NEW ORLEANS, LA and SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today, at NBA All-Star Weekend, that former Maryland head coach Gary Williams is a finalist to be considered for election in 2014.
"We are very excited and proud that Gary Williams was named a finalist for the Naismith Hall of Fame," said director of athletics Kevin Anderson. "For all of his significant accomplishments, Gary deserves to be recognized along side the greatest contributors to the game of basketball. We are confident that all of Terp Nation will be able to celebrate with Gary in Springfield."
"This is a tremendous and very well deserved honor," said head coach Mark Turgeon. "Gary's record speaks for itself. He won a national championship and in my mind he is a Hall of Famer. This is a great day for Gary and the University of Maryland."
"I am so happy for Coach," said Juan Dixon. "He turned around a program and led us to a national championship. Coach is a great motivator, teacher, my mentor, and most importantly a father figure. I know this is a dream come true and is very well deserved for someone who gave so much to the game of basketball.
Hall of Fame finalist recognition is a career highlight for many in the sport of basketball. This year’s list includes first-time finalists: three-time NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson, seven-time NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning and 1994 Naismith, NABC Coach of the Year Nolan Richardson, four-time National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton and Immaculata University’s AIAW National Championship teams of the early 1970s. Previous finalists included again this year for consideration are five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, four-time NBA All-Star Spencer Haywood, six-time AAU National Champion Coach Harley Redin and six-time NBA All-Star Mitch Richmond. The Class of 2014 will be unveiled at the NCAA Final Four in April.
“We are proud to present a distinguished group of finalists for the Class of 2014 who have made huge strides in the game of basketball,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “Each finalist has made a difference to the game in their own way. It’s not going to be easy for the Honors Committee to select the final class members.”
The complete list of eight finalists from the North American Screening Committee include: players Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Kevin Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Mitch Richmond and coaches Nolan Richardson, Eddie Sutton and Gary Williams. From the Women’s Screening Committee: Harley Redin and Immaculata University.
The Class of 2014 will be announced on Monday, April 7 at a press conference in North Texas prior to the NCAA Men’s Championship game. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2014 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Mass. in August.
GARY WILLIAMS [Coach] - As head coach of the University of Maryland from 1990-2011, Williams led the team to 11 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (1994-2004), a National Championship in 2002, an ACC Tournament championship in 2004 and was enshrined into the University of Maryland Sports Hall of Fame and University of Maryland Alumni Hall of Fame. Williams was named Coach of the Year from Basketball America, Playboy, CBSsportsline.com, District and the ACC. He compiled an overall coaching record of 668-380 (.637) and led his teams to seven 25-win seasons and 22 appearances in postseason play.