According to The Athletic’s Seth Davis and Brian Hamilton, “there is no indication that Maryland has begun its search to replace Mark Turgeon in earnest.”

What a bombastic statement that seems to be! Maryland has known it will need a new head coach for three months! How could it possibly not have begun its search yet? What is the school waiting for? Who is running this operation, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred?

Of course, the reality is that the man who will lead the Maryland program next season is most likely currently leading a team that is trying to accomplish … something … and may be a bit preoccupied because of it.

While I haven’t done a lot of reporting about Maryland’s coaching search, I can confirm it hasn’t done nothing. I expect full credit when you start tweeting about this development. You can mock it all you want but it’s definitely about as relevant as, like, 90 percent of the time a cable news network uses their “Breaking News” chyron.

Listeners of Glenn Clark Radio know I have long assumed Providence coach Ed Cooley, USC coach Andy Enfield and Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard to be the most practical and realistic of the potential candidates for the job.

There are a number of other potential targets who have been brought up either by fans or pundits who always seemed less likely for age or “wild card” reasons, like former Michigan coach John Beilein or Auburn’s Bruce Pearl or Iona’s Rick Pitino.

Arkansas’ Eric Musselman and Alabama’s Nate Oats seemed a bit unrealistic. George Mason’s Kim English (Randallstown) and Coppin State’s Juan Dixon (Maryland) would be desirable with just a bit more coaching accomplishments but shouldn’t be totally ignored.

A secondary group has always existed in my mind as “where you find your coach if you can’t get one of those top three candidates.” That group includes Notre Dame’s Mike Brey (DeMatha), Colorado State’s Niko Medved, Cincinnati’s Wes Miller, Utah State’s Ryan Odom (the former UMBC coach) and BYU’s Mark Pope. And yes, interim coach Danny Manning certainly deserves to be somewhere on this list, particularly with the Feb. 27 win against No. 22 Ohio State providing a reminder that despite crazy circumstances, this team absolutely has not “quit.”

So as I try to figure out who might be the next Maryland basketball coach, I’ve always come back to Cooley, Enfield and Willard. Actually, I’ve come back to Cooley, Enfield, Willard and one particular question.

“Is Maryland a job worth leaving a place where you’re happy in order to get it?”

I had considered writing a column this week about who SHOULD be the next Maryland basketball coach. I just realized quite quickly that I have no idea how to quantify that. The first answer is “the guy who’s going to return the Terps to national prominence.” The next answer is “well, I hear that Jay Wright guy is pretty good. Maybe him!”

Which is what has led me to the more relevant question being, “Who would want the Maryland job?” It’s not just that I’ve dismissed Wright. You already noticed that I thought even Musselman and Oats were too unrealistic to practically consider. But after determining my three MOST practical candidates, I’ve still struggled with whether they’d really want the job.

Namely Cooley.

Ed Cooley has been almost Gary Williams-like during his run at Providence, consistently credited for doing with “more with less.” Despite having just one first-round NBA Draft pick during his tenure, he is about to take his team to a sixth NCAA Tournament in the last eight tries (it would be seven of nine had the 2020 Tournament not be canceled). He mixed in both a Big East tournament title in 2014. He just claimed the regular-season crown in the conference despite again fielding a roster devoid of top-level talent.

He’s an icon in his home city. Home-game atmospheres are among the best in the country. And this is in spite of the fact that he’s won just a single NCAA Tournament game during his tenure! Three years ago he rebuffed the advances of Michigan, leaving some to think there’s no way he could leave for a Maryland job that frankly doesn’t appear to be as good at this point. Should he (or any of these other candidates) really leave a place where he’s happy for a job at Maryland at this point?

“My reaction to you is this. No, they should not.”

That’s what former Georgia Tech and College of Charleston coach Bobby Cremins said Feb. 21 when I posed the question to him on Glenn Clark Radio.

“My advice, I would say, ‘Ed, are you happy?’ If he said to me, ‘Coach, I’m really, really happy,’ I would say just what you said. ‘Don’t mess with it.'”

Cremins, like so many, acknowledged that “Maryland is a great job.” And my only argument would be an argument of semantics. It’s definitely a good or maybe even a very good job. If I were a college coach, I’d prefer it to Tulane or Washington State or DePaul or UTEP or Boston College or a number of others. And I believe it could be a great job! It has been at certain times! But it’s a program that hasn’t even been within a win of a Final Four trip since winning the 2002 title and it’s a program that still doesn’t have a practice facility (although everyone within the program is extraordinarily confident that it is coming).

Is it a great job? Is it a job worth leaving a place where you’re happy because it gives you such an obvious chance to win a national championship? I’m … I’m just not sure.

Maybe Cooley isn’t as happy as there would be every reason to think he is. Maybe he’s reached a place in his life where a new challenge would make him happy. It’s easier to fathom why being at Maryland might make Enfield happy. He’s a Pennsylvania native and Johns Hopkins alum (who actually earned his MBA at Maryland). But perhaps happy might look like a beach in Southern California and a nice raise from USC. And Willard might be completely happy at Seton Hall, where he has similarly claimed Big East regular-season and tournament titles but only one NCAA Tournament win.

Truthfully, I think any of the three would be tremendous hires for Maryland. But if they’re happy where they are, I’m just not sure Maryland is worth abandoning that for.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Glenn Clark

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