Mark Turgeon was introduced as Maryland’s men’s basketball coach in a noon press conference at Comcast Center in College Park that you can see here (courtesy of WJLA) or follow along with the live blog.
12:33: Turgeon hopes to meet with Anderson soon to discuss pay for assistants. “There are some guys at A&M that are holding down the fort there and will join us soon.” And then there’s the matter of retaining players Gary Williams recruited.
He hops and plans that the class remains intact and says he’s talked to all three recruits. But, “if it doesn’t happen with them, it’ll be a mutual agreement.” Ends answer, somewhat ominously, with “things change” and says “I’ll never say never” about getting new recruits.
12:30: Turgeon has to be specific when he talks about “Coach Williams,” because of that Roy guy in North Carolina. “I have a lot of respect for Roy Williams because of what he’s done, but I’m looking forward to coaching against him.” There is one place he fears Roy Williams...“on the golf course.”
Turgeon admits he’s going to have to be more patient and that he hates traffic. “I hate to miss a red light.” Anybody got a helicopter? The hardest part of coming to College Park, though, is leaving his family behind for a while.
12:26: Turgeon’s plans for Maryland? “If you lived in my house, you would never think I was successful at anything. Realistically, it’s just building a top program in the country. One thing my teams have been over the years is consistent. ... we were a consistent 24-, 25- win team at A&M. I’ve played in Final Fours. I’ve coached in a national championship.”
He likes us. He really likes us. “I like all the media attention we’re going to get in this league.”
12:21: Turgeon said he discussed the job with Gary Williams. “I had a great conversation with Gary. I know he’s not going to try to sabotage Maryland basketball.” Although he said, “I do think we are really similar,” he doesn’t wear his “heart on his sleeve” the way Gary did. This elicits some laughter.
12:17: Turgeon says he got a call last Thursday from someone who said, “Something big is going to go down” and Turgeon began discussing the possibility of going to Maryland with his wife. He was camping in the mountains of Pennsylvania and had no cell service until Sunday. Had to go to the top of a mountain for service, got a flat tire and finally got cell service. The call from Kevin Anderson came through and when he told Anderson he was in Pittsburgh, Anderson drove out. Anderson jokes that all he had was shorts and A&M clothes and was unshaven. He got a Kansas City Chiefs shirt — being careful because of Ravens fans in Maryland.
12:12: Saying that he’s already been doing some recruiting (a good thing, given that it’s mid-May), Turgeon says, “I’m lucky enough to have played at the University of Kansas and they were the same way. If you have tickets, keep ’em. If you don’t, buy ’em. [Big applause.] My style of play is winning.” He cites the influence of Kansas coaches Larry Brown and Roy Williams and promises he’ll “build [the program] the right way, won’t cut any corners.” He stresses that he’ll push players to graduate. He adds that he isn’t a yeller, promising to treat players with respect. “I have kids of my own. I don’t want someone yelling at them.”
Turgeon wraps up his opening statement: “What I want is people fearing the turtle.”
12:07: Turgeon says that he’s turned down a lot of jobs over the last few years and it took a special job to get him out of Texas. “That was a crazy 48 hours,” he began. “This was the only tie I could find. I hope it’s Maryland red.”
He opens with a Lefty story, saying he coached against Driesell and didn’t think Lefty liked him. “You were the enemy,” he says Driesell told him. Thanks Gary Williams, obviously
12:04: Athletic Director Kevin Anderson quotes Yogi Berra with the ”deja vu all over again” line and says he hopes “this is the last time we’re introducing a coach for a while.”
Anderson said Turgeon “ looked me in the eye and said, ‘Kevin, I hate to lose.’ ” And with that, Anderson’s mind was made up.
12:01: Turgeon is introduced as having been a winner everywhere he’s coached. Johnny Holliday is doing the honors and describing the journey from College Station to College Park. I like a presser that begins promptly.
11:45: Turgeon is ready to go, after tweeting to Texas A&M followers Tuesday: “Aggies: Thanks for a great 4 years. I was proud to represent Texas A&M University. It is truly a special and classy place. ... The relationships built with many Aggies and relationships with our players is something that will be with me forever. ... We had many great nights in Reed Arena. I know there are many more in store for the maroon & white.”
“I was in the car heading to one of my workouts when I got a text from one of my teammates that said, ‘Your coach retired,’ ” Jordan Williams said. “I couldn’t believe it. It was definitely a shock to me and the college basketball world.”
A search-turned-reality check by Terrapins AD Kevin Anderson ensued, now now there’s a sense that, as John Feinstein writes, Turgeon is the right choice for Maryland, if not the most immediately obvious one.
In any event, the Mark Turgeon era in College Park begins.
I’m ready to get to work and experience first hand the passion & pride of the Terps! See you in College Park!