Give Mark Turgeon credit. The new Maryland coach is aiming high as he tries to fill out his coaching staff.
Multiple sources familiar with the situation confirmed that Turgeon is in dialogue with Washington native Dalonte Hill – believed to be the nation’s highest-paid assistant coach at Kansas State – about joining the Terrapins’ staff. Hill is expected to meet with Turgeon on Saturday morning.
Bringing Hill to College Park would signify that Turgeon plans to be aggressive on the local recruiting front.
An All-Met forward in 1997 from the former Newport School in Kensington, Hill played at Charlotte and Bowie State. He coached for the D.C. Assault travel team for two seasons before returning to Charlotte as an assistant coach. He then moved to Kansas State before the 2007-08 season and has brought several D.C. Assault players to the Little Apple, including former All-Mets Michael Beasley and Rodney McGruder.
In turn, Kansas State gave Hill a contract that would make many head coaches jealous. According to reports last fall, Hill signed a contract extension through 2015 with a base salary of $423,750 and bonuses that could total another $80,000 depending on the team’s success.
Turgeon, obviously, is aware of Hill’s connections from having coached in the Big 12 against Kansas State.
Also, in addition to being connected with D.C. Assault, Hill has long known the person behind the other big travel team in the area, Keith Stevens of Team Takeover. Stevens was a young assistant coach at Newport during Hill’s playing days.
Hill’s salary, though, could prevent him from moving to Maryland. In 2009-10, according to the annual salary guide published by The Diamondback student newspaper, the three assistant coaches for Gary Williams made a combined $231,000. (That number is believed to have increased a bit last season and does not include bonuses or other outside income.) Hill’s contract reportedly also calls for a $50,000 buyout if he leaves for another job.
At a time when Maryland is paying two football coaches, just hired a new basketball coach and is dealing with challenging economic times, it might be difficult to match or exceed Hill’s current salary. (The cost of living in the Washington area is higher than Manhattan, Kan., but perhaps Hill would be willing to make do with less in exchange to returning to he region in which he grew up.)
“The money is probably going to be the issue,” one source said.
Turgeon is expected to retain Bino Ranson, who escorted the new coach on a trip to meet Baltimore’s city council president. The other assistant’s position could go to Turgeon’s former associate head coach at Texas A&M, Scott Spinelli, if he is not promoted to the Aggies’ head coaching job.