Maryland court naming up for discussion

September, 9, 2011
9/09/11
2:23
PM ET
Hall of Fame coaches such as John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski and Lute Olson are among those who were honored by having courts named after them in the arenas where they led championship teams.

Maryland officials want the court at the Comcast Center named for Gary Williams as well, with university president Wallace Loh saying at the retirement news conference in May that he and athletic director Kevin Anderson would be recommending it to the school's board of regents.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the matter still needs to be discussed by the regents and that there are some who aren't sure that the court should be named for Williams, who led Maryland to a national championship in 2002.
Williams' supporters often use the word "icon" to describe him. "Gary has been an iconic figure both in Maryland basketball and in the university," said longtime Terrapin Club member and Williams backer Barry DesRoches.

"It should be done," DesRoches said of naming the court for the coach -- an honor bestowed upon former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins and former Arizona coach Lute Olson and his late wife, among others.

Those who question putting Williams' name on the court appear to be a small but potent minority. They argue that such a move could be unfair to others such as the retired coach Lefty Driesell, who was 348-159 in 18 Maryland seasons, and current women's basketball coach Brenda Frese, who -- like Williams -- won a national championship. Some say Maryland, eager for more athletic revenue in this difficult economy, should sell the court's naming rights to a corporate sponsor.

It's a touchy subject because Maryland has to honor Williams in a way that isn't a slight somebody else. Naming a court after him would mean future generations playing on the surface would recognize Williams as the primary figure for having taken the program to great heights.

Whatever the school does, the attention should be focused on the coach's accomplishments rather than any feelings of negativity.

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