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Maryland’s Turgeon ‘born a coach’
Was a winner at three schools
Question of the Day
Jacksonville State was then a member of the Trans America Athletic Conference. So, too, was Georgia State, then led by Lefty Driesell. The former Maryland coach was impressed and kept an eye on Turgeon’s teams in the years after.
“He’s a nice young man, very personable, a good guy,” Driesell said. “He knows basketball. He coached under Larry Brown and Roy Williams and won everywhere he’s been. I think he’ll do a great job. He’s one of my favorite young coaches. He’ll do a super job there.”
Turgeon eventually led Wichita State to a regional semifinal appearance in 2006 before taking over at Texas A&M.
His predecessor with the Aggies, Billy Gillispie, led the program out of a long period of decline. But Turgeon maintained the prosperity he inherited, becoming the first basketball coach at any current Big 12 school to win at least 24 games in each of his first four seasons.
Texas A&M won its NCAA tournament opener in his first three years, and his last Aggies team was 24-9 and finished the season ranked No. 24.
“You look at the Big 12 over the last four years, other than Kansas being rock-solid and Texas to a degree, there probably wasn’t a more consistent team night in and night out than Texas A&M,” Fraschilla said. “That kind of fits Mark. Their teams reached their potential every year he coached. His teams reach their maximum potential. They didn’t leave much on the table.”
That’s a familiar refrain at Maryland, where Williams was known for extracting whatever he could from most of his rosters.
One of Turgeon’s greatest challenges will be adapting to a different recruiting environment, although he did lure DeMatha product Naji Hibbert to Texas A&M.
Boyle said Turgeon is one of the few coaches who can both recruit and X-and-O extremely well. But even with such high praise, Boyle said the same values that made Turgeon savor that Final Four a quarter-century ago serve him well in his professional life.
“You’re not going to find anybody with a higher degree of integrity and honesty,” Boyle said. “Mark is a straight shooter. What you see is what you get. He knows the difference between right and wrong, and he does things the right way.”
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About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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