Turgeon meets with A&M officials on campus

Updated: April 9, 2007, 9:15 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Texas A&M is leaning toward offering the men's basketball job to Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon to replace Billy Gillispie, multiple sources close to the situation told ESPN.com Sunday night.

Turgeon still needs to agree to the terms of the contract before accepting the position. He toured the Texas A&M campus with athletic director Bill Byrne on Monday and could be announced as the new coach at a news conference as early as Tuesday in College Station.

The scoreboard inside Reed Arena at Texas A&M on Monday flashed "Welcome to Aggieland Mark and Ann Turgeon," according to the Bryan-College Station Eagle and the San Antonio Express-News.

Texas A&M spokesman Colin Killian told The Associated Press that contrary to published reports, he was not aware that a deal for a new coach was in place.

Wichita State senior Matt Braeur told The Wichita Eagle that he and teammates are under the impression that Turgeon is leaving.

"That's basically what I've heard," Braeuer said. "No coaches have told us anything. [But] from a few other sources, from what I've heard, it's a done deal."

The newspaper said a team meeting had been called for late Monday.

Gillispie left Thursday after three seasons to replace Tubby Smith at Kentucky.

Turgeon led the Shockers to the Sweet 16 two seasons ago after winning the Missouri Valley Conference with a 14-4 record. Turgeon entered this season with a 111-76 record in six seasons at Wichita State.

The Shockers were the preseason pick to be in contention with Southern Illinois and Creighton to win the MVC. It looked like Wichita State was on target to win the league when it made quick work of George Mason, LSU, Syracuse and Wyoming in a brutal stretch of road games in late November and early December.

But the Shockers struggled in the MVC, finishing 8-10 and in sixth place. Wichita state finished the season 17-14 and out of the postseason.

Wichita State made a point of trying to keep Turgeon last season by bumping up his salary close to that of Creighton's Dana Altman. USA Today examined Turgeon's contract raises recently, noting that he went from $200,000 when he was hired in 2000 to a new deal that came in at $750,000 a year ago. That put him close to Altman's nearly $1 million salary, according to USA Today.

Altman accepted the head coaching job at Arkansas last week, only to return to Creighton a day later after feeling uncomfortable leaving Omaha. Turgeon has told ESPN.com on a number of occasions how at peace he is at Wichita State.

But coaching at a school like Texas A&M may be too rich to turn down. The Aggies are fresh off a Sweet 16 appearance, will open a new practice facility next year and have signed one of the top players in the country (DeAndre Jordan).

Assuming the money is guaranteed, which could be in excess of $1.5 million per year if the budget allows since Gillispie was on the verge of making $1.75 million, it would be hard to say no.

The Aggies do lose Acie Law IV at the point but have a core, plus Jordan, to make another potentially second-weekend run in the NCAAs. With his alma mater, Kansas, locked up with Bill Self, it would make sense for Turgeon to get back into the conference in which he played in some fashion.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com