Is Turgeon On The List?

When Mark Turgeon was a sophomore at Kansas, his head coach Larry Brown told him he would never play in the NBA but he should think about getting into coaching when his career at Kansas was over.

Turgeon took the advice of his coach and from that point forward Brown took the college point guard under his wing and began grooming him to be a college coach. He graduated from Kansas in 1987 and was immediately hired by Brown as an assistant for his former team.

When Brown jumped to the NBA in 1989, Kansas hired Roy Williams to become its next coach and Turgeon stayed on the staff. All told Turgeon would stay at Kansas for five years, winning the 1988 NCAA Championship as an assistant.

Turgeon left Kansas after the 1992 season to become the top assistant coach at Oregon under Jerry Green. Both Green and Turgeon had been assistants together at Kansas, and they quickly turned Oregon from Pac-10 bottom feeder into a winner. The program put together three-straight winning seasons and its first NCAA appearance in 34 years during that time.

But Turgeon left the Ducks when Green took the head coaching position at Tennessee, rejoining mentor Larry Brown as an assistant coach in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers. He stayed in the NBA for just one year before finally getting his break as a head coach in college.

Jacksonville State hired Turgeon in the spring of 1998 after 10 years as an assistant with two college programs and one NBA team. Turgeon went just 8-18 his first year but in his second season he led the team to a 17-11 record and a third-place finish in its conference.

That performance was enough to get Turgeon noticed at lowly Wichita State, a Missouri Valley conference team that had seen little success in the 90s. But Turgeon turned around the Shockers, getting them into the NIT by his third year and to the NCAA Tournament in 2006 for the first time in 18 years and to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 25 years.

Turgeon left the Shockers following the 2007 season, taking the job with Texas A&M and getting his first taste of head coaching at the high major level. It didn't take long for Turgeon to adjust, as he went 25-11 in his first year and won a game in the NCAA Tournament. He repeated that success in his next two years and has guided A&M to a top-3 finish in conference each of the last two seasons.

What Makes Him A Viable Candidate?
He's been around a ton of winning programs as both a head coach and an assistant, and now he's had four years of success at the high-major level. In his last six years of coaching, Turgeon has made five NCAA tournaments and won five tournament games. This year was the first time he had been eliminated in the opening round, losing 57-50 to Florida State.

It could be that simple for Debbie Yow, because Turgeon seems to have just the kind of experience the NC State athletic director would be looking for in a new coach. In addition, his 1.5 million dollar salary at Texas A&M shouldn't be an obstacle financially for the Pack, and could help pull Turgeon away from his Big 12 roots.

What Makes Him A Long Shot?
His ties to both Larry Brown and Roy Williams could make him reluctant to come to the ACC and compete directly against his former boss. There are some who believe that Turgeon still respects those ties enough that he would wait for the UNC job to become available before leaving Texas A&M, though there is no evidence to substantiate those rumors.

He also reportedly has a seven-figure buyout, which could be a potential obstacle in negotiations.

Pack Pride's Take: Turgeon appears to have a good blend of experience and success at both the high-major and mid-major level. That resume seems to fit with what Debbie Yow is looking for in a new coach, so his name is likely to be high on the list.

He's currently making $1.5 million a year with Texas A&M, so the Pack should have the funds to pry him away from the Aggies if they want him and he's willing to go toe-to-toe with Williams.

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