Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon worked for current North Carolina big whistle Roy Williams early in his career.
He did not, however, pick up on Williams’ homespun phrases like “dadgum” or “frickin’”
“Obviously not,” Turgeon said. “If it was, I might have finished the game the other night.”
And so, roughly 2 1/2 minutes into his session with reporters, he brought up his ejection from Wednesday’s 90-86 loss to Miami.
It wasn’t the first time Turgeon was tossed – he said it happened early in his career at Jacksonville State – but it was nonetheless provided some emotional moments after he departed. Miami took a 14-point lead after the free throws from his two technical fouls.
“I thought I’d blown the game,” Turgeon said. “I went in the locker room and thought ‘I can’t believe I’ve done this.’ And so I was in there just feeling sorry for myself and I said ‘Well, let me check the score,’ and it was five. I was like ‘Holy cow,’ and there was four minutes to go. I called my wife and then I had a buddy in Colorado who was watching on the Internet and he was texting me. He said ‘Boy, you run good stuff for Terrell,’ and I said ‘It might not be my stuff.’”
Upon further review, it was. But of equal importance was Maryland’s ability to handle the daunting task of rallying from a double-digit deficit in the final seven minutes to force two overtimes.
“The thing I got out of it the most and what everyone has told me is how into it our bench was cheering guys on. They kept bringing managers back to the locker room and they said ‘Coach, we’re into it,’” Turgeon said before choking up. “It just meant a lot to me because I knew they were really trying for me. It made me feel good.”
Maryland (13-8, 3-4 ACC) didn’t arrive home from Coral Gables until deep into the night and spent much of yesterday recuperating from a tough travel schedule. But even without a successful result, Turgeon saw progress for his team even if he wasn’t there to see all of it.
“It was another step for us,” Turgeon said. “We would have liked to have won the game, obviously. I’m sitting back there and I’m thinking ‘God, we’re giving all this effort, we have to win’ because I knew we were going to pull into this arena about 4 in the morning. There was a lot of energy and effort put in. I could tell my guys were proud of what they did.”