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Maryland dedicates home court to Gary Williams

Wednesday - 1/25/2012, 9:33pm  ET

By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland's basketball court no longer has Gary Williams' sweat on it.

The hardwood does, however, have his name on its surface. Maybe forever.

In an emotional ceremony Wednesday night before the Terrapins faced No. 8 Duke, Maryland dedicated the floor at Comcast Center to Williams, the winningest coach in the history of the program.

After Williams entered the arena with his signature fist pump, the school unveiled two emblems on each end of the court.

Located near the visitor's bench and opposite the home bench, the markings have Williams' signature in black above the word COURT in red letters.

After the insignia was revealed in laser lights, the crowd chanted "Gary! Gary! Gary!" in appreciation for Williams, who retired in May after a 22-year run at his alma mater.

Williams thanked his former players and the crowd for their contribution to his success, and asked the fans to give his successor, Mark Turgeon, the same support.

Williams went 461-252 at Maryland, taking the team to two Final Fours and winning the 2002 national championship. The Terrapins made the NCAA tournament 14 times under his guidance.

He was known for his intensity on the bench, which often caused him to literally sweat through his suit.

Williams yelled, he led _ and he won.

He wore his championship ring to the event. Asked after the ceremony if he always wears it, Williams responded, "I only bring it out for big events. It doesn't get much bigger than this."

And the fist pump?

"It was great to do it one more time," he said. "That's the last time."

After coaching at American University and Ohio State, Williams came to Maryland in 1989 to assume control of a program burdened under the weight of NCAA sanctions. He built it into a national powerhouse and reached the zenith of his profession by defeating Indiana in 2002 for the school's first NCAA basketball championship.

"He took the program and made it what it is today," said Juan Dixon, the starting guard for that title team. "Coach Williams was able to do something special in 2002. It is a well-deserved honor for a great person and a great guy. I love him to death and I'm very happy for him."

Walt Williams, who starred for Gary Williams' early teams at Maryland, said, "It's great to be here to see this. Being with him in the beginning and ending like this is something so deserved. I'm just happy to be a part of it."


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)