Mark Turgeon, the former head coach at Texas A&M, has been hired as the new head coach of University of Maryland Basketball.
My initial reaction: BORING.
Maybe I was spoiled by all of the talk of Sean Miller, but this hire just doesn’t excite me in the least. To be fair to Turgeon, he has built himself a solid resume through his times at A&M and Wichita State. On the plus side, he is known as a good X’s and O’s coach. On the flip side, he doesn’t have a great reputation as being a very good recruiter. In addition to that, he doesn’t appear to have any local recruiting ties.
In the post Gary era, I always envisioned the Terps going after the type of coach who could clean up in recruiting the DC/Baltimore area, which is why potential names like Jay Wright and Sean Miller were so enticing. I won’t even try to make sense of the Miller debacle, as no one seems to really know what went down with that situation. Has part of the reason Turgeon struggled to recruit have to do with the fact that it is difficult to convince players to come to Texas A&M? Maybe. He’ll have no excuses in College Park as he inherits a surrounding area rich with talent.
A major key to the transition will be if Turgeon is willing to keep on current Terp Assistant coaches Rob Ehsan and Bino Ranson. Both of them have proven to work hard developing local and national recruiting ties. Ehsan was integral in the verbal commitment of 2012 prospect Justin Anderson. Ranson was the key recruiter for 2011 commit Nick Faust, as well as having built up strong ties to potential 2012 prospect Shaquille Cleare from Texas. If Turgeon decided to bring in his own staff and not retain either Ehsan and Ranson, then he risks losing possible commitments. It would be my preference that he keeps both, but head coaches like to bring in their own guys.
It won’t be an easy start for Turgeon, with the departure of All-ACC and future NBA benchwarmer Jordan Williams. Terps fans won’t expect immediate results next season because of this. After year one though, he better show he’s got things on the right path, because patience is not in the repertoire of the Maryland Terrapin fanbase. Gary Williams won a National Title, so fans gave him a pass for the occasional NIT, but Mark Turgeon will not be afforded that luxury. He’s taken A&M to the dance every year he’s been there, so if he can continue that trend at Maryland, he will be accepted.
The Post-Gary era begins now. Tough shoes to fill.