Chris Nevin, NAIOP-MD Treasurer, pictured with Gary Williams.


Former University of Maryland head basketball coach Gary Williams entertained a sell-out crowd of more than 400 commercial real estate professionals at the NAIOP Maryland annual Holiday Luncheon, held at Four Seasons Baltimore telling the audience, “I was always described as a player with a big heart and who always hustled. That is typically the description of someone that cannot shoot.” Ashley Powell, chairman of NAIOP who works for Bentall Kennedy in San Francisco, also addressed the crowd, as did Brendan Gill, President of NAIOP Maryland.

Williams began his speech by describing the winning shot that enabled the University of Maryland to defeat the University of Connecticut in an NCAA tournament game, which propelled the team to the Final Four and the school’s first National Championship in basketball. Williams designed one play but, in the huddle, point guard Steve Blake (who did not have a basket all game at that point) changed it to a sequence in which Blake would shoot the ball. “He shot a knuckleball,” Williams said. “It hit the glass, then the rim, then the glass and finally the rim and went in. We won the game. A reporter after the game complimented me on drawing up a great play. I thanked him and said I knew Blake was due to make one.”

Williams traced his coaching career which began in high school, progressed to college in which he was tricked into also coaching the men’s soccer program, and then to Division I universities such as Boston College, The Ohio State University and finally the University of Maryland. He spoke with emotion when recalling the recruitment of Juan Dixon and, most recently, how Dixon re-connected with the father he never knew. While coaching the basketball team at American University, Williams submitted to a research test that hooked him up to electrodes that tracked his brain waves and heart rate while coaching a game.

“How did I do?” he asked after the experiment. “You don’t want to know,” came the reply. “Funny,” he said. “I was always very calm in the locker room before the game. As soon as the ball was tossed up to start the game, I was soaked. I don’t know what happens.”

Brendan Gill provided a recap of 2016 NAIOP Maryland activities which included the execution of twenty different events, which were attended by nearly 2000 professionals. The commercial real estate association now has more than 390 members, which is the largest in its history. “Our Legislative Committee also reviewed or provided testimony on more than 500 bills last year,” he said.