UPDATE 10:38 A.M.: Maryland has officially announced the coaching changes.
Dalonte Hill, the Maryland men’s basketball assistant who last month was charged with his third DUI in the past five years, has resigned from the program effective immediately, an individual with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday morning. Dustin Clark, the team’s director of basketball operations who assumed Hill’s recruiting and coaching duties while the Washington native took a leave of absence, has been promoted to assistant coach, the individual said.
And in a semi-related move, legendary Terrapins guard Juan Dixon has been hired as a special assistant to Coach Mark Turgeon. The program’s all-time leading scorer will primarily serve as a mentor to the team’s players, advising current players on athletics and academics, breaking down film and scouting future opponents, and other administrative duties. He cannot recruit on the road, but can meet recruits who visit campus.
Maryland is expected to announce these three moves on Wednesday afternoon with press releases and teleconference calls. The individual requested anonymity because the move had yet to be officially announced.
Hill joined Turgeon’s staff in 2011, accepting a reduced salary after spending six seasons at Kansas State, where his Washington area ties helped recruit Michael Beasley. In 2008, he was arrested for the first time on DUI charges in Kansas. In January 2012, he was suspended for two games by Maryland following his second such arrest, after which he pleaded guilty to driving while impaired by alcohol.
On Oct. 20, 2013, Hill was booked on five charges after being stopped on North Laurel Road in Laurel, according to arrest records. Before news of the charges broke, Maryland announced Hill would take a leave of absence from the program, citing “personal matters” and retaining him on staff. His court date is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2014, in Howard County at 9 a.m.
“We will support him through this process,” Turgeon said in a statement then. “We want him to focus on his personal life. Basketball is secondary at this point. His primary focus needs to be on his health and well-being.”
It seemed only a matter of time before the Terps would part ways with Hill, a dogged local recruiter who helped forge ties between Maryland and the AAU program formerly known as D.C. Assault. The resignation also allows Maryland to avoid paying Hill severance; last year, according to documents obtained through an open-records request, Hill made $302,000 between his base salary and extras.
Promoting Clark was the most logical in-season option. Clark had already assumed many of Hill’s responsibilities and since October has taken recruiting trips to Texas, his home state, and has been recruiting locally as well, serving last year as the point man for Potomac four-star guard Dion Wiley. Clark has spent his entire college basketball career with Turgeon, first serving as a student assistant at Texas A&M, then an athletic assistant, then a team administrator. He followed Turgeon to College Park and became the director of basketball operations, signing a contract that last year paid him $112,200.
For now, Clark’s vacated position will remained unfilled and his duties performed by several staff members, including trainer Matt Charvat, director of basketball performance Kyle Tarp and first-year video coordinator Jonathan Trock, who have pitched in during Hill’s absence to help with travel plans and other such matters. Former Maryland guard Eric Hayes could be a viable option, but he currently serves as a graduate assistant while earning his master’s degree in urban and minority education.
Dixon’s hiring, meanwhile, represents the unification of two distinct eras in Terps basketball history. The 2002 NCAA Final Four MVP, Dixon remains one of the school’s most beloved figures, having led Maryland to the national title that year. Last season, he attended many practices on a personal invitation from Turgeon, offering his insight and helping players, and frequently worked out at Comcast Center in the hopes of resurrecting his NBA career.
Dixon also returned to school at Maryland to obtain his undergraduate degree in family sciences and, according to another individual with knowledge of the situation, his hiring was conditional on its completion. He is currently on course to graduate, and this move marks the first step in Dixon pursuing a coaching career, with the hopes of eventually advancing up the ranks.