Yow calls ACC over ejection Technical knockout of Williams at Duke concerns Maryland AD

Said 'he used no profanity'

Clemson, Terps run-ins follow refs' crackdown

January 31, 1998|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow declined to comment on the relationship between basketball coach Gary Williams and officials in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but she was concerned enough about the topic to talk to the commissioner of the ACC yesterday.

Two days after the ACC issued a warning about sportsmanship and a day after Clemson was whistled for a conference-record 41 fouls, the Terps were charged with four technicals in 95 seconds of the first half of Thursday's 86-59 loss at No. 1 Duke. The middle two were charged to Williams, who became the first coach in ACC history to be ejected in successive seasons.

"I met with Coach Williams, and I reviewed the film of the game against Duke," Yow said. "I also called and talked with Commissioner [John] Swofford, and he was very receptive to the concerns I voiced. Commissioner Swofford indicated to me that he would like to continue that dialogue, after he has gathered additional information."

Asked about the possibility of a rift between Williams and officials, Yow said, "For me to comment on that, I would have to comment on the officiating, and that would be in violation of ACC rules."

Asked about official Larry Rose's comment that "I warned Gary three times about cursing and he continued," Yow said, "I would suggest that you talk to Coach Williams. He has indicated to me that he used no profanity when he was talking to the officials."

Yow said she was planning no disciplinary action against Williams.

Williams declined several requests for interviews yesterday. The Terps play Virginia tomorrow (4 p.m.) at Cole Field House, and Williams is expected to talk to the media today.

Williams is among the most demonstrative coaches in the ACC, a league in which there have been only 10 coaching ejections since the conference was formed in 1953. Williams has been heard using profanity during his nine-year career at Maryland, but after his ejection he said "no abusive language was used." His comments were contradicted by Rose and Sam Croft, who ejected Williams with only 5: 51 gone.

Williams seemed chastened after his ejection, which occurred in the middle of a 28-4 Duke run that gave the Blue Devils their second rout of the Terps this season. Several Duke players said that the officials warned them about their behavior before the game, but any such talk appeared lost on Maryland.

It was the second straight game in the ACC in which the officials played a key role. Wednesday at North Carolina, six Clemson players fouled out -- leaving the Tigers to finish with four players -- as coach Rick Barnes continued his running feud with the Tar Heels.

Barnes, who later apologized for an exchange he had with North Carolina forward Ademola Okulaja on Wednesday night, was an assistant to Williams at Ohio State. Asked if he had talked to Barnes before the Terps' game against Duke, Williams paused four seconds before answering, "I'd rather not talk about that."

Fred Barakat, coordinator of men's basketball officials for the ACC, Big South and Colonial Athletic Association, issued a one-page memorandum three days ago to coaches and officials in all three leagues.

Sent on ACC letterhead, the memo warned that taunting, profanity, trash-talking and complaints about calls were excessive both on the court and on the bench, and that coaches had to do a better job of policing themselves and their players.

"It wasn't anything new, just a clarification of existing guidelines," said Brian Morrison, an ACC spokesman. "It [the memo] asked the coaches to clean up their benches, and pay extra attention to what was going on on the floor.

"It was meant to keep under control excessive celebration on the sideline. We've had players on the bench jumping up and down, coming out on the court after a dunk. Players were beginning to interact with fans on the road. Basically, it [the memo] said, let's maintain better decorum on the bench."

Morrison added that the memo asked coaches to "work with players to not overreact after being called for a foul. We felt

coaches needed to pay more attention to that."

There was speculation about the timing of the memo, which was issued the day before Clemson played at North Carolina. Barakat, the ACC's assistant commissioner in charge of officials, was not available to comment, but last week he told the Raleigh News & Observer that he had spoken to North Carolina officials about a lack of decorum involving Tar Heels players.

North Carolina's overtime win at Georgia included a player on the Tar Heels' bench standing on a chair and beating his chest. When the Tar Heels won at N.C. State last season, they didn't leave the floor at Reynolds Coliseum in timely fashion.

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