Mark Turgeon – A “Below the Radar” Homerun?

During the first half of conference play, the SFN community started seriously talking about coaching prospects. My main contribution:

Mark Turgeon – Probably should have been our “B List” hire the last time. Now, after some great work at Texas A&M (Wichita State before that), I put him on the “A List.” He’s a former Roy Williams assistant, which adds instant fuel to the rivalry fires, and will bring more national publicity our way. Probably more affordable (but not cheap), and perhaps the most upside. I could easily see him winning a national title here. Combo of being from a Hall of Fame “coaching tree” with head coaching success in his own right.

Turgeon’s Aggies finished third and league play, and lost in the Big 12 semi-finals to Texas. This can be viewed as the one smudge on Turgeon’s record – he pretty much had his ass handed to him thrice by Rick Barnes’ Longhorns this season. However, I would caution that: (i) Texas A&M is largely regarded as playing well above their talent level (they have no stars, but win with depth, defense, rebounding, and effort); and (ii) the Aggies’ historical record against the ‘Horns is abyssmal. To be #3 in an extremely tough conference in just his fourth season (at a school with almost no tradition of success on the hardwood) is damned impressive. One could argue (as I do) that what Mark Turgeon needs to take the next step is a program with the institutional advantages that NC State offers. That’s what makes it such a good fit – NC State needs Mark Turgeon, and Mark Turgeon needs NC State.

The only real issue – to me – is that Turgeon has always been a midwest guy, back to his playing days at Kansas (as an undersized, backup PG – the perfect example of a guy that had to have a great basketball IQ to play at the high D-1 level) and his apprenticeship under two legendary coaches (Larry Brown and Roy Williams). Does he want to come East? He might have to, if he wants to reach the next level of success (like almost all successful young coaches, Turgeon has a healthy competitive spriit and ego). And there’s a very strong personal element that only he can answer – would he welcome the chance to compete against one of his mentors for the next 5-10 years? Or is that something that makes him uncomfortable?

Keep an eye on Mark Turgeon this weekend. The Aggies are seeded 7th in the Southwest, with a tough, physical first round matchup against Florida State. But if A&M passes that test (and Turgeon is 4-0 in NCAAT first round games), they face a very beatable Notre Dame squad in the second round. Turgeon made the Sweet Sixteen at Wichita State, but lost in round two in each of his previous three seasons in College Station. Given that the following weekend’s games would be played in San Antonio, Texas A&M is a legitimate Final Four dark horse. We would probably rather that not happen, from a selfish perspective.

To recap, Mark Turgeon is a young coach, with a very good reputation in coaching circles. He’s won at multiple stops, including the major D-1 level (at a challenging place to win). He has assisted two sure-fire Hall of Fame college coaches. His teams rebound and play defense. What’s not to like?

For more background, here’s Turgeon’s Wikipedia page and official bio page.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

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29 Responses to Mark Turgeon – A “Below the Radar” Homerun?

  1. MattN 03/14/2011 at 11:06 AM #

    Turgeon? ONLY if Miller turns us down. Which I don’t think will happen, unless Miller gets to a Final4.

  2. BladenWolf 03/14/2011 at 11:09 AM #

    Good post. I think Turgeon has a lot of upside and the link to Larry Brown and Ol’ Roy is intriguing. I also like the fact that he “team” wins and doesn’t just rely on one or two four/five star players to win the game. I take that is because of his relatively short tenure at A&M and hasn’t had the track record to pull in good recruits…yet. If he keeps his clubs around third best in the Big 12, then that will change.
    I’m curious as to what his buyout would be seeing he is in his fourth year of his contract. Would he be any “cheaper” than say, Dixon or Miller?

  3. primacyone 03/14/2011 at 11:18 AM #

    Dang man. I’ve got A&M losing to FSU in the first round. FSU is built like Texas. If FSU shows up, I don’t thing A&M can handle them.

    He’s a good coach. I think a B+ candidate for us. My only down fall with him is he potennially has “not the princeton offense” tendancies, if you konw what I mean.

    But I really don’t know him well enough go form an opinion. I think I only saw 3-4 A&M games this year, and unfortuantly two of those were against Texas.

  4. adwomack 03/14/2011 at 11:51 AM #

    Great read here. Turgeon does seem like a good option. The gamble is always how well someone like that recruits. Defense and effort only get you so far against top teams like Duke and UNC. But, you could have said the same thing about Bill Self before he went to Kansas. I think that is working out pretty well.

    And I don’t think Miller will come back to State unless he really wants to be on the East Coast. Arizona has a great tradition, and he has proven he can win there.

  5. timswar 03/14/2011 at 11:54 AM #

    Is it still ok for me to unreasonably hope for Billy Donovan (if he gets frustrated being #2 at UF) or Sean Miller? I wouldn’t be disappointed by any smart hire from Yow, but as an NCSU fan I feel I have a right to some kind of unreasonable expectation.

  6. Old MacDonald 03/14/2011 at 12:05 PM #

    What is this “defense” and “rebounding” BJD95 talks about? Are those things that would be good to have?

  7. Wulfpack 03/14/2011 at 12:08 PM #

    I’d be thrilled with Turgeon. Great coach.

    If Singleton returns for the Noles, that could help to push up his interview date with the Pack.

  8. wufpaxno1 03/14/2011 at 12:14 PM #

    1. Turgeon runs a slower Tempo offense, has a line-up with few to no 4 star recruits, can’t beat his biggest in state rival, and finishes consistently around third or fourth in the league. Now where have I heard that before?
    2. Sean Miller does have a strong desire to be back on the east coast, outweighed only by his strong dislike of our new Athletic director. Don’t get me wrong, Debbie Yow was the right choice and I support her, but she also has a very strong personality which can be looked upon as very abrasive among the coaching community.

  9. Texpack 03/14/2011 at 12:40 PM #

    After BCG put Texas A&M basketball on the map, Turgeon has managed to keep things rolling since he took over. He is a good coach without a doubt. A&M has boat loads of cash, but I’m not sure they’d throw a lot of money at a BASKETBALL coach. His teams aren’t painful to watch either.

  10. Boyd 03/14/2011 at 12:42 PM #


    Why do you think Sean Miller doesn’t like DY?

  11. Wulfpack 03/14/2011 at 1:07 PM #

    Oklahoma just fired Capel. I don’t know if this affects Turgeon, if at all. Certainly, they would want him.

  12. BJD95 03/14/2011 at 1:13 PM #

    NC State is a better job than Oklahoma. Unless Turgeon won’t leave the Midwest, in which case we weren’t getting him in any event.

  13. Lock 03/14/2011 at 1:16 PM #

    I’m sorry, where in the ACC/NCAA bylaws does it say that if a team wins a championship, should they be caught playing a slower-tempo offense, the championship is rendered null and void?

    If he wins, bring him on.

  14. newt 03/14/2011 at 1:20 PM #

    No great coach wins above his team’s talent level. The great ones (e.g. Wooden, Smith, K, etc.) win with better talent.

  15. tjfoose1 03/14/2011 at 1:26 PM #

    “No great coach wins above his team’s talent level”.

    I’ve read a lot of misguided and incorrect statements on this site. This one is up there.

    Most great coaches do win above the collective talent level of the individuals on his/her roster. It is what makes them “great”.

  16. packalum44 03/14/2011 at 1:34 PM #

    Brad Stevens. But I get your point Newt. Kind of the opposite of Roy.

  17. freshmanin83 03/14/2011 at 1:42 PM #

    I wonder if Coach Valvano won with superior talent?

  18. packalum44 03/14/2011 at 1:43 PM #

    Can he recruit at a level that Sean, Donnovan or Barnes has proven to? State has the tools in place for a good recruiter, but there are only a half dozen programs that recruit themself. We ain’t one of em’. I worry a little about this and Mark.

  19. baxter 03/14/2011 at 2:02 PM #

    I’m a bit confused about where all this Yow is abrasive, involved, hated by coaches talk comes from, I haven’t seen a thread yet this year about how Yow was all up in TOB / Sid’s business. The only thing I have seen is we have a before and after year review. So is this just the rub from when she wanted to remove Gary and Fridge? Because you figure with how crappy the team was this year, she would have been all over Sid from the word go.

    Dunno, but if you don’t want to be held accountable or pushed to be better, don’t coach here.

  20. NCSU84 03/14/2011 at 2:05 PM #

    freshmanin 83, I do not want to take anything away from coach V and the 83 team. I was there at the time and to have your school win a national championship while you are a student is something you never forget. But the truth is, the 83 team was playing against all odds and it was truly a Cinderella story that happens every 100 years. However, I am (and I think most on this board) looking for a team that is EXPECTED to win – much like the 74 team. A team that is ranked throughout the year and competes with UNC and Duke CONSISTENTLY. In order to have this type of team we will need superior coaching AND superior talent. There is no way to avoid this fact.

  21. adwomack 03/14/2011 at 2:05 PM #

    Anybody have any thoughts on when an announcement might be made about Lowe’s future? I was thinking it would come by tomorrow, or at the latest by Thursday.

  22. lush 03/14/2011 at 2:41 PM #

    i dont see how the team who tied for first place in the big east regular season is an easily beatable team.

    turgeon would be a good hire, but he is still a “B” list guy behind barnes, wright, & miller.

  23. ryebread 03/14/2011 at 3:20 PM #

    I don’t personally understand why Turgeon is an A List candidate. To me he looks like a B list candidate based on his results. He’s got a solid record, but about 1/2 the time I watch them, they’re getting absolutely blasted by the really good teams.

    -> Losses this year:
    – By 2 to BC
    – By 21 to Texas
    – By 9 to Nebraska
    – By 20 to Texas
    – By 2 to Baylor
    – By 7 to Baylor
    – By 13 to Kansas
    – By 12 to Texas

    The games against Texas and Kansas really weren’t that close. The two losses to Baylor (as well as some results from last season) tell me that Turgeon’s teams struggle with the athletic types.

    Turgeon also looks like one that we’d probably have to over pay to get. TAMU has deep pockets and if they want to keep him, that will turn into a bidding war.

    Maybe this article is being posted because he’s someone we’re talking to. If that’s the hire, then I’d support him and pull for him. At the same time, that’s not an A List candidate to me. I’d much rather have Tubby (who I believe is attainable for similar money).

  24. Rochester 03/14/2011 at 3:27 PM #

    ^Tubby’s Gophers lost 10 of their last 11 games, so if you want to subtract points from Turgeon for some bad losses, in all fairness you’ve got to knock Tubby down a bit as well. I know he lost a few players along the way to injury and transfer, but that’s an awful finish.

  25. 61Packer 03/14/2011 at 3:49 PM #

    I really don’t see why Turgeon would want to come here in the first place, plus if he did, he’d bolt to Kansas when the job came available.

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