RALEIGH — Since she was named N.C. State's athletic director last year, former Maryland AD Debbie Yow has tried to downplay her fractured relationship with Terrapins basketball coach Gary Williams.
So much for that.
During a news conference to announce Mark Gottfried as the Wolfpack's new coach Tuesday, Yow accused Williams of trying to "sabotage" State's search. Williams denied it in a statement, saying anyone who said he had had contact with a coach "isn't being truthful."
So continues the contemptuous relationship between former employer and employee, who worked together for 16 often strained years.
The topic came up when Gottfried was asked about Yow's reputation of being difficult to work with, and what he thought of the Wolfpack fan base. The new coach answered the question about State fans, then Yow said:
"You guys, come on, I don't have a reputation across all men's basketball of being difficult to work with. I have a reputation of not getting along with Gary Williams, who has tried to sabotage the search. Come on. We all know that, OK? So, whatever. It's not a reputation. It's Gary Williams out there doing his thing. Whatever."
Asked if she had any examples of Williams' influence on the search, Yow said there would be someone else writing about that nationally.
Asked if Williams had any impact with any individual candidate - Yow said she interviewed four others before hiring Gottfried, and talked to others - she said, "no."
Williams replied in a prepared statement that he had no influence on who became the Pack's new coach.
"I haven't talked to anyone - coach or athletic director - connected to the N.C. State search," he said in the statement. "I don't have any interest in the N.C. State search, since I'm coaching at Maryland and working hard to run our program. Anyone who says I've had contact with a prospective coach or athletic director regarding this search isn't being truthful."
N.C. State trustee Jack Cozort said he had no knowledge of any interference by Williams but said he learned of Yow's concerns on the issue.
"If there is someone who interfered with our search process, I would share that concern, because that's just not the way you do things."
For his part, Gottfried - who has known Yow since he was a teenager - said he looks forward to working for his new boss.
"We go back to when I was a freshman in college at Oral Roberts and she was the basketball coach,'' he said. "And from that day till today, here's one thing that's certain: she wants to win, she wants to be great, she has a passion to win, and if you're a coach, that's what you want. That's exciting to me."
After the news conference, Yow emphasized again that she didn't have anything against Williams - saying that she nominated him for the Naismith Hall of Fame and to have the court at Maryland renamed in his honor.
Asked if she was making a joke with her sabotage statement, she said, "It's well known. I just said out loud what you all already know. Come on."
Staff writer Chip Alexander contributed to this report.
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