Williams fires attorney over contract tactics

October 28, 1994|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Negotiations between the University of Maryland and basketball coach Gary Williams took an interesting twist, and perhaps a positive step toward a quick resolution yesterday.

After seeing negotiations played out as much in the news media as behind closed doors, Williams disclosed that he had fired the attorney he had brought in solely to help secure him a better deal and replaced him with the attorney who had negotiated his first two contracts with the university.

Williams was unhappy that the negotiations, which began two weeks ago, had become public and that Rob Ades, a Washington attorney who represents several big-name coaches, had been quoted last week in the Washington Times saying that the 49-year-old coach would entertain other offers if he hadn't agreed to a contract by Jan. 1.

"I think he [Ades] did a good job to get the process started, but we were going in different directions," Williams said yesterday before practice. "My style is not to do things like this in the newspapers and not threaten anything. It's a difference in philosophies."

Don McCartney, a Baltimore attorney who has represented Williams for 15 years, joined the negotiations with Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow on Wednesday. They met again yesterday and have scheduled another meeting on Sunday. Both characterized the discussions as "positive."

"I think it's fair to say that Gary wants to stay at Maryland and that Maryland wants him to stay," said McCartney. "We're working hard to reach that result."

Said Yow, "The talks have been productive and we are making progress, and that is it."

Maryland offered Williams a new seven-year contract last week that included a $50,000 raise and a $1 million term life insurance policy. Sources said that would put the value of Williams' deal at around $500,000, including his endorsement contract with Nike, his summer camp and his television-and-radio contract.

None of the parties involved would say if the package Ades was trying to get Williams still is being discussed. Among the reported demands was a 10-year contract with a $500,000 annuity paid when the contract expired. Williams has a revolving five-year deal that gives Maryland the option to add a year on at the end of each season.

Ades was unavailable for comment.

NOTES: Consensus preseason All-America Joe Smith limped off the practice floor last night with a jammed toe on his right foot. The injury, which the sophomore center said happened when he inadvertently kicked another player, did not appear to be serious.

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