COLLEGE PARK, MD — Official news broke Friday afternoon that long-time head coach of the Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball, Mark Turgeon, and the team had mutually agreed to part ways.
After the loss this week to unranked Virginia Tech on Len Bias Night, Turgeon exited the court to some very audible boos from a few unruly fans. It would turn out that would be his final game at the helm of the Terps’ basketball program that has spanned 10 seasons. He had just received a lucrative extension before the start of this 2021-2022 season. Turgeon’s final record with the Terps was 226–116 and a disappointing 105–79 in Big Ten play which came after the school’s difficult decision to transfer from the ACC conference ahead of the 2014–15 season. During Turgeon’s tenure, the team had five NCAA Tournament appearances in his first seven Big Ten seasons.
What we will never know is how the highly ranked Terps would have done with their 2020 team in the NCAA Tournament because that tourney was cancelled due to COVID-19. That team finished as the top team in the Big Ten that season.
This year’s Terps team went from 20th ranked to unranked after losses to George Mason, Louisville, and now Virginia Tech. Assistant coach Danny Manning will take over as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
With Manning as the interim head coach, he brings his own brand of experience as a star college player with Kansas, and his own failures as a former coach at Wake Forest and Tulsa. Manning was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1988 NBA draft. At 55 years of age, he has children around the same age as the players he will be coaching and mentoring.
Manning was just hired by Turgeon in April of this year. The pair knew each other from Kansas, and Manning brings a record of a former star player who has to get these players to step up. This team has had too many missed opportunities near the basket and an inconsistent back-court.
What Manning must do is get this Terrapins team back on track and winning before they jump into the Big Ten portion of their schedule. If Manning’s team can impress, he could change his title from “interim” to “permanent” and that will take winning.