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Kevin Willard Sees Potential for Greatness in Maryland – CBS Baltimore

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Kevin Willard can see potential in Maryland’s basketball program.

Now he takes advantage of it.

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The Terrapins officially introduced Willard as their new coach on Tuesday night, and the former Seton Hall coach made it clear why he’s open to making the switch from a job in the Big East to this one.

“This is the top 10 job in college basketball,” he said. “I wouldn’t move my family and leave a place that I love so much if I didn’t think this is where we should win the national championship.”

The Terps haven’t gotten to that close lately, but if someone needed a reminder of what could be, Gary Williams was on hand when Willard spoke. It was Williams who led Maryland to the national championship 20 years ago, when Willard was still a toddler in his coaching career.

“They were so cocky. They had such confidence,” said Willard. “We will bring back that passion, the energy that Coach Williams has coached, that his players have played with.”

Since the end of Williams’ tenure in 2011, Maryland has only had a single Sweet 16 and finished its postseason only once, winning the Big Ten title in 2020, the year the NCAA Tournament was postponed because of the coronavirus. . Terps weren’t bad under Mark Turgeon, but they were very ordinary. Turgeon departs at the beginning of December in what the school describes as a joint decision.

Willard built Seton Hall into a regular NCAA tournament, even though he never made it to the Pirates for long. So Maryland will be hoping that Willard is right – that this is one of the top jobs in the country, and that the coach who took Seton Hall from mediocre to respectable can now take the Terrapins from respectable to respected. mighty.

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“We plan to position our men’s basketball program, year after year, to win league titles and national championships,” said athletic director Damon Evans. “Because put simply, that’s what Maryland basketball is all about.”

As if to underscore the school’s hopes for the future, Evans also announced Tuesday that $40 million has been raised for a new basketball performance center.

The Terrapins broke into the Top 25 last season after bringing in a number of key transfers, but after a disappointing start and the sudden departure of Turgeon, assistant Danny Manning has taken over as interim coach. . Maryland finished 15-17th in its first losing season since 1993.

Willard said it’s time for him to make this decision, and he said he’s been offered four other jobs, none of which have the same value as Maryland.

“I have two sons who are entering 9th and 10th grade. I moved when I was in 9th grade, my brother moved when he was in 11th grade,” said Willard. “If I am going to move, it has to be this year, and it has to do the job.”

Now, Willard takes over a show that’s coming to a close to a rough season, but not one that looks like a whole rebuilding project. He hopes to leave his mark in other ways than X and O.

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“My promise to you is that no one will ever be able to surpass me. It won’t happen. Willard said. “They can commit a better zone – and if you ask the Seton Hall fans, they will tell you, everyone is a better ward than me – but I will work every day, my staff will work. everyday. We’re going to have fun, we’re going to bring fame to Maryland basketball, and we’re going to win at a high level, and I promise you that. ”

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https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/03/22/kevin-willard-sees-potential-for-greatness-at-maryland/ Kevin Willard Sees Potential for Greatness in Maryland – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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