A surprise retirement announced Thursday was a blow to some Members of Congress. But it wasn’t a departure that would roil electoral politics — rather, the word that the University of Maryland men’s basketball coach wouldn’t return next season was the reason for bittersweet sentiments among members of the Old Line State delegation.
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D), whose district includes College Park, where Gary Williams coached for 22 seasons, paid tribute to the winning Terp. “Gary Williams has done an exceptional job as the Head Coach of the University of Maryland men’s basketball team, leading the alma mater we both know and love to a position of national prominence,” Hoyer boasted in a Friday statement. “I wish him the very best.”
Other Maryland lawmakers chimed in.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) recalled in a statement meeting Williams when they were both undergraduate athletes at the school, Williams on the basketball team and Ruppersberger on the lacrosse squad. “Having season tickets with my family for 20-plus years, I have enjoyed the opportunity to watch the Terps’ triumphs and disappointments over the years, but I have especially enjoyed watching Gary’s passion for the sport and the young men who play it,” he said.
In two Friday tweets, Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D) hailed Williams, calling his retirement “end of an era.” In another, he wished the longtime coach the best. “Enjoy Retirement and GO TERPS!”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.