Maryland men’s basketball has a new head coach.
Less than two weeks removed from their final game of the 2021-2022 season, the Terps have selected former Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard to take the reins in College Park.
“Growing up and coaching in the region, I have always admired the Maryland basketball program and being named the new head coach of one of the biggest brands in college basketball is a tremendous honor,” Willard said in a press release. “I can promise Terp Nation we will work to make them proud of this basketball team as we build winners on the court and in the classroom.”
Willard joins Maryland with 25 years of coaching experience under his belt. He cut his teeth under legendary coach Rick Pitino, serving as an assistant on the Boston Celtics and at Louisville. After a stint with the Cardinals, Willard was named head coach at Iona, where he spent three years, and led the Gaels to a 21-10 record in year three.
From there, Willard took the job at Seton Hall, spending 12 years as head coach of the Pirates. He accumulated a 225-161 record, and made five NCAA Tournament appearances.
“Kevin Willard was at the top of our list,” athletic director Damon Evans said.
As Willard begins as head coach of the Terps, an increased emphasis will be placed on his recruiting skills from the get-go. Likely having to replace Fatts Russell and Eric Ayala, along with other transfers or departures, Willard will have an opportunity to put his fingerprints on the roster right away. With a talent-rich area immediately surrounding College Park, Willard will have a bevy of in-state prospects to recruit if he so chooses.
“I’ve recruited down in the DMV quite a bit, that’s the nice thing,” Willard said. “What I love about the DMV is that not only does it have great players, it’s extremely well coached. At the high school level and the AAU level, there’s some of the best programs.”
Just completing its first losing season in more than 25 years, Willard taking over presents a chance to begin a new chapter of Maryland basketball. Since winning the 2002 National Championship, the Terps haven’t advanced farther than the Sweet 16, doing so twice, once under Gary Williams and once under Mark Turgeon.
“This is a top-ten job in college basketball,” Willard said. “This was where I wanted to be.”