Every so often we like to check in with our former ACC mates at Maryland and see how things are going. In a nutshell: not so hot.
Income has definitely gone up since moving to the Big Ten but overall stability has not yet improved.
Embattled A.D. Kevin Anderson resigned Friday after a six-month sabbatical. Maryland President Wallace Loh said he earned it but it didn’t help the athletic program that much.
As a Big Ten member, football was supposed to be Maryland’s new big deal but Maryland football, long an afterthought in the ACC, is more so in the Big Ten.
Maryland committed to converting Cole Field House into an indoor practice facility for football but the cost has gone up 25% and is now just south of $200 million. The athletic department has to pay $19 million of that.
Basketball has been the jewel of Maryland athletics since the ‘70s but even that is on the decline.
Maryland missed the post-season completely this year and attendance averaged just 14,676.
Mark Turgeon, one of three revenue sports hires by Anderson, is under fire with many calling for his dismissal which would be hard to do with an interim A.D.
In addition, while we don’t follow Maryland as closely as we used to, we’re not aware of any major new rivalries for Maryland. It’s presumably not Nebraska or Rutgers and it doesn’t appear the Terps have irritated the big powers (Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State for example) enough to have made them disliked.
Well there is one exception here. We’ve seen multiple posts on various forums from Big Ten fans who are indignant about just how bad Maryland fans can be. But that’s a value judgement not a rivalry.
There’s a lot of work to do for Maryland to become relevant again but it all starts with who replaces Anderson. There are some people (Len Elmore among them) who are pushing for a Maryland Man to get the job. That’s not as important as a really good administrator but it’s a nice goal.
Whoever they hire, we can see a path forward for Maryland, or at least the basketball program. It’s going to be really hard for a minor Eastern football program to compete in the Big Ten. But basketball? Here’s what we’d do and it’s pretty much guaranteed to work.
Get the truck, back it up to the Big Ten office and get that good Big Ten cash. Then drive it to Wichita and park it in Gregg Marshall’s driveway.
That’s what he says it would take to get him out of Wichita and in College Park, Marshall could do incredible things.
He could come as close as anyone to finally fulfilling Lefty Driesell’s goal of making Maryland the “UCLA of the East.”
For you kids, in 1969, when Driesell was hired, that meant total dominance and multiple national titles.
And here’s the thing: he was right. Maryland is ideally situated to be the UCLA of the East. Lefty got enough talent to get them close to that level but he had to get past Dean Smith, David Thompson and later Mike Krzyzewski to do it. The ACC has always been a load and Driesell’s volatility didn’t help.
We admired Gary Williams’ ability to find his kind of players and to coach them effectively. However, like Driesell, he couldn’t always control his emotions (Lefty just got mad; we always got the feeling that with Williams, there was a lot more darkness to his rage).
Unlike Driesell, Williams managed to win a title but it seemed to bank his competitive fires and after he got there the rage that propelled him seemed to dim.
We thought he might be pretty good but so far he’s been...well, probably not what Maryland hoped for.
In three years in the ACC, he made the post-season just once, and that time in the NIT. In the weaker Big Ten, Maryland has finished 2nd, 3rd, 2nd and 8th. But the Terps have continued their long tradition of tanking in the postseason and this year got bupkis.
Hence the truck in Marshall’s driveway.
Football is key for Maryland as a Big Ten school but basketball is the key that will turn the ignition.
Meantime, enjoy the Big Ten money, Rutgers and trips to Lincoln.
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