No dice on UNLV: Williams content

Coach restates pledge to Terps amid rumors

Ncaa Tournament

March 20, 2001|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

COSTA MESA, Calif. - As his name was linked to the Nevada-Las Vegas coaching vacancy, Gary Williams affirmed his satisfaction with his job as men's basketball coach at Maryland yesterday.

"I'm coach at Maryland, period," Williams said, adding at one point, "This will be a one-day story."

Three days before the Terps play Georgetown in the West Regional semifinals in Anaheim, a report on the CBS Sportsline Web site said that an agent of Williams was in Las Vegas to receive a $1 million salary offer for Williams to take the job at UNLV, where Bill Bayno was fired in mid-season.

The report also said that Rob Ades, who was unavailable to comment, had been speaking with UNLV officials for the past week. Williams denied that he was interested in the job and that Ades was his agent.

Williams, speaking from the team's hotel about an hour south of Los Angeles, said he was happy with his job, which - after a contract renegotiation in 1998 - pays him a guaranteed annual salary of about $675,000 (with incentives that could reach nearly $1 million for a national championship) in a deal that runs through 2008.

"Not to sound cocky, but I don't interview for jobs," Williams said. "I haven't had any type of interview at all for another job, and that's 12 years. I think that's how I feel about the university."

Ades has represented high-profile coaches such as St. John's Mike Jarvis. Williams said he once was represented by Ades, but not for the past two years.

"I don't have an agent," Williams said. "I know Rob Ades. He's not my agent. Don McCartney's my lawyer."

UNLV athletic director Charles Cavagnaro said he had lunch with Ades yesterday, but made no offer to him on behalf of any coach. He also said he called Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow to assure her that he wasn't trying to lure Williams to Las Vegas.

"Today I had lunch with Rob Ades, an attorney who represents a number of college basketball coaches, as he was passing through Las Vegas on his way back to Washington, D.C.," Cavagnaro said in a statement. "We talked about a variety of college basketball issues and a number of college basketball coaches. There were no discussions held relating to any job offer. No offer was extended to anyone at any time.

"In addition, I spoke with University of Maryland athletics director Deborah Yow to let her know that there were no discussions of an offer. It is inappropriate for me to comment on anything further regarding the search for a head basketball coach at UNLV at this time."

Williams said he first heard of the reports yesterday morning, when calls began flooding the line at his hotel.

By 3 p.m. local time, Williams and Yow released written statements attesting to the coach's lack of interest in the UNLV job.

Williams acknowledged such a move would have been more plausible during the transient beginnings of his career, when he coached at four colleges in 12 years. He worked at American University, Boston College and Ohio State from 1978 to 1989 before taking the Maryland job.

Said Williams, who has a record of 447-266 in 23 years: "I'm older. When I was young, I kept moving. Now ... I feel secure and I feel comfortable."

Yow's statement said: "Coach Williams indicated earlier today that he has no interest in the coaching position at UNLV, and he intends to fulfill the terms of his contract at the University of Maryland.

"The length and financial terms of his contract were renegotiated in 1998 to ensure that he would be able to finish his coaching career at Maryland. That contract runs through 2008."

The coach lamented the report's timing. His team is already under scrutiny as a threat to make the Final Four and will play the Hoyas - a Capital Beltway rival - for the first time since 1993.

Williams said he didn't know for sure his players had heard about the reports. The players were unavailable to comment, but Williams said he would address the issue during yesterday's practice.

"You just deal with it and move on," Williams said. "I'm just going to mention it to them before practice - say, `You're stuck with me.' A couple of guys might say, `That Vegas job looks pretty good, Coach.' "

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