The Wichita Eagle had a story Friday afternoon checking in with Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon, who helped put Wichita State on the national map in his seven seasons there from 2000 to 2007. The Shockers play Louisville on Saturday night in the Final Four.
Turgeon didn’t make the trip to Atlanta — he’s “exhausted” after Maryland’s own deep postseason run into the NIT semifinals — but will be keeping close tabs from home, where his father is visiting this weekend. He has maintained a close relationship with former Wichita State athletic director Jim Schaus, who hired both Turgeon and current coach Gregg Marshall.
“Jim and I have texted back and forth during this NCAA tournament,’’ Turgeon told The Eagle. “We’re both really proud of what’s going on. Proud of Gregg, proud of the team, proud of the players. I can’t imagine what that town is like right now. I know what it was like when we got to the Sweet 16 and it was crazy then.’’
Some other tidbits from the story:
>> Turgeon, reflecting on his time at Wichita State, where he’s still pretty revered: “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized coaching is more of a journey than a destination. The seven years I had in Wichita was fabulous, for me and my family. Two of our three kids were born in Wichita and we met so many great people. And we were able to take the program from 285 in the RPI to a Sweet 16. It was just a phenomenal time.’’
>> Turgeon paid for Terps video coordinator and former Wichita State point guard Matt Braeuer to make the trip. Braeuer played for Turgeon’s final three seasons with the Shockers, including the 2005-06 Sweet 16 team.
“I told him I’d pay because when Wichita State runs out on that floor before the game with Louisville, it’s going to be such a great feeling for him and all of the other players, a feeling of pride,’’ Turgeon said. “He just has to be there. I know all of my former players are excited and proud.’’
Looks like Braeuer accepted the offer.
ATL Bound!! Would love a smooth flight
— Matt Braeuer (@MattBraeuer) April 4, 2013
>> The Turgeon family also snapped a photo wearing some Wichita State gear outside their home.
>> The @Kansasdotcom Twitter account said the story was part of the paper’s 56-page blowout Final Four section for the Shockers.