As the new men’s head basketball coach at the University of Maryland, Mark Turgeon hopes to experience the same kind of success he enjoyed at Texas A&M.
The Terrapins are counting on him to do just that.
Turgeon was hired on Monday night to succeed Gary Williams, who retired last week after a 22-year run at Maryland. Turgeon, 46, leaves the Aggies after making four consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament and going 97-40 in his four-year stay at College Station.
“It was just too good an offer for me to pass on,” Turgeon said in a release. “The thing that made it the most difficult was the players. Those guys have done everything I’ve asked for four years and we’ve had a great ride.”
Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson believes Turgeon has the ability to extend the winning tradition built by Williams, who won the national championship in 2002 and reached the NCAA tournament 14 times. Just as important, Williams ran a clean program and maintained tight control over his players.
“We’re thrilled to bring Mark to the University, where I’m sure he will continue to build on the great legacy and success of Maryland Basketball,” Anderson said. “In Mark, we have brought one of the outstanding young coaches in the country, and one who has a proven record of achievement on and off the court. We couldn’t be more excited.”
Turgeon will be introduced at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon at the Comcast Center, where Williams formally stepped down in an emotional ceremony on Friday.
Turgeon joins the Terrapins and the Atlantic Coast Conference after earning Big 12 coach of the year honors with A&M in 2010 and 2011. He is the only coach in Big 12 history with at least 24 victories in each of his four seasons.
Turgeon is 250-159 after 13 seasons as a head coach, including seven with Wichita State. He went 128-99 with the Shockers and reached the round of 16 in 2006. He began his head-coaching career at Jacksonville State, going 17-11 in his final season there (1999-2000) after going 8-18 in his first year. Turgeon was an assistant at Kansas for five seasons. He also played guard for the Jayhawks from 1984-87.
He said leaving Texas A&M was one of the most difficult decisions he’s ever had to make. “Marriage was easy for me. I knew I was in love. Going to KU was easy, that’s where I always wanted to play college basketball,” he said. “Going to Wichita State was easy. Going to Texas A&M was an easy choice. [Monday] was one of the hardest choices I’ve had to make because of the young men in that locker room.”
But the challenge of coaching Maryland and competing in the ACC, against such powerhouses as Duke and North Carolina, was too hard to resist.
“Maryland’s got a great basketball tradition,” Turgeon said. “It’s a gut feeling. I’m a blessed person to have the choice that I had to make [Monday]. They’re both great programs. The one thing I feel good about is I inherited a good team and I think I’m leaving my best team behind. That made the decision really hard.”
Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said he was sorry to see Turgeon go and the coach did a “tremendous job” at the school.
Byrne will seek to find a replacement immediately. “We always keep a list. We always know some people that we think will work well with us here, so we’ll start that process again,” he said.