By Saturday, all the unpleasantness about Lefty Driesell and Gary Williams was mostly in the past, and there was Mark Turgeon on the Comcast Center bench, actually coaching this scrappy Terps team. Which is why there were also six Maryland students standing near the court, dressed in dark suits and ties, complete with powder on the right sides of their hair, meant to represent Turgeon’s gray spot.
Yes, that’s right, Turgeon has a group of imitators. Some of whom are women.
“My friend, Cory, and I came up with the Turgeon suit idea over winter break because of the lack of excitement and support he received early on,” e-mailed Jamie Morris, the man pictured here with the red tie.
“Most fans and students appeared to still be caught up about the retirement of Gary Williams and very few were interested in this season’s basketball team; attendance was low early on and the team had very low expectations.
“Obviously, Cory and I are very big Turgeon fans. We’re impressed by his honesty and character, plus he has done a phenomenal job, in our opinions.”
And so, to pay tribute to the team’s actual coach, Cory and Jamie began dressing up like Turgeon, to the extent that one can dress up like a sort of generically professional middle-aged basketball coach. They brought signs that said things like “Fear the Turgeon” to help make it clear what they were doing, and got seats right behind the bench, and eventually recruited five other friends, by which point their gimmick became pretty noticeable.
Like, Turgeon’s wife, Ann, has requested multiple picture of the group with their signs, and even posed for a photo with her own children and the student Turgeons. Jamie reported that Mrs. Turgeon was especially partial to the fake gray spots.
(Although a couple people didn’t get the connection, and asked the gang why they were wearing suits to the student section at a basketball game.)
Anyhow, they plan on going in formal wear to the rest of Maryland’s home games, and while more of their friends have asked to join, they’re trying to keep the size down. Not trying to take attention away from the team or the coach, and all.
“It’s just an attempt to support the coach and have fun as a fan,” Jamie wrote to me. “The response has completely exceeded our expectations.”