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Turgeon To Terps; Would A&M Contact Stansbury?

Maryland got its man.  On about the fourth try. 

After Sean Miller, Mike Brey and Jay Wright agreed to extensions with their current schools, the Terps finally nabbed Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon to replace Gary Williams.  Now the Aggies are searching for a new coach, but it’s doubtful they’ll venture into the SEC to find him.

A&M’s last two hires: Billy Gillispie (UTEP) and Turgeon (Wichita State) both came from smaller programs in the Midwest.  And if the Aggies do decide to chase a BCS-level coach this time around, they’ll have to overcome their reputation as a football-first school.  Turgeon has praised Maryland as having “a great basketball tradition.”

Turgeon had success — as Gillispie did before him — reaching four consecutive NCAA Tournaments with the Aggies.  A coach can clearly win in College Station.  If the Aggies can sell their job.

One point of pure speculation to keep in mind — A&M’s athletic director is Bill Byrne, father of former Mississippi State AD Greg Byrne.  And Rick Stansbury is entering what’s likely a make-or-break year in Starkville. 

A&M’s AD would have inside knowledge of Stansbury through his son.  And MSU’s coach has had quite a bit of success in Starkville… winning 272 games and taking the Bulldogs to postseason play in 10 of his 13 years as head coach.  That includes six NCAA trips.

Would he be the first choice of A&M fans?  Probably not.  But he might be a better catch than an up-and-comer from a smaller school. 

Would A&M be a big draw to Stansbury after 21 years at State?  Probably not, unless he feels the walls are closing in on him in Starkville.

This would be a marriage of convenience only and we don’t see it happening.  At the same time, we never say never. 

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Source Reveals Five Names On Tennessee’s List

A source “in the school’s athletic department” has told The Knoxville News Sentinel that five names are on Tennessee’s wish list as it begins its search for a new basketball coach.

Those names:

Jamie Dixon of Pittsburgh — Dixon is this year’s National Coach of the Year according to The Sporting News.  Tennessee had better bring a big checkbook.  And remember, Dixon turned down basketball power Arizona just two years ago… and the Wildcats weren’t in the NCAA doghouse.

Jay Wright of Villanova — Wright was one of the few coaches in the country to try to defend Bruce Pearl this past season.  Would he really be interested in replacing him?

Anthony Grant of Alabama — If Grant has expressed interest as has been rumored, it’s likely a contract ploy.  Tennessee has bigger facilities, but you don’t make a lateral move to land at a school where you’ll be saddled with probation and sanctions.

Mark Turgeon of Texas A&M — Turgeon makes sense.  He’s had success at Wichita State and A&M and his current salary is around the $1.5 million mark.

Gregg Marshall of Wichita State — And Marshall is the perfect fallback candidate for UT, if it can land him.  Marshall interviewed for the UT job years ago while coaching at Winthrop.

That’s a good looking list, but is it realistic?  We’ll see.

If Tennessee has crunched the numbers and projected what kind of financial hit it might take from a decrease in baskeball attendance (and parking, merchandise, concessions, etc), then the Vols might view a $2 million (or more) investment in a new coach as a sound financial move. 

When Nick Saban signed a $4 million per year deal at Alabama, the world gasped.  A couple of years later when the Tide was adding 10,000 seats to its stadium it became clear that Saban’s price tag was actually a steal. 

So if — if mind you — UT officials believe spending $2.5 million per year might save the Vols — spit-balling here — $4 million per year in basketball revenue, wouldn’t that investment be worth it?

All that said… we still expect the Vols to land a mid-major coach.

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