Gary Williams Talks Baskets on DC Coaches Basketball Podcast


Gary Williams laid the groundwork for his Hall of Famer career at American University, which got him his first job as a college head coach in 1978 at the age of 33. Almost half a century later, Williams’ legacy and the friendships he forged there four seasons in northwest Washington live on in the form of an entertaining and informative basketball podcast with a devoted following.

For the past six years, Williams, who retired from coaching in 2011 after winning 461 games and a national title in 22 seasons in Maryland, has co-hosted the DC Coaches Basketball Podcast with Gordon Austin, Chris Knoche and longtime NBA executive Ed ‘ moderated Tapscott. Austin and Knoche both played for Williams at American; Tapscott was on Williams’ staff while he was in law school. Jimmy Patsos, Williams’ assistant in Maryland for 13 seasons before coaching in Loyola, Md. and Siena, joined the show in 2020.

“It reminds me of a bunch of guys who get together for lunch every Friday,” Williams said of the permissiveness of the podcast, in which the quintet covers current local and national (as well as college and pro) basketball issues. “That’s basically what we do. There is technical basketball [talk] every now and then, which is good, but it’s also for fans of the game who aren’t really into it but love basketball.”

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The show, which releases a new episode every week from October through April, was conceived by radio veteran Bob Snyder, former general manager of WTEM-AM in DC and ESPN Radio in Chicago. Snyder, who founded podcast publisher Hometown Podcasts in 2017, was a freshman at American, Williams in the fall of 1981, his final season at school before being hired by Boston College. Snyder met Williams, Austin, Knoche and Tapscott as a student play-by-play announcer for American basketball games on WAMU.

The coaches recorded the first episode of the podcast in October 2017 at Chatter, the Friendship Heights restaurant formerly known as Chadwick’s that Tony Kornheiser and a group of partners including Maury Povich, Alan Bubes and Williams bought earlier in the year. Chatter was discontinued in 2019, but the show has continued and recently surpassed 100 episodes.

Most episodes these days are recorded via Zoom to accommodate the hosts’ varied travel plans. Last week’s show featured Knoche, who was head coach at American from 1990-1997 and has served as color analyst on the Maryland men’s basketball broadcasts alongside Johnny Holliday since 1999, with the Terrapins at the Big Ten tournament in Chicago on location. Patsos signed on from the SEC tournament in Nashville, and Tapscott, who succeeded Williams as coach at American before becoming a coach and manager in the NBA, had a scouting assignment for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The format of the podcast hasn’t changed much in six years. Thanks in large part to Williams’ dedication and the connections he’s forged throughout his career, high-profile coaches set to appear since the show’s 2021 guest interview include Tom Izzo, Roy Williams, Jay Wright, Bob Huggins and Tommy Amaker segment has introduced and Chris Collins, among others.

Knoche serves as the podcast’s point guard. He adeptly maneuvers the conversation when necessary, but also knows when to let one of his co-hosts or a guest stray, which often leads to the most interesting material. Preparation for each show is minimal.

“You don’t think about it,” Knoche said. “None of these guys are shriveled violets, they all have great stories, they all have their own perspectives. Sometimes I just feel like throwing a jump ball up and see who catches it or where it lands. … We’re not afraid to go down a rabbit hole.”

With more than 100 seasons of basketball coaching experience among them, there is no shortage of opinions on any topic.

“Everyone brings something a little different, but Gary is the one who makes it work,” Knoche said. “On the few shows he’s missed, there’s utter anarchy when he’s gone. It’s like there’s a substitute teacher in charge, and that’s me. It can be a mess.”

Case in point: when Williams missed taping an episode last month because he was in Ohio to watch his granddaughter play for Wright State, Patsos, who is mostly the target of the ribs of his former fellow coaches, made an impression of his friend and Mentor admonishes him for not paying enough attention to what happened at a recent game in Maryland.

“It’s a great way for me to catch up as I get older,” Williams, 78, said of the podcast, which is available on all major platforms and also airs Friday nights on ESPN 630. “Hopefully I’m not repeating the same story too many times, which I’m sure these guys would remind me of. If you hear current coaches talking about NIL or the transfer portal, that’s great for me because I have my own opinion, but I’m not in it.”

According to Snyder, whose company also published the Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier podcast “On the Road with Buck and Phil,” the podcast averages about 2,500 downloads per episode.

“I can’t say I listen to every podcast or network basketball show across the country, but if there’s one more insightful than this one — specifically about the college game, but also, based on Ed’s opinions, about the pro game — I do.” ‘ I’d like to hear it because it has to be pretty good,” he said.

Ahead of the taping of their NCAA tournament preview, due out Thursday morning, Williams and Knoche shared some thoughts on this year’s Maryland bracket and draw, including a possible second-round game against Alabama, No. 1 overall in Birmingham. Should the 8th-seeded Terps survive No. 9 West Virginia in the first round, Williams and Knoche believe Maryland’s Big Ten plan, including a win over No. 1-seeded Purdue, against Kevin Willard’s team the Crimson Tide will serve well.

“The Big Ten is a conference full of great home advantage,” said Knoche. “Playing Alabama in their backyard is no more daunting than playing Purdue at Mackey [Arena] or Indiana at Assembly Hall. … And the pressure at that point is all on Alabama.”

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Elsewhere, Williams said third-seeded Gonzaga could benefit from being a little more under the radar this year than in recent seasons, and he wouldn’t want to be Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett, who is preparing for a first-round match against 12th prepared -set VCU.

On selection Sunday, Knoche’s biggest worry was that Maryland would play Utah State, where his daughter Kelsey is in her second season on Coach Ryan Odom’s staff as the men’s basketball director.

“I don’t think I would show up at the game,” joked Knoche.

Instead, the Aggies earned a No. 10 seed and a first-round date with No. 7 Missouri, averting a family crisis. While a Maryland-Utah showdown would have made excellent fodder for next week’s podcast, the coaches won’t be short of things to talk about. Gary Williams Talks Baskets on DC Coaches Basketball Podcast

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