faceoff: who's on the hotter seat, gary williams or ralph friedgen?

Ball and burden in Gary's court

August 27, 2008|By DAVID STEELE

To answer your question, no, it is not too much to ask a team that has won a national championship to reach the NCAA tournament in more than half of the next six seasons.

That is Gary Williams' fault. He raised that bar. Without 2002, or the Final Four in 2001, he would have much more reasonable expectations to live with.

That's what separates the disappointments of Ralph Friedgen's Terps football program from those of Williams' men's basketball program. Friedgen actually buys himself some slack for not taking them into Florida State territory. Williams set the Duke-North Carolina stratosphere as the target and then reached it.

You almost can't blame fans for being spoiled; they might not have liked simply returning to the two- and three-round NCAA stays from pre-2001. Regression, though, was out of the question.

Hot seat? Williams lit the flame six years ago. More National Invitation Tournament trips aren't going to cool it. The football folks hope for excellence. The basketball-heads have been there and can't stomach the alternative.

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