New Maryland coach Mark Turgeon was in College Station last night meeting with his players to tell them that he was moving on to accept a coaching job at the University of Maryland. Shortly after that he met with the media, and explained his decision to move on, among other things. You can find video of that, sort of impromptu press conference here, but if you're at work and you can't turn the audio up, here is what coach Turgeon had to say:
I accepted the Maryland job earlier tonight, and, um, it as just too good of an offer for me to pass on. The thing that made it most difficult was the players. The guys have done everything I've asked for four years. We've had a great ride, and Bill Byrne has been really good to me too. So those have been the hardest parts of the whole thing. It's been a tough day, back and forth many times, and I just feel like Maryland is a great opportunity for me and my family.
On what separates Maryland from Texas A&M.
You know Maryland has got a great basketball tradition. They're real similar. Both programs are great. I'm very fortunate, I'm a blessed person to have a choice that I had to make today. They're both great programs. The one thing I feel good about is that i inherited a good team, and I think I'm leaving my best team behind. That made the decision really hard, but I feel good about what I'm leaving behind for the next guy to continue on what Billy and I started.
On the timeline of his decision, and how hard it was for him to make.
It started yesterday afternoon. It overwhelms you. It's really not... these coaching searches aren't fair to coaches, not fair to players, not fair to families. But the way you have to make a decision. Luckily I had been to their campus before, many times. I hadn't seen the new arena, but knew enough about everything there. I told the players it was the hardest decision I've ever had to make. Marriage was easy I knew I was in love. Goint to KU was easy, that's where I always wanted to play College Basketball. Going to Wichita St. was easy. Going to A&M was an easy choice. Today was one of the hardest choices I've had to make, because of the young men in that room.
On if the sizes of the crowd at Texas A&M affected his decision.
Not really, it really doesn't. We had some great crowds in my four years. We set some records here, with crowds. I'll never forget the KU night, one because we lost, but two because the crowd was just phenominal. The students have accepted me from day one. I must have had, I don't know how many facebooks from students today just asking me to stay, meant a lot to me. I tried to build a relationship with them. I thought this year the locals did an unbelievable job of supporting us. This has nothing to do with whether we had 5,000 or 13,000, or Bill was going to pay me this much or Maryland was going to... it wasn't about money either. It was just a gut decision for me to try something.
On what made Maryland such an appealing place.
One is where it is located. I think it's a fantastic place. Just the area, alone. They have great tradition, won a National Championship seven years ago, I believe seven years ago. They've had a lot of great players, they've had first-round draft picks, and First pick in the draft in John Lucas. Because of what we've done heere the last few years we've developed a lot of relationships in that area. So I feel comfortable going in there, that we can be successful in recruiting because of our relationships we've built there. I think we talk all the time hotbeds for High School basketball. We talk about the Northeast a lot, Florida and Texas and California are right there too, but that's an area that's produced a lot of really good players and good teams.
On what he is going to miss most about Texas A&M.
I'm going to miss, this is just an unbelievable campus. What it represents, the core values, and everything that it represents. It's really a classy University, tremendous University. I'm going to miss the respect that this University has. I was really blown away from Day 1 with that part of it. So I'm going to miss that. No. 1 thing I'm going to miss the players, I mean without question. Right now they're still mad at me, and you can't blame them. But hopefully in time they'll get over it and know that I won't be their coach next year, but I'll always be their coach, and I'll always be there to help them.