ESPN is reporting some verbal jabs between former-Maryland Athletic Director Debbie Yow, who now holds the same position at NC State, and Terps’ head basketball coach Gary Williams. Yow came out and accused Williams of sabotaging the NC State coaching search. As a diehard Terps fan growing up, I have some familiarity with this rivalry between the two. Gary never liked Yow meddling in his program while she was the AD there. There was a feeling that Yow did not appreciate the basketball program, which drove and more-or-less funded the entire athletic program, nearly as much as she should have.
Williams had a point, as Yow always seemed more interested to talk about the Women’s Soccer team than the basketball squad, but he also has been known to be hyper-sensitive about his program. Gary is one of these coaches who believes the arena should be packed every night no matter who the opponent is. In the early games of the season where they play the Morgan States of the world, you’ll hear Williams gripe a little bit about lack of attendance. Their rivalry came to a head in 2008 when Williams ripped into Yow for, in his mind at least, being instrumental in losing big-time recruits Gus Gilchrist and Tyree Evans. Not long after that Yow took off for NC State, presumably leaving Williams a very happy man.
I don’t think Yow had many fans at Maryland while she was there. Maybe a lot of that had to do with fans siding with Gary blindly, but I’ve talked to a few Maryland boosters in the past, and there was definitely a sense that Yow did not understand which teams were bringing money in for the school. There were definitely some issues between her and Ralph Friedgen as well. Look, I understand that an athletic program is more than just football and basketball, but as an AD in major college sports you have to realize that without successful football and basketball programs, you’re going to have major problems. Yow thought, and I’m sure still thinks, that as the AD, she’s the boss and guys like Gary Williams and Ralph Friedgen should do as they are told and fall in line. Look at how it worked out for her at Maryland?
To comment on this latest scrap between the two, I can’t imagine Gary Williams is going out there and sabotaging NC State’s coaching search. Maryland fans will tell you that Gary is hardly motivated to get out there and hit the recruiting trail these days–too much golf to play. But you’re telling me that he’s going to put the effort in just to mess with his former boss? I know NC State is in the same conference and everything, but have you seen the product they’ve put out on the court the last few years? I don’t think he sees them as a huge threat at this point. If I had to guess, Yow was probably targeting someone who asked Williams for his assessment on the way Yow runs a program and he spoke his mind. This whole thing exemplifies a major problem that people had with Yow at Maryland, though, and that is that she never wanted to take any responsibility for anything herself and always pass the buck. It will be interesting to see how long she lasts down in Raleigh.