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Turgeon leaving Aggies for Terps

Texas A&M University men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon has accepted the head coaching job at the University of Maryland.

From A&M’s athletic department website, Turgeon stated:

“I accepted the Maryland job earlier tonight. It was just too good an offer for me to pass on. The thing that made it the most difficult was the players. Those guys have done everything I’ve asked for four years and we’ve had a great ride. (Director of Athletics) Bill Byrne has been real good to me too. Those are the hardest parts of the whole thing. It’s been a tough day. I’ve been back and forth many times. I just felt like Maryland was a great opportunity for me and my family.”

On the decision: “Maryland’s got a great basketball tradition. (These programs are) real similar. It’s a gut feeling. Both programs are great. I’m a blessed person to have the choice that I had to make today. They’re both great programs. The one thing I feel good about is 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 what Billy (Gillispie) and I have started.

“I told the players it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. Marriage was easy for me, I knew I was in love. Going to KU was easy, that’s where I always wanted to play college basketball. Going to Wichita State was easy. Going to Texas 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 locker room.”

On what he’ll miss about Texas A&M: “This is an unbelievable campus, and what it represents, the core values. It’s really a classy university, a tremendous university. I’m going to miss the respect that this university has. I was really blown away from day one with that part of it. The number one thing I’m going to miss is the players. Hopefully in time they’ll know I’ll always be there to help them.”

Also from A&M’s website, Athletic Director Bill Byrne stated:

“I’m really sorry to see Mark go. He did a tremendous job for us. He has continued to build our program. The good thing about this compared to when we hired Billy (Gillispie) and when we hired Mark is that we have built ourselves a basketball fan base and we’ve built ourselves some incredible facilities. So going out and attracting a great coach to Texas A&M is going to be a lot easier than when we hired Mark and when we hired Billy. I’m confident we’re going to have someone come in who will represent the values of Texas A&M, make sure the kids have a good experience and graduate, and that’s what I told them a few minutes ago. We’ll make sure they have a great experience here because I’m excited about the future of this basketball team coming up. This could have been Mark’s best team. We need to make sure we continue on that path.”

On the timetable: “We always keep a list. We always know some people that we think will work well with us here, so we’ll start that process again. (Mark) has done an incredible job for us. I really think we’ve built ourselves at Texas A&M to the point where we can go out and attract great coaches. If you look at who we’ve attracted in our other sports we’ve got some really outstanding coaches here.”

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Posted by on May 9 2011. Filed under Featured Stories, Sports.
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