Wichita State's Turgeon to coach Aggies

Updated: April 10, 2007, 4:43 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Texas A&M officially named Wichita State's Mark Turgeon its next men's basketball coach on Tuesday.

Turgeon will sign a five-year contract, with an automatic rollover of three years, giving him an eight-year deal. He will earn $1.2 million per year, which is $550,000 short of what Billy Gillispie was going to receive before he left last week for Kentucky.

ESPN.com reported Sunday that Turgeon was expected to get an offer Monday. Turgeon toured the College Station campus Monday after meeting with A&M athletic director Bill Byrne. In Reed Arena, the school displayed a message welcoming Turgeon and his wife. He returned to Wichita on Monday night to meet with his players after accepting the job.

Gillispie, who left A&M last Thursday to coach Kentucky, led the Aggies to the Sweet 16. He was in College Station for three seasons after coaching at UTEP for two.

The Wichita State position now becomes one of the most coveted mid-major jobs since the school has a passionate fan base, excellent facilities and the potential to earn upwards of $750,000.

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 a preseason pick to be in contention with Southern Illinois and Creighton for the MVC crown. 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.

The Aggies do lose Acie Law IV at the point but have a core, plus signee DeAndre Jordan, to possibly make another second-weekend run in the NCAAs.

Turgeon's first order of business is to contact Jordan. But he also will likely help Wichita State, which signed seven players this season, so that the Shockers don't dip. Wichita State is expected to hire a former head coach or current head coach to replace Turgeon.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com