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Mark Turgeon, Maryland agree to three-year extension

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The deal sets the course for the near future of the program, ending weeks of speculation.

Maryland v Alabama Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Maryland men’s basketball head coach Mark Turgeon has signed a three-year contract extension, the university announced Wednesday after weeks of speculation.

Turgeon’s previous contract was set to run through the 2022-23 season, making it necessary for the school to reach some sort of resolution with him this offseason to avoid a lame-duck situation. The new deal now runs through 2025-26. It will be effective May 1.

The head coach will make $3.3 million for this upcoming season ($750,000 base salary combined with supplemental income of $2,575,000) and that will increase by $100,000 each year until the contract’s expiration.

“We believe in Coach Turgeon and are excited about what the future holds for Maryland basketball,” athletic director Damon Evans said, per release. “Coach is fully committed to Maryland and we are in agreement of the expectations for our program as we move forward. Coach and the staff have already been at work recruiting and building on our recent success. We all need to do our part, pulling in the same direction, pursuing a championship-level program.”

Across his time in College Park, Turgeon has amassed a 221-113 (.662) record with appearances in five of the last six NCAA Tournaments — it would have been six in seven if it weren’t for the abrupt end of the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. He has led the program to the second weekend of March Madness once during his tenure thus far, when the Terps made it to the Sweet 16 in the 2015-16 season.

One of the biggest things to watch with this contract extension was going to be the buyout terms. The school will owe Turgeon $5 million if he is fired before May 1, 2022 and $4.5 million if let go the season after that. From there, the amount decreases $1 million each season. Maryland won’t be able to move on with a new head coach for less than $2.5 million until May 1, 2025.

In terms of incentives, Turgeon will receive $25,000 for each NCAA Tournament appearance and can earn a maximum $250,000 bonus for winning a national championship. If the Terps win a Big Ten regular season or tournament championship outright, he gets $75,000.

Among the incentives is that the buyout can continue to increase if he reaches certain milestones. If Maryland wins or ties for the Big Ten regular season championship or wins the tournament, an additional $1 million will be added to the buyout. The buyout will also increase by $1 million if the Terps make a Sweet 16 appearance.

On the other hand, however, Turgeon can get out of the contract with ease. He will owe the school $500,000 if he leaves his position for any “athletically-related employment or consulting in intercollegiate athletics or professional sport” with three or more years remaining. That drops to $350,000 with two years left and $250,000 with one year left.

With three years left on his original contract following the Sweet 16 appearance in 2016, Turgeon was awarded a four-year extension through the 2022-23 season from former athletic director Kevin Anderson. He now has been extended once again, though this time on a shorter deal.

That contract was guaranteed, while this new one is not, a member of the athletic department clarified. If Evans had elected to fire Turgeon after this season and not renew the contract, Maryland would have owed the 56-year-old $14.2 million, according to the athletic department. Testudo Times previously reported it would have been $5 million, which has been widely circulated as how much would have been owed.

Turgeon led the Terps to a share of the Big Ten regular season championship in 2019-20, marking the program’s first share of a conference title since 2009-10. That team arguably had the most potential to make a deep run out of any group during the head coach’s time at Maryland, but the pandemic wiped away any chance of that.

In the months following the end of that season, Turgeon couldn’t land the right pieces to replace the Terps’ star duo of Anthony Cowan Jr. and Jalen Smith, and numerous players transferred out of the program as well.

Maryland entered 2020-21 with a flawed roster and struggled early with a loaded Big Ten slate. After starting 4-9 in conference play, the team put together a five-game win streak and defeated Michigan State in its first game of the Big Ten tournament to earn a March Madness berth as a 10-seed. The Terps (17-14, 9-11 Big Ten) earned a victory over No. 7 seed Connecticut in the first round before falling to No. 2 seed Alabama in the Round of 32 to end the year.

“I learned a lot about coaching, I learned a lot about myself,” Turgeon said following the season-ending defeat. “I think I became a better coach this year because of the things I had to go through.”

The team was without a true point guard or center in 2020-21 and Turgeon has already picked up key pieces this offseason to fill such holes. In just around an hour last Saturday, the head coach landed commitments from Georgetown center Qudus Wahab and Rhode Island point guard Fatts Russell. Senior guard Darryl Morsell announced earlier this week that he will be exploring all options for next season, including testing the NBA Draft waters and transfer portal while leaving the door open to return to Maryland. It remains unclear whether guard Aaron Wiggins elects to stay or test the NBA Draft waters.

“I want to thank Damon Evans and President Pines for their continued belief in me to lead the basketball program,” Turgeon said. “Maryland is a special place and my commitment to the program has never wavered. I am extremely proud of our recent accomplishments as Big Ten champions and as NCAA Tournament qualifiers six of the last seven years and we are hungry for more. We are building great momentum heading into the 2021-22 season and I am excited for our future.”

Editor’s note: This article was updated with financial terms after receiving our FOIA request. A member of the athletic department later clarified that the new contract is non-guaranteed, while the old one was fully guaranteed, which is now reflected in the article.