Former Maryland men’s basketball head coach Mark Turgeon started off his collegiate basketball career as a player at the University of Kansas and after graduating from the university, started getting acclimated to coaching.
Out of college, Turgeon worked as an assistant to Larry Brown, his former coach and was part of the team that current interim head coach Danny Manning led to a National Championship in 1988.
He spent time at Kansas until 1992 when he moved to the University of Oregon to become an assistant there. After a few years there, Turgeon went to the NBA for one year to work as an assistant for Brown who was with the Philadelphia 76ers.
In 1998, Turgeon accepted his first position as a head coach when he took a job at Jacksonville State University. The head coach helped the program make a significant jump from an 8-18 season in 1998-99, tied for tenth in the conference to a 17-11 season, tied for third in the conference. In his first season with Gamecocks, the team earned three conference victories and the following season, that number jumped up to 12.
Following his stint in Alabama, Turgeon spent seven seasons at Wichita State. In those years, he amassed a winning record of 128-90 and a 71-55 record in conference play which was the Missouri Valley Conference at the time. That coaching run included a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2005-06 and a Sweet 16 appearance that same season.
Turgeon’s last head coaching job before joining Maryland Athletics was at Texas A&M. In his four seasons with the Aggies, he led them to a 25-win season in 2007-08 followed by three 24-win seasons. In all four seasons in Texas, Turgeon led the team to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
With the Aggies, Turgeon earned Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2011.
Ahead of the 2011-12 season, Turgeon made the move to the ACC where he took over as the head coach of Maryland men’s basketball. However, in College Park Turgeon had big shoes to fill in the eyes of Maryland fans: head coach Gary Williams.
Williams began his stint as head coach of the terps in 1989-90, just a few years after Maryland star Len Bias passed away a couple of days after the Boston Celtics drafted him early in the first round of the 1986 NBA Draft. Williams coached a program in need of rebuilding and slowly but surely, with the help of players such as Walt Williams, was able to get that done. In 1993-94, the team made its first Sweet 16 appearance since 1985. From that season to the 2003-04 season, Maryland consistently made the NCAA Tournament. Two consecutive Sweet 16 appearances were followed by two first-round eliminations, then two more Sweet 16s before a second-round elimination in 1999-00.
Then, in 2000-01, Williams led the Terps to its first Final Four appearance where ACC rival Duke walked away with the victory. The following year, Maryland built upon its success returning key players such as Steve Blake, Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter and Williams led the Terps to a National Championship.
A few years later, Maryland did not make the tournament and then began to struggle to qualify for three out of the following five years. In 2010, Maryland made another jump winning a portion of the ACC regular season title earning Williams ACC Coach of the Year, which he also won in 2002. But, in the 2010-11 season, Maryland finished 19-14 and did not make the postseason.
In May of that year, Williams announced he would retire. Enter Turgeon.
The head coach from Texas A&M had the tall task of following Williams’ success that was unprecedented for the program at the time.
Although he did not bring Maryland back a Final Four or National Championship, Turgeon saw success as the Terps’ leader of 10 years.
Including the first eight games of his 11th year, Turgeon compiled a 226-116 (.661) winning record. In six of the 10 full seasons, Maryland had six 23-plus win seasons, made a trip to the NIT Semifinal in 2012-13 and had NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons once Maryland joined the Big Ten.
In 2015, following Maryland’s first season in the new conference, Turgeon led the team to a 28-7 record including a 14-4 run in conference play during the regular season. The Terps only fell against Ilinois, then-No. 23 Indiana, Ohio State and Iowa. The performance led to Turgeon earning Big Ten Coach of the Year. Maryland later lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten semifinals and fell to West Virginia in the Round of 32.
After that season, Turgeon led the Terps to two more consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances followed by the 2017-18 season in which the Terps missed the tournament and finished eighth in the conference. The following year, Maryland bounced back going 23-11, qualifying again and then in the 2019-20 season, the Terps seemed fit to end its season on a high note.
Maryland started 10-0 and the Terps continued to succeed throughout the season as it had the opportunity to clinch a portion of the Big Ten regular season title in its final game against Michigan. The Terps were ranked ninth in the nation at the time as they welcomed then-No. 25 Michigan into the Xfinity Center.
The last time fans filled the building for a men’s basketball game before the coronavirus pandemic, Turgeon led the Terps to become Big Ten Champions. The consensus was that this Maryland team was poised to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament however, the pandemic canceled the postseason.
Last season, Maryland won its first four games before losing back-to-back to Clemson and then-No. 19 Rutgers. However, the Terps picked things up in the middle of the season to find themselves in a position to once again qualify for the NCAA Tournament; Turgeon’s sixth time qualifying in seven years.
After upsetting No. 7-seed UConn, Maryland couldn’t find the win in the Round of 32 against Alabama forcing another early elimination from the tournament.
In the offseason, the Terps lost two assistant coaches in DeAndre Haynes who went to Marquette and Bino Ranson who left the program to join DePaul’s coaching staff. Turgeon filled those voids with Danny Manning and Bruce Shingler.
The Terps also lost guards Aaron Wiggins and Darryl Morsell to the NBA and Marquette, respectively but Turgeon looked to rebuild the roster. In addition to bringing in four-star freshmen in Ike Cornish and Julian Reese, Turgeon worked the transfer portal.
The Terps picked up guard Xavier Green (Old Dominion), forward Simon Wright (Elon) along with current starters guard Fatts Russell (Rhode Island) and center Qudus Wahab (Georgetown). Earlier this season, Wahab said Turgeon was the first coach to call him when he entered his name into the portal.
However, this team with high expectations has yet to figure out how to put together the pieces starting off with a more challenging nonconference slate than in past years but also starting slow costing them some wins early on. After starting 5-3, the university announced on Dec. 3 that Turgeon and the program mutually agreed to part ways. The university is still honoring the terms of his contract including the $5 million buyout the two parties agreed on in April.
Now, in comes Manning, who played with Turgeon at Kansas, and who will serve as the program’s interim head coach until the end of the season when the university will conduct a full search for a new coach to take on the role.
Manning had a successful career in Lawrence, Kansas. In 1987 and 1988, Manning was a first-team all-American and it was during the ’98 season, he led Kansas to an NCAA Championship. That year, the accolades flowed in for Manning as he earned the Wooden Award, Naismith Player of the Year and NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
Manning capped off his collegiate career with 2,951 points which are at the top of Kansas’ program record books and rank 12th in the NCAA.
Following college, the Los Angeles Clippers selected him No. 1 overall in the 1988 NBA Draft. The Jayhawk played professionally for 15 years as a two-time NBA All-State in 1993 and 1994 and ended his NBA career with 12,367 points before retiring in 2003.
Then, Manning decided to try his hand in coaching.
From 2003-12, Manning worked at Kansas: three years as a manager and six as an assistant head coach. In 2008, Manning was part of the coaching staff that led the Jayhawks to a National Championship, their first since he did so as a player in 1988.
He then spent two years at Tulsa where he earned Conference USA Coach of the Year and led Tulsa to the Conference USA Tournament title in his second season. He also led the team to its first NCAA Tournament since 2003 before beginning his head coaching career at Wake Forest.
With the Demon Deacons, Manning did not coach the team to an above .500 season in six seasons and ultimately was relieved of his coaching duties in April 2020. As a head coach Manning has amassed a 116-140 (.413) record but recruiting is a strength of the former NBA All-Star.
Under Manning’s leadership, 21 players have advanced to play professionally including power forward John Collins who is on the Atlanta Hawks roster with former Terp Kevin Huerter who played under Turgeon.
As per the Baltimore Sun’s Ryan McFadden, athletic director Damon Evans has not ruled out the possibility of Manning taking the permanent role as head coach however, the university will still conduct a national search.
Now, as Maryland men’s basketball enters a new chapter, Manning has the opportunity to lead the team as the Terps get set to take on their first conference opponent of the 2021-22 season in Northwestern.