Turgeon out as U.Md. basketball coach

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon reacts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against George Mason on Nov. 17, 2021, in College Park, Md. Turgeon is out as Maryland’s basketball coach after a slow start to his 11th season knocked the team out of the Top 25. The athletic department announced Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, that Turgeon was stepping down in what it called a mutual decision. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

Mark Turgeon is out as the men’s basketball coach at the University of Maryland, the school announced Friday.

In a statement, both sides described it as a mutual decision.

“After a series of conversations with Coach Turgeon, we agreed that a coaching change was the best move for Coach Turgeon and for the Maryland Men’s Basketball program,” Athletics Director Damon Evans said in a statement.

“After several in depth conversations with Damon, I have decided that the best thing for Maryland Basketball, myself and my family is to step down, effective immediately, as the head coach of Maryland Basketball,” Turgeon said in the statement.

Assistant Coach Danny Manning will take over for the rest of the season, starting with their home game Sunday, the school said.

Turgeon was in his 11th season as head coach at Maryland, two years removed after winning the Big Ten in 2020, the program’s first conference title since joining the league in the middle of the decade.

The 2021-22 Terps added a couple key transfers in forward Qudus Wahab and guard Fatts Russell, but the team hasn’t played particularly well so far. After starting the season ranked in the Top 25, a loss at home to Virginia Tech on Wednesday night dropped Maryland to 5-3 on the season.

Maryland also lost to George Mason, barely beat Hofstra and lost to Louisville and Virginia Tech.

WTOP sports reporters Dave Preston and George Wallace said the program’s lack of postseason success probably had a lot to do with Turgeon’s departure.

“Maryland has not had great success in March,” Preston said. “It’s not an elite program like a Duke or UNC or Kentucky, where you have Final Four expectations. But I think it’s reasonable given their history, given their success, to once every four or five years to get to Saturday in the Big 10 tournament, meaning you’re getting to the semifinals, and you’re getting to the second weekend in the NCAA, meaning you’re getting to the Sweet 16.”

“The fans were getting restless,” Wallace said. “It’s a Top 15 job, and you have to get to Sweet 16s consistently. And they only did once in his 10-plus years.”

When he took over, Turgeon had the challenging task of replacing Gary Williams, who led the Terrapins to their only national title in men’s basketball in 2002. Turgeon mostly kept Maryland relevant in both the ACC and Big Ten, but the program never reached its previous heights.

Turgeon’s record at Maryland was 226-116. They recorded winning seasons in all 10 of his complete seasons, and made the Sweet 16 after the 2015-2016 season, their first run that far in 13 years.

The school also said seven Terps were drafted by NBA teams in the past six years, tied for the most in the Big Ten during that period, and that all 35 players who exhausted their eligibility during his tenure earned degrees.

Manning is in his first year at Maryland. He and Turgeon played together from 1984 to 1987 at the University of Kansas, and he’s a former No. 1 overall NBA draft pick who played for 15 seasons. He was the head coach at Tulsa and, most recently, spent six years in charge of Wake Forest before joining the Terps as an assistant this season.

“He’s a great coach and a great person,” Evans said in the statement, “and I wish Mark, his wife Ann and his entire family all the best in the next chapter of their lives.”

Maryland said a national search for the next coach will begin after the season. Manning’s first game in charge is this weekend when the Terps open Big Ten play Sunday against Northwestern.

WTOP’s Dave Preston and George Wallace and The Associated Press contributed to this story. 

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

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