For many people in the area, former Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams always will be the gold standard. Every coach -- starting with Mark Turgeon -- will be judged by Williams' success in College Park.
Even though he's done with coaching, Williams isn't done with college basketball. He inked a deal to serve as an analyst for Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. He will appear on "SportsNet Central" as well as "SportsTalk Live," and he also will contribute to the network's digital media platforms, which are led by CSNWashington.com and CSNBaltimore.com.
On Wednesday, Williams talked about his new job -- which he already has started -- and the present state of college basketball.
Why did you pick CSN?
Williams » "Last season I did some work with the Big Ten Network. I had a great deal of fun, and I had other offers for this season. But when Comcast called, it was a perfect fit for me. I have had a long and comfortable relationship with them. It started with my role in covering golf with CSN, and then I did weekly shows while I was the coach at Maryland. I know most of the on-air staff as well as the talented production team, so when they asked I was very happy to become part of the network."
What do you enjoy most about watching college basketball as an analyst?
"I just love college basketball. It is one of the best sports for viewers to watch because of the outstanding competition, the passion of the fans, the players and the coaches. You also have the element of surprise going for you. No matter how great or highly ranked the program, the underdog always has the ability to pull off the upset. So you really never know what's going to happen from one game to the next, and that makes this sport so exciting and gives coaches grey hair."
What is something that has changed for the good in college basketball?
Williams » "I coached in three of the biggest power conferences in the country: the ACC, Big East and Big Ten. They used to dominate the NCAA tournament, and to an extent they still do, but we are seeing more teams like George Mason, VCU, Butler, Gonzaga and San Diego State coming into the tournament each year and advancing. So each year more and more teams outside the power conferences make the Elite Eight or the Final Four, and that is great for college basketball."
Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.