Terps hire Cliff Warren as director of basketball operations

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The Maryland men’s basketball team filled one of two vacancies on its staff Wednesday, hiring former Jacksonville head coach Cliff Warren as the new director of basketball operations, an individual with knowledge of the situation said.

The Terrapins later confirmed the hire in a news release.

“Cliff is an outstanding addition to our staff,” Coach Mark Turgeon said in the release. “He brings a wealth of experience at the collegiate level and has had success at a number of different programs. We’re excited for Cliff and his family to return to the Maryland area.”

A Silver Spring native who both graduated from and served as an assistant coach at Mount St. Mary’s, Warren spent the past nine seasons at Jacksonville, where he won one game his first year and eventually built the program into an Atlantic Sun contender that reached the National Invitation Tournament in consecutive seasons. After three straight sub-.500 years, though, the Dolphins parted ways with Warren. He left with a school-record 126 victories and Atlantic Sun titles in 2009 and 2010, including coach of the year honors in 2009.

Warren also worked as an assistant coach at Siena from 1997-2000 and at Georgia Tech from 2000-2005, including when the Yellow Jackets reached the Final Four in 2004. There, Warren was credited with helping recruit Jarrett Jack, a Maryland native now with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and developed a reputation for working with point guards, an area the Terps have struggled with since Turgeon took over before the 2011-12 season.

Warren fills a job that had been left open for the entire 2013-14 season after Dustin Clark was elevated to assistant coach, replacing Dalonte Hill, who resigned after his second DUI charge while with the Terps. Turgeon still has to hire a third assistant coach to replace Scott Spinelli, the new head assistant at Boston College, after top target Kenny Johnson decided to join Rick Pitino’s staff at Louisville. Warren had been linked to Maryland for several weeks, but it was unclear in which capacity he would join the staff.

As director of basketball operations, Warren will be responsible for logistics like reserving travel, completing schedules, managing the program budget, overseeing the student managers and organizing visits for recruits, tasks divided among other staff members last season, like Clark, strength coach Kyle Tarp, trainer Matt Charvat and graduate assistants Steve Asher and Eric Hayes.

Per NCAA bylaws, however, Warren will not be able to coach during practices, but can be present “provided no instruction is given to student-athletes.” Regulations also allow only three staff members to travel for recruiting at any given time, so Warren can scout in that capacity until the Terps hire their third assistant coach, much like Clark did during the interim period after Hill’s resignation and before his promotion. He can also attend on-campus recruiting events, like unofficial and official visits, as well as break down film and sit on the bench during games.

Warren’s class of 2014 at Jacksonville included Baltimore natives Tim Bond, who is now signed with Eastern Michigan after Warren got fired, and point guard Jaylen Adams, who is now committed to St. Bonaventure. Both played for the local AAU squad Baltimore Elite.

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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