The Mark Turgeon era in College Park ended on Friday when the coach and school parted ways roughly one month into his 11th season in charge. Turgeon’s tenure ends in a shroud of negativity, with uncertainty at an all-time high and the team at quite a low.
But his decade at Maryland wasn’t all bad. There were good times, good players, and good seasons that came through College Park under Turgeon’s watch. Not enough, but they did happen.
These are the five-best moments from Turgeon’s time as the Maryland head coach, in order.
Top 5 Moments of the Turgeon Era
5: Beating Belmont in the NCAA Tournament
In 2018-19, Turgeon’s Terps outlasted Belmont in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, staving off a good Bruins team in what was a tight game throughout.
We don’t speak of what happened next.
4: Upsetting Virginia in Final ACC Game
Ultimately, this game didn’t matter – Maryland was terrible in 2013-14 and not going to the tournament without a miracle run to end the season, and Virginia had already wrapped up the ACC regular season crown. But it did matter, and quite a lot, because it was Maryland’s last home ACC game and last regular season ACC game ever.
The Terps and Cavs aren’t very friendly, and you could feel it in the arena that day. Like I said, Maryland was not good that season and Virginia had one conference loss up to that point, but Turgeon’s Terps got it done and delivered their fans with something to smile about in what was a very forgettable final year in the conference.
3: Downing Duke
Duke is not a popular concept at Maryland, and that used to be much more true when the two teams shared a conference like they did when Turgeon’s Terps upset the No. 2 Blue Devils, 83-81, in College Park on Feb. 17, 2013.
Maryland beat No. 2 Duke again in the ACC Tournament later that same season, but the team lost to North Carolina in its next game and did not make the NCAA Tournament. The victory in College Park was the last time Duke came to town, and it also included Quinn Cook claiming DC was his city and then losing.
2: 2016 Sweet 16
This was the furthest Turgeon ever took Maryland and the only Sweet 16 the Terps have experienced since 2003.
It’s not first on my list because of the team’s path, how it performed against its two double-digit seeded opponents, and how that whole season went from beginning to end. But you can’t deny a Sweet 16, and especially not the only Sweet 16 for the program in almost two decades.
1: 2019-20 Big Ten Championship
The 2019-20 team was Turgeon’s best at Maryland, and that’s ultimately why I think the Big Ten championship from that season was his best moment in College Park. The Terps were legitimate Final Four contenders heading into March, which is really the only Turgeon team you can say about that, and were robbed of a shot at the Big Ten Tournament or NCAA Tournament because of the pandemic.
It’s interesting to imagine how the present situation could be different had the pandemic not happened, or even struck in America five weeks later rather than right when it did. What if Maryland goes deep in March and Turgeon buys himself more good will? Would it have changed anything now? There’s no way to know, and that team wasn’t so good that a Final Four seemed likely, but you have to wonder…