Quotes from Wednesday's Press Conference Introducing Mark Turgeon

Maryland Athletics
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May 11, 2011

Head Coach Mark Turgeon

Opening Statement: "Thank you Kevin [Anderson]. Wow, that was a crazy 48 hours to say the least. This is the only red tie I could find. I hope its Maryland red. It's funny because I've been at Wichita State and I had all these yellow ties and I've been at Texas A & M and I had all these maroon ties. I was packing yesterday hastily trying to get everything ready - when you've got three kids it's not easy - and I said [to my wife], `Ann I hope this [tie] will do because we don't have time to get another one.'

"Since I've hit the ground we've been doing some recruiting, but I can't tell you how excited I am to be here. This is just phenomenal to be standing here as the head coach of Maryland basketball. I grew up a basketball fan. [I've] loved basketball since I can remember, dribbling the ball at age two or three and following Maryland basketball.

"The reason I'm here is because of [Maryland's] great tradition and all the things that this basketball program has accomplished over the years. It was going to take a great job for me to move. I've turned down a lot of jobs over the last four years and it was going to take a special one for me to move my family, and Maryland is a special place. I used to coach against [former Maryland head coach] Lefty [Driesell] and you know what a character he is. I just thought he was the biggest jerk because before games he wouldn't even smile at me and his assistants were like `hey, Lefty's all about winning.' I left Jacksonville State and got the job at Wichita and as Lefty would do, he put his arm around me and said, `son, you're one heck of a coach.' And I said to him, `Lefty I didn't think you liked me, heck you never talked to me.' And he said `you were the enemy.' So I'm proud to be mentioned in the same breath as him.

"Obviously I'm standing here also because of Gary Williams. Gary Williams was Maryland basketball for the last 22 years. He brought [the program] back to tremendous respectability and did an unbelievable job. [He] won a national championship, [went to] final four[s], numerous sweet sixteen's - which isn't easy to do in college basketball these days. He did it with class and he did it with dignity. He did it the right way and I like to think that I have a lot of the same qualities that Gary has, so it should be an easy transition with the players, the former players, and for the fans as we go forward. I talked to Gary on Sunday during this process and he has a lot to do with me being here today. He was very honest and open and he answered some pretty direct questions and gave me the confidence that I could come here and be successful, so I thank Gary for that.

"I want all the former players out there - and we have a few of them here today - guys that played for Lefty [Driesell], coach [Bob] Wade, coach [Gary] Williams, to know it's your program. I'm just a coach of your program hopefully for a long time. My door is open and [former players] welcome. I hope to do some things this year to get the former players back and introduce myself to them and let them know how much I appreciate them and what they've done before me to help my job be a lot easier as I move forward.

"I've heard great things about the fans here at the Comcast Center and Maryland basketball fans. I'm excited to be in this building. This is a school that loves basketball and values their basketball. I was lucky enough to play at the University of Kansas and they were the same way and I'm glad to be a part of something like that. If you have tickets keep them, and if you don't have them, buy them, because we're going to do some great things here.

"You know my style of play - I know it will be asked - my style of play is winning because as Kevin [Anderson] said, I hate losing. We're going to have a fun style. We're going to play defense, we're going to get after it defensively. We're going to rebound and we're going to play with toughness. We're going to do it the right way. We're going to build it the right way, and we're not going to cut any corners when it comes to that. I was lucky enough to play for Larry Brown and coach for Roy Williams. I feel like I have a pretty good background on the X's and O's side to be successful at any level, so I'm looking forward to working with these young men at the program right now and hopefully play a very fun, exciting, and winning style.

"My values - I'm a family first guy. My wife and kids are the most important thing bar none in my life. The second most important thing will be my basketball team. I told the players that yesterday. Outside of my family, they are the most important thing to me and I'll do whatever I can to be what they want me to be - a father, an uncle, a brother, a mentor - whatever it takes to be successful.

"I'm going to recruit character first. You win with character. I've done that. I've been lucky enough to be around guys that recruit character first and I believe in character. It doesn't always have to be the best talent, but you have to have the best character and if you have that mixed with talent, you're going to go a long way. I'm also really big on graduation. It's something that's very important to me. The [players] are here for an education and I will have a foot in their tail if they're not doing that and they know that. They're here to get an education first. When we recruit players at Maryland, they all think they are going to the NBA and I hope a lot of them do like they have in the past, but they are here to get their degree at Maryland and the parents and the players will understand that.

"Real quick: I'm going to recruit like crazy. It's all I've done since I've landed. I'm going to do whatever I can to take advantage of this great area for high school basketball and use all my connections across the country. I'm a very blessed person. I've covered it all. I've been to Kansas, to Oregon, to Philadelphia, to Alabama, back to Kansas, to Texas, and now to Maryland, so I'm going to try to use my connections, and my wife still loves me. We're going to do everything we can to recruit the best we can and what I want is I want people fearing the turtle."

On what he would say about himself to make recruits choose Maryland:
"There are a lot of things. I would talk about what I've done in my career as a player and a coach. I'd talk about my philosophy as a coach which is how we're going to play, style of play, how we're going to use them. I'm an adaptive coach. I was lucky enough to coach with Larry Brown who I think is one of the greatest coaches of all time and each year he coached the team a little bit differently. I'll give each player, through my teaching, the opportunity to be the best player he can within our system.

"I'm also big on individual work. I think the one thing that my program has always done since I was lucky enough to spend a year in the NBA with the 76ers and, when I was with them, all I did was individual work. We will improve our players at a tremendous rate so you'll come in at one level and we're going to take you to another one.

"I'm fair, I'm brutally honest. Media will find out I'm almost too honest. They say it's a fault of mine with the media so you guys will like that, but I'll be completely honest, completely fair, but I'm tremendously demanding. I'm not going to say I don't scream and yell. I do, but I'm not going to curse them and I'm not going to disrespect them. I have kids of my own and I don't want grown men yelling at my kids like that.

"So that's my style. I think I'm a good person and one that puts the players first. My players understand that it's about winning or losing to keep your job but they'll always know that they come first with me."

On the interview process:
"Things leak out and so I actually got a call Thursday morning from someone saying something big is going to happen today or tomorrow, would you be interested? And right away, I was excited. We were packing for a trip last weekend and I went in and told my wife that this is serious. I want you to think about this. I said the University of Maryland might open and we might have a shot at being the coach there. I want you to think seriously about it. She knew I was serious about it at the time because I don`t do that a lot. I've had plenty of offers the last three years and I just say hey so and so called I told them no. So we thought about it. That was Thursday morning.

"I went on a camping trip. My wife is from Pittsburgh and we went to the mountains of Pennsylvania and I had no cell service starting Friday at 1 p.m. until Sunday at 1 p.m. I could drive up to the top of a mountain and use my cousin Caroline's - I'll give her some love - cell, but I couldn't get a hold of anybody.

"In the meantime I get a flat tire in our minivan driving up and down this mountain. So Sunday morning I'm changing this tire out in the middle of nowhere, with some help from relatives, and about 1 p.m. I get cell service. I called a couple people. An hour or 30 minutes later Kevin [Anderson] called and I made a mistake I said I'm in Pittsburgh and he said I'm driving to meet you right away. I had my three kids in the back, it was a long weekend, and I didn't know I was going to be interviewing for Maryland. I hadn't shaved, it takes me a while to grow anything on my face, so I said `Kevin, all I have is sweats, shorts, and Texas A&M shirts, are you ok with that?' He said `yeah I'm fine I'll come in jeans and a sweater.' I said `ok.' So I got a hotel room in Pittsburgh, we met Sunday night, I actually found a Kansas City Chiefs shirt - I thought I have to be careful because the Ravens and Redskins are up here. I put that over my Texas A&M shirt so he didn't have to look at Texas A&M during the interview.

"So we interviewed Sunday night and when he left the meeting I knew it was my job to take or leave. Monday, I was talking about moving my family. It was a tough decision. My wife picks me up in Houston on Monday and we talked and we were leaning this direction hard, and the hardest part for me - if you know anything about me - was having to tell my players I wasn't coming back."

On following Gary Williams:
"If I was apprehensive I wouldn't be standing here. I had a great conversation with Gary and he made me feel comfortable and I know Gary's not going to try to sabotage Maryland Basketball. I think Gary's going to be a tremendous ally for me because Gary Williams was Maryland Basketball. I hope 15-20 years from now, or however long this lasts, you're going to say Mark Turgeon was Maryland Basketball. I plan on using Gary a lot, whether he wants to or not. I asked him yesterday, `Are you sure you want to come back?' He said it's all yours Turge. So he's been a good friend.

"I followed a local legend in Texas in Billy Gillespie. He was loved like no coach I've ever been around and I fought through that. It was much more difficult than this transition's ever going to be because I know Maryland fans love basketball. They want to win and they're going to support me from day one."

On the current Maryland players:
"I talked to the team yesterday, starting at 2:30 p.m. as a group. We had a dinner last night for them and I spoke to them a little bit individually out there. I didn't have much time. They've kept me pretty busy. Starting at 2:30 p.m. today I'm doing individual meetings with each player. I told the guys yesterday to just relax. Everything's going to be fine. I'm a good guy and we're going to be fine. I know it's tough on them. I had a great response from the players. I expect the same thing from my individual meetings. I'll get into more about what I'm asking of them.

"I'll be honest I didn't watch Maryland play basketball on TV one time this year. I did see them on probably one of their best nights of the year against Florida State as we prepared for Florida State in the NCAA tournament. That was a great night for Maryland Basketball and beat a heck of a Florida State team.

"I know some of the players. Sean Mosley, Pe'Shon [Howard], I watched him and recruited him a little bit out of high school. Terrell [Stoglin] I recruited a little bit out of high school. So I know those three pretty well. With the rest of them, my knowledge is not great but it will be as time goes on.

"I do think Gary [Williams] and I are very similar. We do wear our emotions on our sleeve. He wore them a little bit more than I do. I try to hide them a little bit more. I think we're similar but I don't want to watch a lot of film from last year and judge them the way they were playing. I want to judge them the way I'm going to coach them. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to coach until August so I'll watch a little bit of film between now and then. Over the next three or four months we will be just building relationships and building confidence. We're going to be a little bit thin inside and roles are going to have to change this year. We're going to have to stick together and do the best we can."

On his background in the area:
"We signed a young man from DeMatha at Texas A&M. I've recruited this area before. Actually I have really good relationships with people in this area. I feel comfortable. If I didn't, I wouldn't have taken the job. I feel like I've been on the phone with a lot of people, not all of them yet, but relationships through Kansas. I've been a lot of places so you develop relationships. So I feel very comfortable with that.

"As far as staff goes, I've had to make some unbelievably tough decisions, things I didn't want to do. That said, I know that I need to have a staff that has ties in this area up and down the East Coast. I have enough ties in the Midwest that I'll still be able to do some things back in that area. I don't know where I am with my staff but I do know they will have ties to this area."

Athletics Director Kevin Anderson

"First and foremost, I want to thank Dr. Loh for being supportive in this process and in the athletics department. Mark wants me to introduce his better half, as he told me. Ann, welcome to Terp nation. One thing I found out about Ann was she was the first female manager for the men's basketball team at Kansas so she has set her own trends, as Mark has. I also want to welcome Will, Leo and Ella, Mark's children, to the Terps' team. We look forward to having them with us as well as Mark.

"This seems like déjà vu all over again. I hope this is the last head coach we are announcing for a long time. Here we are. It's a great day to be a Terp. It gives me a lot of pleasure to introduce another great coach in Maryland basketball history and Maryland period. When I sat down and talked to Mark, I knew everything he had accomplished basketball-wise. But as we talked about before, he is a great man, a great leader and he wants everything that we stand for. He wants our young people to be successful in the classroom. He wants them to be leaders in their communities and good basketball players. We are going to compete at the highest level and compete for championships. There is no question about that. I think what helped me make my decision that he was my guy was him looking me in the eye and saying `Kevin, I hate to lose.' So it's my pleasure to introduce the man who is not intimidated by anybody in college basketball. He will be able to look down that other sideline to the opponents and say `I'm going to kick their [butt]. Ladies and gentlemen, Mark Turgeon."