Terps assistant Bino Ranson a finalist for Coppin State’s head coaching position

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Maryland assistant Bino Ranson, the only member left from Coach Mark Turgeon’s original staff, is a finalist for the head coaching job at Coppin State, the Eagles announced Thursday morning.

In hunting to replace Ron “Fang” Mitchell after 28 seasons, Coppin State took the unusual step of releasing its five finalists, all of whom the school hopes to interview next week, Ranson among them, with plans to introduce the hiring at a news conference on May 5 at the Talon Center on campus. A source confirmed that Ranson will interview Monday.

With strong connections to Baltimore, both at the AAU and high school level – Juan Dixon’s older brother was the best man at his wedding – Ranson would bring a particular local experience to the position, similar to what he has contributed for the Terrapins.

Most of the other four candidates contain similar ties to the area. Larry Stewart, currently in his fifth season as an assistant coach at Bowie State, played for the Eagles from 1988 to 1991.  Eric Skeeters, a George Mason assistant who also spent time at South Florida, is another Coppin State alumnus. Clifford Reed, assistant coach at Savannah State, was the head coach at Bethune-Cookman, in the same conference aa the Eagles, from 2002 to 2011. Michael Grant (head coach at Div. II Stillman College) has been an assistant at Kentucky State University, Alleghany College, Cleveland State University and Toledo. 

At Maryland, Ranson has been instrumental in the recruitments of Georgia big men Charles Mitchell and Trayvon Reed, and the Maryland website also credits him with helping lure former Terps center Shaq Cleare, who decided to transfer after this past season. His biggest contribution came in helping ignite the transfer discussions with guard Dez Wells, whom Ranson recruited during his lone season as an assistant with Xavier.

Ranson then came to College Park, where he was held over after legendary coach Gary Williams retired following the 2010-11 season. Of Turgeon’s three initial assistants, only Ranson remains. Dalonte Hill resigned following a DUI offense last fall and Scott Spinelli recently accepted the head assistant job at Boston College.

According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, Ranson applied for the head coaching position at Coppin State shortly after it opened, but had not heard back in recent weeks. Eagles athletics director Derrick Ramsey has been out of town, a spokesman said, explaining the delay. When Mitchell’s contract was not renewed, Ramsey reportedly hoped to make the hire by the third week in April, though he mentioned no specific candidates for the job.

“I don’t have a person right now, but I certainly want to play up-tempo basketball,” Ramsey told the Baltimore Sun in late March. “But more importantly, what I want to do, whomever the new coach is, we’re going to start right here in Baltimore. Everyone comes here to get talent. We’re going to start here.”

Coppin State finished 12-20 in 2013-14, its third straight losing season and ninth in the past 10 years. Its top two scorers – Michael Murray and Andre Armstrong – were both seniors, but a host of other contributors are slated to return, including rising senior point guard Taariq Cephas (9.3 points, 4.1 assists per game) and classmate Arnold Fripp, who led the Eagles with a 39.2 three-point percentage.

Ranson could not be reached for comment. The Terps are still looking to replace Spinelli and on Wednesday filled their vacant director of basketball operations position with former Jacksonville coach Cliff Warren.

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

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Alex Prewitt · April 23, 2014