If you, like me, weren't able to watch Mark Turgeon's introductory press conference live, you'll probably want to go here and watch it. Because if you had any doubts about Turgeon, a lot of them will probably be gone once you see that video. (Lack of charisma? Uh, nope.) And if you already liked him, you'll probably love him after this.
Having watched all 30-odd minutes of it, here are a few thoughts on it and quotes from it:
Kevin Anderson is a really mediocre public speaker. Eh. He tried to bring in an "I can say a bad word!" thing at the end, but it didn't work. Get in and get out in the future, KA.
Turgeon, on the other hand, is very good. He's such a natural speaker. That was my one problem with Randy Edslal - he was a decent speaker and seemed "real" but he never seemed very natural and conversational in his tone. Turgeon, though, just seemed at home up there. He had a couple of one-liners that got laughs, but he never seemed like he was fishing for them. Very likable and charismatic on the podium, and hopefully in conversation as well.
"My style of play is winning." This was the only time I thought he fished, but seriously, with that quote you're allowed to do it. Turgeon is #winning.
BURN! He was asked about Gary. He responded with a few platitudes before saying, "I know Gary's not going to try to sabotage Maryland basketball." Dissing Debbie Yow already? He's good by me.
Recruiting. He said he was going to "recruit like crazy" and said several times that that's about all he's done since he landed. He's stressed character recruiting, which isn't surprising given his background and style.
Called himself an "adaptive coach." I didn't see this mentioned a lot, but I think it's important. Most coaches have to adapt at some point, but he came out and said it unprompted. Always a bonus.
His sale job on himself was actually really good. He did the whole "family" and "honesty" routine that so many coaches do, but I actually bought it on him. I didn't, for the record, with Edsall, maybe because he sold his kids at UConn out. Maybe the charisma is helping. But I bought that.
He went to the interview in sweats and three-day-old stubble. Good story-teller, and it's a pretty great story.
He has some learning to do about the roster. He mentioned that he watched one Maryland game last year. He admitted that he doesn't know much about them, and he also said that he's not going to watch too much film and judge them by their performances last year. Sounds good for Mychal Parker.
On the staff: He specifically mentioned "Rob and Bino" - no Booth. He lauded them for their assistance in making the transition easier. He wants to talk about it by the "end of the day."
On the recruits: A reporter mentioned that there were some players "ready to commit." Turge's response: "Oh, are there? Can you tell me who they are?" All joking aside, he said he's talked to all three current commits and said "the plan is to keep 'em intact." He also said he's going to be talking with one of them tonight - Sterling, I assume.
It's a press conference, so don't get carried away. Press conferences are nice to get to know a coach, especially if you find out that he's likable. But it says very little about his actual coaching ability. Great speakers can be horrible coaches and the other way around. The jury is still out, but I feel a lot better about this hire today than I did yesterday.
Thoughts? Do you feel better about the hire now?
Review Numero Dos
There was a little miscommunication over who was doing the press conference review, so we've got two for your viewing (er...reading) pleasure. We touch on a lot of the same stuff, but if you're like me and can't stop proscrastinating before finals, or you just want a second opinion, take a look. - Ben G.
Today it became official: there is a new head basketball coach at the University of Maryland. Let that sink in for a couple seconds...
Kevin Anderson and Johnny Holiday kicked off the festivities with glowing introductions of Maryland's new basketball coach, Mark Turgeon. Holiday went first, listing Turgeon's accomplishments both as a player at Kansas, and later as a head coach at Jacksonville State, Wichita State, and Texas A&M. Anderson followed with a stumbling, bumbling, and at times incoherent, speech in which he praised Turgeon's character, coaching record, and desire to win.
All in all it was hard to walk away from that press conference and not be impressed with Mark Turgeon. Among the biggest things that stood out to me:
His character: At one point in the press conference when he mentioned having to say goodbye to his players, he got pretty emotional. He also choked up when talking about his family. Now, obviously tearing up doesn't necessarily mean he has good character but there was definitely a genuineness about him that was nice to see. Much like Gary, he's a straight shooter that's going to be brutally honest. That might not mesh well with every recruit, but for some guys and their families, his honesty is going to be a real plus on the recruiting trail.
His confidence: Replacing a legend isn't easy but I thought Turge (Yup, that's what we're going with) did a perfect job of giving Gary his due while setting out his own goals for the program. One of my favorite lines from the press conference was when he said "Gary Williams was Maryland basketball. I hope in 15 or 20 years or however long this lasts, I hope you all will say that Mark Turgeon was Maryland basketball." That's a pretty bold statement right there. Not cocky, but certainly confident. I like it.
Recruiting: Namely, he stressed it. Turgeon said something to the effect of "We're going to recruit like crazy" and emphasized the importance of building relationships with the highschool/AAU people in this area. Turge also mentioned he's already made some calls to ‘some guys' (we knows he's contacted Team Takeover's Keith Stevens) about playing a part in the growth of the program. Simply put, he said all the right things in terms of recruiting.
Assistant coaches: Much like he did yesterday on the SVP show, Turgeon stressed the importance of having an "East-coast" staff. He also mentioned Rob and Bino by name and thanked them for helping him make the transition. Hopefully, both those guys will be retained. Bino has already shown his recruiting prowess and Rob is a considered a rising star in the college basketball world. Turgeon also said that he is likely to bring a few guys over from A&M as well and that he hopes to have his staff compiled by early next week.
The Zinger: And of course a roundup of the press conference wouldn't be complete without a mention of Turgeon's one-liner that sent the assembled media into a frenzy. When asked about what Gary Williams' role would be in the program, he responded, "Well, I know that Gary is not going to sabotage Maryland basketball."
BOOM Debbie Yow!
Overall, I thought he did a great job and I think he will quickly endear himself to Terp fans. He's got the personality, the competitiveness, and the coaching skills to win over a lot of people here. Of course, his popularity will ultimately come down to how many games he wins.
If Mark Turgeon's past is any indication of his future, he's going to be a pretty popular guy in College Park for years to come.