The Maryland men’s basketball team hasn’t fallen into a groove yet this season, and another obstacle has been thrown in its way.

Mark Turgeon, the head men’s basketball coach for 10-plus years, and the university mutually agreed to part ways Dec. 3 after a disheartening 62-58 loss to Virginia Tech at Xfinity Center two days prior. With former assistant Danny Manning at the helm, the Terps will look to right the ship during the remaining three months of the regular season.

That will be easier said than done. Maryland dropped its Big Ten opener to Northwestern, 67-61, Dec. 5 and will have to face No. 20 Florida Dec. 12 before taking on one of the most difficult conference schedules in men’s basketball. As the team moves on from its longtime leader, it will have to pick up the pieces to salvage the season.

“I was shocked. Think about it — [Turgeon was] 82-50 in Big Ten play. That’s the third-best record as a head coach over the time he’s been there in the league,” ESPN college basketball analyst and former Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg said of Turgeon’s exit on Glenn Clark Radio Dec. 6. “He’s won a Big Ten championship. He went to the Sweet 16. The COVID year, he would’ve been to the NCAA Tournament six out of seven years. … The timing was odd.”

Turgeon owned a 226-117 overall record from his 343 games with the Terps, but Greenberg says his departure goes beyond the performance of the team on the court and extends to the relationship between the program, university and fan base.

“A lot of things come into play. … Was the relationship with his athletic director perfect? Probably not,” Greenberg said. “If you’re not winning at the level that your [athletic director] wants you to win, your relationship isn’t going to be perfect. That’s just the way it is.”

“If he’s just continually getting beat up, is that good for the program? No. Is that good for the players in the program? Certainly not,” he added.

Maryland’s role in college basketball nationally has been muddled since the 2002 national championship. Despite the disappointments throughout the past decade, the program became a mainstay in the NCAA Tournament in recent years and played well in the challenging Big Ten.

“The other teams in the Big Ten are trying to win. The other teams around the country are trying to win,” Greenberg said. “Maryland is not Kentucky, and I hate to tell you this. Indiana has a pretty good tradition, and the success Mark had was far superior to [former Indiana head coach] Archie Miller and the success he had.”

Turgeon did develop some pros during his tenure as well. There are six former Terps currently on NBA rosters, most notably Kevin Huerter (Atlanta Hawks). Two more recent Terps, Aaron Wiggins (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Jalen Smith (Phoenix Suns) turned in impressive collegiate careers and are trying to make an impact at the next level.

“Mark Turgeon did a really good job. Did he do a great job? No, very few guys do a great job, especially in the eyes of the fans,” Greenberg said. “… All these geniuses that say, ‘Oh, guys don’t develop.’ Kevin Huerter developed pretty good. Melo Trimble had a pretty good career. Anthony Cowan wasn’t a pro, but he had a great career because he got better and he understood.”

Manning, Turgeon’s replacement in the interim, played with Turgeon at Kansas from 1984-1987.

He tacks on an additional 15 years of experience in the NBA that includes two All-Star nods. Just months after joining the program, Manning has been thrust to the forefront of a Maryland basketball program looking to get back on track.

“It’s unfair, it’s disappointing,” Greenberg said. “I hate it for Mark because I think he’s a very good coach. I hate it for the players [because of] unrest in the middle of the season. Even for Danny … Danny’s in a no-win situation.”

For more from Greenberg, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox