Maryland head basketball coach Mark Turgeon and the school have mutually decided to part ways. It’s always considered a “mutual” fracture of relations when it involves a coach lacking melanin.
This move has been brewing for a few seasons as the growing sentiment in the College Park community is that the team has continuously underachieved. Numerous players transferring didn’t help the program’s stability either.
The Terrapins came into the season ranked in the Top 25 at No. 21, but a slow start, including losses to George Mason and Va. Tech at home, sealed Turgeon’s fate.
NCAA Tourney Legend Gets The Gig
First-year assistant and Kansas legend Danny Manning will fill in as the interim coach for the remainder of the season.
Maryland AD Damon Evans had this to say about the sudden move on Friday
“After a series of conversations with Coach Turgeon, we agreed that a coaching change was the best move for Coach Turgeon and for the Maryland Men’s Basketball program. He has dedicated over a decade of his life to the University of Maryland, and has coached with distinction and honor. He leaves College Park as the 2020 Big Ten Conference champion and with more than 225 victories. He’s a great coach and a great person, and I wish Mark, his wife Ann and his entire family all the best in the next chapter of their lives.”
Turgeon echoed those sentiments.
“Maryland Basketball has been my passion and my focus for the last ten seasons, and I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished. It is through the combined effort and commitment from our coaches and players, both past and present, that we have sustained consistent success in a sport that is ultra-competitive. I am extremely grateful to have worked with each and every one of you.”
“It has truly been an honor to be the men’s basketball coach at the University of Maryland.”
Lack Of Postseason Success Didn’t Satisfy The UMD Brass
Turgeon amassed a 226-116 record while in College Park. That’s an average of roughly 22 wins and just 11 losses per season. His teams made five of the last six NCAA Tourneys, but only advanced to the Sweet 16 once.
For a program that prides itself on being a basketball power to consistently fail to advance past the first round of March Madness consistently reflects poorly on the leadership.
Also there’s been questions about Turgeon’s recruiting prowess.
With prep powerhouse DeMatha a mile and a half away, the Terps haven’t had a player sign with them from there since 2004 (Travis Garrison).
Even during the Gary Williams golden era, players from DeMatha and other DMV prep powers chose to play elsewhere for college.
In fact, last year there was a big debate about Michigan center Hunter Dickinson a DeMatha grad, who said Maryland was his dream school. But even after he said that, he reiterated that they never really showed much interest in the talented 7-footer.
Imagine if the two HM programs in the DMV actually recruited kids in this area for basketball… They’d be top 5 in the country every year
— Hunter Dickinson (@H_Dickinson24) June 8, 2020
None of this helped Turgeon’s cause as the head coach of a premier basketball program.
Who’s Next To Lead The Terps?
Manning was the head coach at Wake Forest prior to joining the UMD this season. He’s also had a stop at Tulsa as head coach. With a seasoned head coach like Manning waiting in the shadows, this move is not surprising. He’ll have every opportunity to keep the job for the rest of the season and beyond.
— Mark Turgeon (@CoachTurgeon) April 26, 2021
There will be other brand name candidates, such as Iona head coach Rick Pitino, who’s won everywhere including national championships at Kentucky and Louisville.
Then there’s Juan Dixon, arguably the greatest Terp ever, who led the program to it’s only national championship in 2002. He’s currently leading the Coppin State men’s basketball program.
Congrats to Juan Dixon and Coppin State on winning the MEAC Northern Division Championship! pic.twitter.com/sfc3Yk4ET5
— Maryland Men’s Basketball (@TerrapinHoops) March 2, 2021
They’ll be other prominent names to enter the fold, but right now it’s Manning’s show. Former head coach Gary Williams had this to say to about the next head coach at UMD:
Gary Williams on Maryland moving forward:
"The next coach has to take it to that national level. Maryland wants to be a force. I know there's a lot of great young coaches out there — I'm not saying those guys should be the next coach. It takes somebody that has the energy." https://t.co/IdPNB3dYkw
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 3, 2021
Whoever takes over the program on a full-time basis will have to get the relationship with the area prep programs back on solid ground. And that begins with the DeMatha Stags.
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