The search for Gary Williams replacement is now complete, Texas A&M’s Mark Turgeon will coach the men’s basketball team at College Park. For the University of Maryland’s Athletic Director Kevin Anderson, this is the second major coaching change he’s had to deal with since arriving to Maryland in 2010.
Anderson fired football coach Ralph Friedgen in December and hired his replacement, Randy Edsall, in January, but was forced to find a replacement for Williams, who retired last week.
Both openings seemed to generate the same chatter from fans and analysts, but have produced some what disappointing results. It seems as though openings at Maryland are more highly touted by reporters and fans in the Baltimore/Washington area, but big names have turned the university’s programs down twice in the last few months.
The Washington Post’s Mike Wise talked about this phenomenon in a great column entitled “Maryland’s high-profile reality check.”
In his pursuit of an It Guy to generate new revenue streams for the university’s athletic coffers, Anderson has come across as the gym-class dreamer who thinks he has a shot with the homecoming queen — only to be shot down by her and the members of her court. Out of options on prom night, he finally texts his biology lab partner, who thought he would never ask.
Wise points out that Randy Edsall, who was hired to replace Friedgen is an attractive candidate, but he’s not nearly as exciting as the names like Texas Tech’s Mike Leach or Auburn’s Guz Malzahn that were thrown around after Friedgen was canned.
Turgeon is also a valuable replacement for Williams, but the reports of possible replacements like Arizona’s Sean Miller, Villanova’s Jay Wright, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey or Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon all proved to be false.
So there are two ways to interpret what’s gone on in College Park over the past four months. The first is that the new athletic director is beyond his depth and has no idea what’s necessary to land first-rate, high-profile coaching talent.
The second is that this has been a public litmus test of the national relevance of Maryland athletics, and the results show that the coaching profession’s best and brightest just don’t consider Terrapin Nation — and, by association, the ACC — the big time.
Which way do you interpret what’s going on in College Park?