Mark Turgeon Heads To MarylandPosted by nvr1983 on May 9th, 2011
After what appeared to be the beginning of a long coaching search Maryland is set to announce that Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon will be its next head coach. This Friday’s announcement that Terrapin legend Gary Williams was retiring shocked the college basketball world and put the program in a tough position of having to fill an opening in one of the premier coaching positions in America after many of the top potential replacements had signed extensions with their schools in the month and a half since the Final Four.
The Terrapins initially went after Sean Miller, Brad Stevens, and Mike Brey, but all three turned them down with Miller and Brey getting contract extensions as a result of Maryland’s pursuit. At that point it appeared like Maryland might be headed for a coaching search that would mirror NC State‘s albeit without the theatrics of a Debbie Yow-like character. In the end, they turned to the state of Texas where they were able to land a solid coach in Mark Turgeon, who might lack the “wow” factor of some other candidates (particularly Stevens), but has managed to compile an impressive resume at Wichita State and Texas A&M. After serving his time as an assistant coach at Kansas and Oregon followed by a short NBA stint, Turgeon’s head coaching career began with an unimpressive start at Jacksonville State, but he quickly recovered to turn Wichita State into one of the best mid-major teams in the country culminating in a Sweet 16 appearance in 2006. Although Turgeon was unable to get the Aggies to a Sweet 16, he did manage to maintain the program at the level that Billy Gillispie brought it to before his ill-fated move to Kentucky and keep it as one of the best in the Big 12.
While Maryland is certainly a more prestigious position for a basketball coach than Texas A&M it is likely that Turgeon will be taking a step down in terms of his new team next season as the Aggies are primed for a run while the Terrapins will be in rebuilding mode especially after Jordan Williams officially entered the NBA Draft. Details on Turgeon’s contract are sparse at this time, but it appears to be worth $2.5 million per year although it is unclear if that is his base salary or max if he hits all of his incentives. In any event his base salary will probably be significantly above the $1.5 million per year he earned at Texas A&M.
The big question for Turgeon and the Terrapins will be whether he can keep the recruits that Williams recruited and whether he can regain control over recruiting in the DC metro area, a point that Williams has been criticized for failing to do in recent years. The area around DC and Baltimore is an area fertile with basketball talent (Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley are two of the most prominent names in recent years that Williams failed to land) and should be a primary point of focus for Turgeon, which Maryland boosters will be sure to point out as soon as Turgeon gets to College Park. If Turgeon is able to control the area’s recruiting he could quickly turn around a Maryland program that has floundered in recent years and make a name for himself even if he will never be able to replace Gary Williams in the hearts of Maryland fans.