is officially retired, but as soon as the retirement cermony ended, Sources told ABC7 Anderson started a search. Actually, it started Thursday with Williams help.

Sources say Arizona head coach Sean Miller will talk with Anderson this weekend and is the Terps first choice. Miller is an East Coast guy (Pittsburg) and a great recruiter. Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey is also a candidate. Brey is in Louisville this weekend for the Kentucky Derby.

Williams said the transition will happen quickly. In the coming weeks, Loh will recommend to Board of Regents that the court at Comcast will be named after him.

Maryland head coach Gary Williams will step down as the head men’s basketball coach but won’t leave the university behind completely - he'll work as assistant athletic director.

"This was my decision," Williams told the crowd at the Comcast Center in College Park Friday. Hundreds of adoring Maryland fans cheered Williams as he announced his retirement.

Williams, who became choked up while speaking, thanked the students.

"It's been a decision I've thought about for a while," Williams said.

The number of people who praised Williams was long.

"You are a champion of the court and a champion of the community," said University of Maryland President Wallace Loh Friday.

Williams' head-coaching career spanned 33 years, including 22 years at the University of Maryland. Williams led the team to a National Championship in 2002, three ACC regular season titles, ACC tournament championships, and 14 appearances in the NCAA, including seven Sweet Sixteens, two Elite Eights and two Final Fours.

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GMC: Bumped into Gary briefly on his way into the arena today. He's already in tears. Tough day. #Terpsless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyWNST

Williams is the active college coach with the 5th best winning record in the country, 3rd in the Atlantic Coast Conference behind Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski.

ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale said in a radio interview on Friday that Williams had been debating retirement for two years and was "tossing and turning" over the decision.

Vitale says he spoke to Williams a few months ago and that there was no indication of an impending retirement and that he had remarried a few weeks ago.

John Brown, owner of Bentley's and a friend of Williams for 22 years, said,
"I don't think he had the fire anymore."

"I don't think he's going to be a Brett Favre," he said.

In his 33 years as a head coach, he amassed an overall record of 668-380 (.637) and 461-252 (.646) at Maryland.

Athletic Director Kevin Anderson on Thursday called Williams “a legend” and said he “left an indelible mark of excellence on this university.”

When asked to comment on Gary's successor, Anderson on Friday replied, "this moment is for Gary."

Williams will stay on with Maryland as Assistant Athletic Director and Special Assistant to Kevin Anderson, the University said.

“Gary changed the culture of Maryland to a winner,” said Terrell Bright, a freshman. “ We have this building right here because of Gary.”