David A. Vise has helped to put Gary William's words and feelings to print in retelling the riches-to-rags-to-riches story of Maryland basketball over the past 20+ years. Maryland's basketball program, full of proud history and lofty accomplishments, was touched by death, scandal, and frustration before rising phoenix-like out of the ashes to college basketball's highest glory, the NCAA championship.
In the mid 80's, the program reaches rock bottom in the wake of Len Bias' cocaine induced death, NCAA sanctions against the program, and eroding confidence by the school and its supporters. Gary Williams, an alumnus and former player is embrolled in the scandal not of his own making. With hard work and confidence in his own ability to coach at college basketballs highest level, coach Williams restores the program to national prominence only to be thwarted on the sports highest stage.
Maryland reaches the Final Four for the first time ever in 2000 and is on the brink of winning until questionable officiating seems to aid bitter rival Duke in overcoming a 23 point first half deficit to nip Maryland the advance to meet Arizona for the national title. Rather than allow dispair or resentment to ruin the spirit of a championship caliber team, coach Williams challenges his players to respond to the task at hand. They come through in style losing only 4 games all season either on the road or at neutral sites before they make one of the most incredible runs through the NCAA tournament in 2001. The Terrapins play 5 past NCAA champions and the highest seeds possible to reach the championship against Indiana. They win a gritty and defensive minded Hoosiers team 64-52 in a game not as close as the final score would indicate.
This report prepared by David Fletcher