Blog Entry

Is Mark Turgeon a good fit for Maryland?

Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 9:19 pm

Posted by Matt Norlander

UPDATE, 9:02 p.m. ET: Gary Parrish reporting that Mark Turgeon to Maryland is done and the school is expected to make an announcement before the night is over. Multiple reports confirm the information. With the hire, Texas A&M now has to scramble for a coach as soon as possible. Turgeon is likely to be a good fit with Maryland, and here's why ...

Whenever a Big Six head-coaching job opens up, there's a whirring and stirring in the hours and days that follow. Reporters chase leads, searching for a scoop with the names that get tossed in and out of the hopper. Seemingly innocent bystanders (those would be the coaches) become (wanted) trophies, leaders of to-be-built armies. Even if coaches don't want a job they're rumored to be targeted for, they love and invite the attention, for it builds their profile and, most of the time, ensures they get an extended contract and raise at their current school.

This motion of intensity and anxiety lasts for usually a week, then everyone except the school in question -- and its fans -- move on, subconsciously waiting for the news to break. When it does, reaction is met with a 24-hour shelf life of either approval, underwhelm, abstention or disinterest. Local talk radio tries to build an entire week's programming around it, and more power to them, but largely coaching hires don't have the gasoline to last for extended periods of time. (North Carolina State fans, boast the fact that you are the exception. )

Sometimes coaches get swept away and wooed to a new place within a week (see: Mark Anderson at Arkansas); other times searches take much longer thane expected. (See: Oregon, 2010.)

Five days ago Mark Turgeon was living his life -- I presume peacefully and calmly, as he was apparently on vacation -- prepping for his recruiting period in the coming months and generally enjoying his time in College Station, Texas, where he built up a sturdy program in the past four years at Texas A&M.

Now he's arguably become Target No. 1 for Maryland. At 46 year old and with no ACC ties, this is still a job Turgeon would most likely take if Maryland AD Kevin Anderson offered him a hefty contract. I'm told Turgeon very much likes his team that's assembled for next season, but premier ACC jobs only open up once per decade, really. Also, don't forget the money -- because it's either 1 or 1a when a coach debates leaving -- but toss that cash aspect aside for a minute and consider the dichotomy in recruiting bases. Washington, D.C./Baltimore vs. College Station and all that surrounds it. If Turgeon's been able to keep A&M in the leg race of the Big 12 for the past four years with the talent he inherited/was limited to recruit there, then what could he do at Maryland? That'll be his thinking if he does indeed get into deep talks with the brass at Maryland. The "what kind of player can I get?" mindset is always at the top of a crowded list for a coach when considering relocation.

Plus, Turgeon wants to win a title, and it's conceivable to assume he, like most coaches, think it's so, so, so tough to achieve at A&M. At Maryland, the hoops are lower and fewer.

Would he be the right choice, though? Turgeon could be seen as an underwhelming pick for obvious reasons: he coaches at a nondescript, non-traditional college basketball school in the deep of Texas. He's not a sexy name/candidate, even if he does bear a striking resemblance to Ethan from "Lost." (Fun aside: You could argue that when Maryland began its search for Gary Williams successor, Turgeon "wasn't on" their list.) But fans ultimately, even if they begrudge a perceived alienation in coaching choice in the offseason, don't care at all about a coach's background or personality or style if the team ends up winning. Duh.

Thanks to the fantastic and new coaching resume observing tool from, we can see that Turgeon has never had a losing record as a head coach. That's pretty rare; often times new coaches at BCS schools take on a lot of water in their first year, but Turgeon managed a 25-11 record in 2007-08. He's averaged 22.3 wins in nine seasons and never had less than 24 in Big 12 play. Impressive, obviously. Turgeon has proven himself to be a candidate worthy of inclusion on many an athletic director's list (you can read more about how such lists exists and why here, by the way), and it's probable, even if he doesn't get the Maryland job, he'll be hired somewhere else in the next two years if his teams win 20-plus again.

Considering the candidate list out there -- from what I understand, Chris Mooney and Shaka Smart, two hires that would be considered home runs, are not likely to be swayed from their posts in Richmond -- Turgeon has a track record that stacks up extremely favorably to other realistic options. At this point, unless a mammoth dark horse is lurking in the shadows that none one knows -- or can talk -- about, Maryland can't do too much better than Mark Turgeon, even if he doesn't seem like the Big Hire everyone expects Maryland to make.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB

Since: Oct 29, 2006
Posted on: May 11, 2011 8:50 am

Is Mark Turgeon a good fit for Maryland?

premier ACC jobs only open up once per decade
What are you talking about Norlander?  the NC State job is a premier ACC job and it opens up every couple of years.

Since: Mar 21, 2011
Posted on: May 10, 2011 7:46 am

Is Mark Turgeon a good fit for Maryland?

Looks like a good hire by Maryland. I think that, sometimes, people get too caught up in the media frenzy immediatelyafter someone resigns. When Williams resigned, columnists everywhere were writing that the leading candidates were Sean Miller, Jay Wright, Jamie Dixon, Shaka Smart, etc, etc. But then when someone contacts those guys and they say, "i'm not interested, i'm gonna right here", people construe that as a snub of the team with the this case, Maryland. The truth of the matter is that the media creates expectations that are usually not even CLOSE to being consistent with what Athletic Directors are thinking. And, of course, you also have the agents and assistant coaches serving as "sources", and leaking supposed inside info to reporters. Their motives are pretty clear - agents push for higher salary, which means additional dough for them, too. Assistant coaches leak that info in hopes that the schools, in an attempt to keep the current coach, will sweeten the pot for the entire coaching staff. Nice hire by Kevin Anderson at Maryland, and good luck to Mr. Turgeon in the future.

Now.........who are the "leading candidates" for Texas A&M? More foolishness to ensue....

Since: Apr 24, 2009
Posted on: May 10, 2011 12:06 am

Is Mark Turgeon a good fit for Maryland?

Greg - not sure if you want to bag on KenPom or Turgeon or both. Good luck if you want to take on Ken Pomeroy his has been the best predictor of the Sweet 16 the last 5 years. Turgeon is a class act - a former over achiever Jayhawk under Coach Brown. Runs a solid clean program - tough defense, graduates players, a mentor type coach, and during his years at A&M and Wichita State don't think you ever read about his players having issues with the law from girl friend battering to drugs to impremissible benefits.  If he is able to bring his Scott Spinelli (asst head coach and head east coast recruiter) with him he will add some local flavor (asst coach) and will definitely mine the local DC/Baltimore gold. Good tactician and very good in the last 2 minutes. This is the kind of move he needed to make to prepare to replace Coach Self at Kansas when he retires or heads to the NBA. What could the Terps have achieved with any combination of players coming out of the DC Assault and other local prgrams -  Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Wally Judge, Josh Selby, etc. ???  Coach K and Coach Roy will have some new competition in town.

Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:31 pm

Great hire for Maryland

The cupboard is bare at Maryland right now, but after Turgeon gets a couple of good recruiting classes in there, he'll get them back into regular contention in the ACC.

Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:12 pm

Let's get the facts straight!!!!

"Thanks to the from, we can see that Turgeon as a head coach. That's pretty rare;"

Turgeon coached at Jacksonville (AL) State for two seasons, one of which he had a losing record (8-18 during the 98-99 season).  In addition, his first season at Wichita was a losing season (9-19 in 2000-2001) along with a .500 record (15-15)during his second season.  These seasons were excluded from the website.

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