UM gives Williams 2-year extension

Coach's contract to June 2011 provides stability for incoming Terps recruits

November 10, 2006|By Heather A. Dinich | Heather A. Dinich,Sun Reporter

College Park -- Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams agreed to a two-year contract extension yesterday, which allows him to coach through June 2011 and likely assure the most recent recruiting classes that he will be around for their entire collegiate careers.

The previous agreement was to expire in June 2009, which meant that the two players who signed letters of intent yesterday - and two more expected today - might have had a coaching change during their junior seasons.

"There was no question in my mind that I was going to be there," Williams said. "I guess this is good because it's visible. We're going to have a good recruiting year for 2007 and hopefully 2008. It is good that you can say you're going to be there definitely for the next five years."

In December, Williams' yearly salary increased from $1.3 million to $1.6 million. Williams said he didn't ask for any more money in this extension.

"Financially, I have a good contract," he said. "I'm making what the coaches who have won national championships make."

There are added academic and athletic incentives, though, that leave open the possibility of one-year extensions through 2014.

In December 2005, Williams signed a contract that included several provisions. It guaranteed his contract would be extended by one year for each of the next four seasons if the team reaches the NCAA tournament and one of two academic standards are met: Maryland meets the annual NCAA academic progress rate (APR) cut score of 925, or the scholarship athletes on the team earn an average of 27 academic credits per year.

Williams also will receive bonuses if he graduates at least 50 percent of his players and finishes in the top half of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Last year, Maryland met the APR standing with a score of 949 out of 1,000, and had the worst graduation rate in the ACC.

The APR has not been released for this year, but it is the second time the university announced a change in Williams' contract the same day the NCAA released its graduation rates. The overall percentage for each institution was released yesterday, but the team rates were released in September.

Those numbers showed that for the second straight year under the NCAA's new formula for calculating graduation rates, the men's basketball team had a graduation success rate of 18 percent for freshmen entering school between 1996 and 1999.

"Our men's basketball program is making progress academically, which is very much appreciated by the campus community," Maryland's director of athletics, Debbie Yow, said in a statement. "In fact, we anticipate that the majority of the seniors are on track to graduate by the end of the summer. Recruiting is going well, and there is every reason to believe that our team will soon return to the NCAA tournament."

Williams' record at Maryland is 355-191.

The Terps have failed to make the NCAA tournament two years in a row.

Maryland started the season 2-0 after wins this week in the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic and will host Florida A&M on Sunday at Comcast Center.

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

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