Gary Williams reflects on time spent in Cole Field House
COLLEGE PARK--Gary Williams walked into Room 0100 in Cole Field House, tucked away in an upper hallway of the building, to take questions from the media on Friday night.
It is a cramped room with lightly colored walls, packed with small desks that used to, in part, host study halls for athletes in this program.
Williams sat down at the microphone in front of the room and laid his hands out on the table, his ruby red national championship ring now in plain sight.
“You can all relax now. It’s not after a game,” he said with a laugh.
This was the more relaxed, reserved Williams, the one who has become comfortable and content with his post-coaching career in broadcasting, away from the ruckus of Cole Field House but marveling at the building’s reanimation on Friday.
“There’s things that happen, you watch games and you get into it or whatever,” Williams said. “I coached for 44 years. I was really lucky...I was really tired. Just mentally and physically beat when I resigned.”
Williams has since done work with Comcast SportsNet and the Big Ten Network, as well as some radio work.
“It keeps you involved with the game, you have to follow it,” he said. “You look at it from a distance.”
But Williams was able to rid himself of that distance on Friday night, sitting courtside a few seats down from fellow former coach Lefty Driesell, and watch as current coach Mark Turgeon address the crowd at the event Driesell invented and Williams perfected.
He didn’t ride in on a motorcycle or in a sportscar or in an armored tank like he had at previous Midnight Madness festivities.
He simply walked in, side-by-side with Driesell, and that would suffice this night.
“This place should be remembered.”