Last week, Diamond wrote a post detailing the minor dust-up at Maryland over the future of the Comcast Center court's name. Maryland officials and many fans were eager to name the floor after beloved former coach Gary Williams, who retired in May. But according to the Baltimore Sun, some fans wondered whether Lefty Driesell -- the father of modern Maryland basketball and an iconic coach in his own right -- didn't deserve the floor-naming honor himself.
It appears the discussion is now over. Today, Maryland announced it would dedicate the Comcast Center court to Williams in a ceremony on Dec. 9. The recommendation was made by university president Wallace D. Loh, unanimously approved by the school's Facilities Naming Committee, the Chair of the Alumni Association Board of Governors and Chair of the Board of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, and then approved by chancellor William "Brit" Kirwan. Controversial, this was not:
"Gary has been a faithful alumnus, a highly successful and iconic figure in men's college basketball across the nation, a fierce competitor, and a tireless fundraiser on behalf of student scholarships," said Loh. "He has been the face of Maryland men's basketball for more than 22 years. Gary led the Terps out of historic Cole Field House into the Comcast Center. I can think of no better way to recognize his success and his contributions to the University of Maryland than by naming the floor of the basketball court in Comcast Center in his honor."
Throughout his tenure, few coaches seemed to connect with fans quite as well as Williams. He was beloved not only for his success at Maryland, but for his clear dedication to his alma mater and his oft-cited desire to avoid the seedier aspects of the college basketball business. That endeared him to fans even when his post-2002 teams struggled.
The Driesell issue still remains, but one would assume the school can find an appropriate way to pay homage to its former coach -- a statue, a practice facility, something. Whatever the solution, it's difficult to argue that Williams -- the winningest coach in school history, and the winner of the school's only national championship -- didn't deserve his name on the court.
It's a wholly symbolic move, but it's a meaningful one all the same. Yeah, I'm betting the Comcast Center gets a little dusty on Dec. 9. Just a hunch.