Thursday, March 19, 2009

Williams to Paper: "Hey WaPo, how my ass taste now?"

I don't think one first-round tournament win can completely vindicate a coach, but Maryland's Gary Williams has certainly made the Washington Post look really stupid.

Again--I have no dog in this fight. But I do find it curious that the big local paper would launch something approximating a crusade against Williams. Did the institution ever go after Georgetown's John Thompson in a similar manner? Local Hoya fans would know better than I do, but my sense is that they did not. Even during his latter years when Thompson was driving the program into a ditch. And I'd argue that Thompson's Georgetown program and Williams's UMD program were roughly equivalent: clean, up from nothing jobs with several Final Fours and a national championship.

The difference, of course, is that Thompson was, without a doubt, one of the worst coaches ever to work the bigs. Seriously: Has any Div. I coach ever gotten so little from so much talent?

But Thompson was, for a variety of non-basketball reasons, untouchable. When his son was hired, I said to VLM, "I hope he's good. Because even if he stinks, you can't ever get rid of him."

I was (kind of) joking at the time. But now I'm not so sure. This is a serious question for the Hoya Paranoia crowd: Let's grant that it is entirely too early to declare Thompson the Younger a failure. He's already got a Final Four appearance under his belt and even the best coaches how down years. But just for the sake of argument, how bad would the Hoyas have to get for Thompson to lose his job?

Would a string of NIT berths with the occasional first- or second-round NCAA result be enough to keep him ensconced? I suspect that it would. And I'd bet that even with that sort of mediocrity the Post would never dare campaign against him the way it did Williams.

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