Mark Turgeon Deserves Strong Consideration for Coach of the Year


Feb 8, 2015; Iowa City, IA, USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon gestures from the sidelines against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes won 71-55. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a year makes. Not too long ago, Maryland Terrapins head basketball coach Mark Turgeon was on the proverbial hot seat. However, on Wednesday, Turgeon was selected as one of 15 semifinalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award.

This Maryland team is the best we’ve seen in College Park in years. Mark Turgeon deserves much of the credit for their success. In their first three seasons under Turgeon, the Terps went 59-43 and made one NIT appearance in 2013. During those three seasons in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the team never made it to the NCAA Tournament.

The program appeared to be in a world of trouble after a host of players, whom Turgeon recruited, transferred to other schools. Seth Allen, Nick Faust, Shaquille Cleare, and Charles Mitchell all felt it was best for them to continue their collegiate careers elsewhere. People on the outside were looking at Turgeon as the problem, especially if four key rotation players decided to leave the program.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Turgeon was asked about the state of program. He responded, saying, “But I believe in the guys who stayed. I believe in the guys we have coming in. I know what type of kids we have. Eventually, I think people will understand what I’m talking about.”

Out with the old, in with the new, right? Some people began to question if Turgeon would ever get the job done, but in his fourth season at the helm, those questions seem to have been answered. Once Maryland joined the Big Ten, something seemed to just click.

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The conference realignment was not the only change for the Maryland basketball program. Turgeon brought in players who bought into his system and he has reaped the benefits. Freshmen Melo Trimble, Dion Wiley, and Jared Nickens, as well as North Carolina A&T transfer Richaud Pack, have been just what the doctor ordered.

The Terps are currently ranked 10th in the AP Poll, boasting a 25-5 overall record and 13-4 conference record in its inaugural B1G season. They are in prime position to earn either a two or three-seed in the NCAA Tournament. After losing several key players, Turgeon didn’t panic. He knew this time would come and Maryland fans everywhere are ecstatic.

They say patience is a virtue and this man has proven that to be true. He’s battled obstacle after obstacle and it’s only made him a better coach. For him to be able to withstand such great adversity, speaks volumes about his character and why Maryland hired him in the first place.

There’s this mantra that says, “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.” Just ask Mark Turgeon.

Next: Lady Terps to Play Michigan St. in Quarterfinals