Crazy Coaching Options for the Terps
After getting absolutely embarrassed by Michigan this past game it is officially time to start looking into potential coaching candidates.
Originally, I thought Danny Manning was the leader in the clubhouse to remain the Terps head coach, but while there was some early success, Maryland cannot expect Manning to take the reins of such a historic program.
We are officially over a month into the post Mark Turgeon era and Maryland fans have been wildly speculating about the open possibilities of coaches. There are rumors that both University President Darryll Pines and Athletic Director Damon Evans are conducting their own coaching search, which is a story for a different day, but why not join the party!?!
We have already heard all sorts of names. We have heard called such as proven coaching candidates like Bruce Pearl, Nate Oats, and even Rick Pitino to underdog candidates such as Kevin Willard, Mark Pope, and Steve Forbes. We have even heard candidates from the one percent chance section of coaches like John Beilein, Brad Stevens, and Scott Drew.
There is plenty of optimism with all the potential candidates, but what if they are not interested in the job? It might not be the landing spot it used to be. Maybe we need to further our coaching search to someone with Maryland ties who might not be the obvious choice, but would bring excitement to the program.
I wanted to take the search a step further and throw out some names that are preposterous coaching candidates before throwing out a blast from the past name that I would consider to be a slam dunk for the Terrapins. All these coaches have ties to Maryland, all coaches would bring excitement to the fan base, all candidates would come with controversy, but one is long shot hope for Maryland’s future.
Return of the King: Gary Williams
Could you even imagine the amount of excitement that would flood College Park? Terps fans have clamored for a tempo-based offense and return to the glory days of Maryland basketball. So why not bring in the coach to which the court is named after. Before you say it will never happen, just a few weeks ago Gary himself said he would have been interested in filling in as the interim coach for the remainder of the season and help to usher in the coach at the end of the season. Sounds much more fun than what we are currently watching, but according to him, Maryland never made the call. Would it be a long-term situation? Would he return the team to glory? WHO CARES!?! His legacy is set, and he would become a damn national folk hero if he found success.
We need some “Huevos”: Greivis Vasquez
If you cannot get Gary, why not bring in one of his prodigies in Greivis Vasquez? Nicknamed “Huevos” by Scott Van Pelt, Vasquez was the heart and soul of Maryland basketball from 2008 – 2010. He was the Bob Cousy award winner and was the epitome of everything you wanted in a basketball player. Can he coach? He has already served as the NBA G league associate head coach for the Eerie Bayhawks. Would he be interested? He has liked social media posts connecting him to the head coaching vacancy. I have no clue what kind of college coach he would be, but nobody in the stadium would be more excited than Greivis. He would be worth it for the sideline emotion and post conference interviews alone.
The Prodigal son returns: Juan Dixon
The kids have done it! As much as Greivis has brought attention to Maryland basketball, only Juan Dixon and Len Bias are more associated with Maryland basketball. Juan led the 2002 Nation Championship squad his Senior year and elevated the program to elite status. The Baltimore native was already pegged to be the head coach in waiting when he was an assistant on Maryland’s staff. Instead, Dixon went to coach the University of District of Columbia women’s team to a 2 – 25 record. Dixon would move on to coach the men’s basketball team at Coppin State University but has not found the success needed to become the head coach of Maryland with a 33 – 85 overall record during his time leading the Eagles. They have won more games of late and Juan is one of my all-time favorite Terps, but I cannot ignore is struggles as a coach.
Frese the program: Brenda Frese
Two-time NCAA coach of the year? National Champion? High Octane offense? Check, Check, Check. BuuuUUUtt shHHEEs a GIIIRRRLLL!!! Check. This would be an unprecedented move that would shake up the nation. Frese would be cemented into legendary status as a coach if she accepted the head coaching job of the men’s basketball team.
Would Maryland make this move? Unlikely. While women coaching men is still new, coaches like Becky Harmon have already indoctrinated the world with credibility. Is the game different? Without a doubt, but if anyone could do it, I believe Brenda Frese could.
Would the players leave? I am not so sure. Why? Julian Reese. His sister Angel already works with Frese, and Julian would be the centerpiece in recruiting and giving validity to the historic move. The amount of national attention would shatter the glass ceiling and any incoming recruit would instantaneously become a household name. No matter the amount of success, Frese and Maryland would create history.
Crazy enough to work: Sarunas Jasikevicius
I might be dating myself with this name, but for those who do not recognize the name, Sarunas was a four-year player at Maryland from 1994 – 1998. While he was not the All-American candidate as Vasquez and Dixon, Sarunas found increased success after college while playing for his native Lithuania.
He won several gold medals, Spanish league titles, MVP awards, and Euro league championships. In 2005 the Indiana Pacers signed him to a three-year deal and after being traded he ended his NBA playing career with the Golden State Warriors in 2007 and returned to Europe for another seven seasons.
Can he coach? Absolutely. On 13 January 2016, the Maryland alum announced that he was appointed as the head coach of Žalgiris. He was then named the top coach of the 2016-17 season and invited by Greg Popovich to assist with the United States national team, which Jasikevicius declined. He continued to find success as a coach. Even despite the second lowest budget in the league, Jasikevicius and Zalgiris won a bronze medal in the Euro League.
Jasikevicius teams are known for incredibly tough nosed defense and an efficient offense with low turnover rates. Is it fast paced? No, but his teams consistently win and given the right group of players, Maryland would be able to find an identity as one of the toughest teams in the country. As far as recruiting, basketball is growing worldwide and Jasikevicius would instantly open the European market to Maryland.
Is it crazy? Not as much as I originally thought. He is a proven coach, with ties to Maryland, has both European and NBA playing history, is a proven winner as a coach and at only forty-six years old, Sarunas would be young enough to be around for a long time as the head coach of the Terrapins.
What do you think?