Tim Brant on Sports: Change is always hard
This past Saturday, I was announcing the N.C. State at Boston College game Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill. During the game, my mind kept wandering to the scene at Penn State without 84-year-old icon Joe Paterno.
I then had to read some promo copy and look at the graphic on the screen explaining Randy Edsall's Maryland team playing Notre Dame. Former Maryland Athletic Director Debbie Yow, who is now in the same position at N.C. State, came into the booth to say hello and the conversation turned to basketball. Mark Turgeon is leading the way into a new era in College Park, where for the first time in 22 years a new coach will lead the Terrapins.
It's incredible how hard the winds of change have blown through the sports world over the last 12 months.
I know the one constant in life is change, but this has been jarring. Joe Paterno is one of the most moral guys I have ever met in my life. He exudes character and teaches doing the right thing. I don't know all the facts in this recent criminal investigation, but Joe has always inspired me and I have always admired him. Now he is gone.
Maryland football is suffering through the first year of Edsall's reign. It may be a massive rebuilding year and "change of culture," but I can't help but think of the past.
Ralph Friedgen was the 2010 ACC Coach of the Year, but it was Friedgen's first year in 2001 as the Terps head coach I will never forget. That season, Maryland won it's opener 23-7 over North Carolina to become the first Terp head coach to win his opener since Tom Nugent in 1959.
During the season, Friedgen led Maryland to a surprising 10-2 record and a top 10 national ranking. The Terps took the first outright ACC title by a team other than Florida State since the Seminoles entered the league, and an appearance in the 2002 Orange Bowl, the Terrapins' first major bowl bid in more than two decades. Now he's gone.
Gary Williams took the Maryland head coaching job in 1989 with the program still reeling from the death of Len Bias and the struggles under coach Bob Wade. Williams tenaciously rebuilt the basketball program with stars like Walt Williams, Joe Smith, Stevie Francis, Juan Dixon and Steve Blake.
Gary's teams always played hard and he is the only coach to ever win a national championship without a single McDonald's All American on the roster since its inception. Now he's gone.
Kevin Anderson is the Athletic Director in College Park now and he is feeling the pains of change.
"All due respect to Gary - I want to be a legend. I want to be the next Gary Williams at Maryland," Turgeon said late last week. The fans hope so too.
Mark Turgeon has a very solid resume, but he starts the season with only seven healthy scholarship players. He inherits a team which has lost four of its top five scorers from a year ago. Pe'shon Howard has a broken foot. Now he's gone.
Change is hard!