Its time to talk about Turgeon

Let me start this article by offending at least half of the readers. I have been a Mark Turgeon advocate for the past 11 years. Throw your rocks, curse my name and call me stupid, but hear me out. I like Mark Turgeon. You read that correctly. 

I recognize this is not a popular opinion by a long shot. I am without a doubt an optimist by nature. I love Maryland basketball on a cellular level. I love them more than Dwight Schrute loves beets, Kardashians love themselves, and my toddler loves screentime combined. When I live tweet during games (@MDSportsblog), the amount of visceral hate toward Turgeon is ugly even for the lowly Twitter standards. Recently, I found myself asking…are they right? While I will not promote hate speech or call for any ridiculous levels of torture that is sometimes suggested, I do believe it’s time we talked about Turgeon.  

In an effort to remain balanced from both my fanatical passion for the program with the rational reality of Maryland’s performance, I am attempting to categorize my ideal coach needs and compare them to Mark Turgeon and give Turgeon a grade comparison. It’s not an exact science, but it’s worth the conversation.  


The ideal coach must win. In a perfect world, we would be competing for a National Championship every season. But even top tiered programs like Kentucky, Gonzaga, Baylor, Kansas and the team who we don’t speak of in Durham have down seasons. College basketball is more competitive than it has ever been. It’s difficult to have a championship team when the level of talent is more balanced globally than it has ever been. So, in my less than perfect, but hopeful world, I’d want my head coach to be a consistent winner who gives us something special every several years.  

March Madness would be the expectation, and anything less would be a disappointment. I’d want to see Maryland in the Sweet 16 every other year, an elite 8 quality team every four seasons, and a legitimate powerhouse with a chance to win the National Championship every eight seasons. This would be a fantasy for a lot of programs, but this is my realistic expectation and hope for this program. I would be understanding of injuries and bad bounces, but not ok with repetition of mistakes and poor preparation in loss.   

How does Turgeon compare?  

This is going to upset the Turgeon haters, but Turgeon is winning quite a bit in College Park.  

His win percentage is second best out of almost every head coach including Gary Williams. Only Lefty Driesell has a better winning percentage. Turgeon has won the fourth most conference games since joining the Big 10 (Toughest Conference in NCAA) and has given Maryland 5 top 5 finishes in conference over the last seven years.  

He has had three straight seasons with four ranked victories. Only five other teams in the country have done that. (Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Purdue, and Kansas) No doubt this is a compliment to the conference, but credit is due.  

In terms of development, Turgeon has seven NBA players in the last six seasons which is tied for Michigan for the most in that time period. I was shocked when I realized that.  

But the lack of wins in March is beyond frustrating. Making the tournament is the expectation. Losing the second game year in and year out feels like a lack of preparation. It must get better.  

Overall comparison: B+ 

The overall results are statistically better than I anticipated. Watching the games, especially this season, it’s beyond frustrating watching Maryland continually make the same mistakes game after game.  

The lack of offensive creativity, inability to defend the perimeter, and pitiful inbounding leads to turnovers and ultimately losses. I believe this is a key reason Maryland can’t find success in the tournament. Maryland seems to be a step behind teams they play, which is a direct result of coaching. With their inconsistent development of play, we never know which Maryland team will show up and how well they will adjust. Even our dominant teams were inconsistent and subjective to losing.  

Graduation Rate 

I care about our student athletes. They deserve to have the same opportunity as every other student to grow and find success after basketball. Seeing some of my favorite childhood players struggle after basketball is difficult for me. Of course, I want our players to have NBA dreams, but for the ones who won’t play professionally, they should have the resources to earn a college degree from a wonderful educational institution like Maryland.  

As much as I loved Gary Williams (my favorite coach), his graduation rate was one of the lowest in the nation at approximately 10%. WIlliams was quoted saying that “Many of our players leave early for the NBA or play in Europe.” While that may be true, it was an embarrassing time for Maryland. We need to be better. Those who do not play professional my ideal coach needs to at least have an 85% graduation rate. 

How does Turgeon compare?  

Mark Turgeon has had thirty-five student athletes who have exhausted eligibility in his tenure at Maryland. All thirty-five have graduated. I do not care if they graduated in Basket weaving with a minor in Call of Duty. They still have a degree from Maryland and that is impressive.  

Overall Grade A+ 

Trouble with NCAA 

With the staggering amount of social media and public attention given to these coaches, we often hear of some embarrassing mishaps by head coaches across the country. Mark Few of Gonzaga was allegedly driving while intoxicated, John Calipari has had multiple issues with recruitment violations, Coach K’s even got a few less than reputable situations within his program. Coach Rick Pitino is having a lot of success at Iona this season, but we all know that is not his ideal situation after stops at Kentucky and Louisville. Maryland has had its name mentioned in several potential recruiting violations but has not seen NCAA sanctions. I would like that trend to continue.  

As much as I hate to admit, my level of forgiveness goes hand and hand with the level of violation. If we got our hand slapped a few times (See Kansas) but we are still able to compete for NCAA championships, I would sign the paperwork right away.  

How does Turgeon compare?  

Turgeon has been mentioned a few times with possible recruitment violations, but no DUI’s, public intoxications, racial outbursts, or any other potential embarrassment for our players or the University. A lot of his players want more playing time or leave via transfer portal, but that is a part of college basketball.  

Overall: B+ 


In an ideal world, we would see Maryland blow the doors off some opponents. Have a true fan experience like the ones we were used to in the 90’s and early 2000’s. I want to see alley oops, inbound plays that get the fans back in it. Bruno Fernando and Jake Laymen were legends in our area in part of their play but also their personality. 

Where is our Grievous Vasquez? Darryl Morsell comes to mind, but something lacked from it. Morsell’s passion was infectious, but not to his teammates. Teams often take the personality of their leadership, and I want to see more fire from our leadership. I want to feel we have an advantage in more than just recruitment, but X’s and O’s. I want to say “OHHH WE GOT HIM!” with a play drawn up out of a timeout. When times get tough, I want to know that we have a play that will lead to a basket. I want to see students excited to scream at the opposition. I want College Park to rock like…well College Park.  

How does Turgeon compare?  

My mother once told me that the opposite of love is not hate, but instead no interest at all. Maryland is sneaking towards the realm of “who cares” when they play. Attendance is down despite a global pandemic for a full season. Diehard social media fans are posting their wavering interest in the games and losses are becoming comfortable. That is not just upsetting but sickening.  

Overall: F 

Meeting expectations 

This category is one of the most difficult. Our fan base is smart. Basketball is a part of our culture in the DMV. The amount of talent that radiates in our area is arguably top in the nation. While basketball has grown globally, our streets are littered with talent. Per capita it is hard to argue that nearly every team has scouts salivating the area for their next collegiate contributor. 

While we are hopeful with our football team and excited that lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey teams are national powerhouses, we watch our women’s team raising the bar for our men’s team. We have seen success nationally all around us, but our passion is unlike any other for our men’s team. In an ideal world, our recruitment and player development would make us a consistent national power.  

I still remember Gary Williams having a golden era with unparalleled success from 1993 – 2003. Every team made the NCAA tournament. We had two final fours and a National Championship. The kids have done it. I want that again in our coach.  

How does Turgeon compare?  

It’s not fair to compare Turgeon to the best decade of basketball in Maryland history, but it’s the reality. Even Gary could not meet his own expectations after that success. Fair or not, it is the expectation. If Covid doesn’t happen, we might be more understanding considering how good that team was. They were talented enough to be a final four team. Would they have won? We’ll never know. But they were in the conversation. We likely have more patience for Turgeon if he finally had his madness in March. But it did not happen, and we are left only with a handful of “if”.  

With the high level of recruitment, there is an expectation and player development. We have not seen that. We should see levels of success every four years. An unranked team develops into a ranked team to an eventual top 15 team, to a legitimate conference contender. We would all be happy with that cyclical calendar. I’m sure every team would. Turgeon has had two teams in eleven years that could realistically win a NCAA championship. That is one National Championship contender every five years. Thats not bad. One team lost to Kansas after a preseason #2 ranking (But fell to a four seed because they didn’t meet expectations), and another never played because of Covid. Twice in eleven years is not bad, but we have not seen an elite eight in more than a decade. If any of the other teams made it to the second weekend in March, fans would be more content. But Turgeon has not done it.  

Overall: C+ 

Weighing other options 

Lets get to the down and dirty. Fans want to fire Turgeon. So, who do we hire? The job itself is still desirable as a Big 10 school (Best in NCAA) with talent rich recruitment environment.  We can look at our other Big 10 counterparts to compare. Wisconsin, Indiana, Penn State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois have all seen new coaches. Do we envy those programs? Michigan and Illinois are the top two the come to mind, but the majority of those same schools have struggled to find the same success as Maryland in the past eleven years.  

How does Turgeon compare?  

There is absolutely no guarantee with any coach that comes in. If you asked yourself what you are looking for in a new coach, Mark Turgeon would likely meet the expectations you are looking for. As frustrating as it seems, I’m not sure we will get better than what Turgeon’s resume. The team does not grow as much as we want. The team is not exciting. But the team wins ugly. The incredibly boring and offensive offense still seems to work over a long period of time. Change for change sake is not always good.  

Who is out there?  

Kim English from George Mason 

Duston Kerns Appalachian State 

Dennis Gates from Cleveland State 

Kyle Smith from Washington State 

Mark Pope from BYU 

John Beilein (former Michigan coach) 

There are a lot of possibilities. Kim English would probably be my top candidate. He is a local coach with a lot of success including almost beating Maryland earlier this season. Could he be lured to the Terps? Possibly. It’s time to start flirting with the possibilities without getting lost in wonder.  

Overall grade: C

Does Turgeon suck? No. If you think he does, you can pound sand. As frustrating as he’s been, he’s won, his kids have graduated, and he doesn’t embarrass the institution off the court. But after all of this, we need to decide. What does Mark Turgeon deserve? Mark Turgeon has earned this season, but it’s time to start talking about Turgeon. While the Wins and Losses are a lot better than I realized, I feel like there are better options. I honestly hope I’m wrong and things get turned around this season and I regret everything I have written. I appreciate Mark Turgeon. I think he has handled this job with grace and has had a lot of success both on and off the court. But I need something more. I’m willing to risk mediocre for a chance of something better at this point. I said I’m an optimist and a fan, but the boring offense and the inability to win with the talent we have is beyond frustrating. After eleven years, we have enough sample size to decide, and my decision is that it’s time to start talking. What do you think?  

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