On June 13, 1989 the 48 year old sunken remains of the Titanic of German warships was located off the coast of France. Thousands of miles away Gary Williams was hired to resurrect a sunken program. Almost 22 years later, Williams surrendered his throne as the face of the program and the university. On Monday night, Athletic Director Kevin Anderson wasted no time in hiring Texas A&M head coach Mark Turgeon as the new head coach of Maryland basketball.

There are a plethora of questions about how Turgeon. one of them revolves around his commitment to the program. Gary Williams was a Maryland alumni. Turgeon covets the Kansas job and was a pupil of Larry Brown’s school of coaching as an assistant and player. Because of the University of Kansas’ policy on releasing academic files, we’ll never know how he fared in Coaching Nomad 101. Turgeon is a low key character whose Aggies teams play a slow, plodding style. This would be a major departure from Williams’ up tempo style. But none of those  influences will be the most important factor in his success as a Maryland Terrapin.

As much as Maryland fans will miss Gary Williams’ scowling and aneurisms on the sideline, it was time for the change. After the 2002 national championship, Maryland fans like myself believed the program would return to the Final Four in the near future. I gave him the obligatory 5 year grace period to experience a modicum of success. Instead, the program regressed, only returned the Sweet 16 once and missed the tournament all together four times.

Gary Williams’ extroverted coaching style has always been at odds with his introverted off court personality. Williams was about as likely to be caught engaging in any improprieties as Mel Gibson is to star in Tyler Perry presents Madea’s Bar Mitzvah. Unfortunately, that also described his commitment to recruiting.

In his 22 years at the helm of Maryland basketball, Williams was actively involved in the program’s elevation into the upper echelon of college basketball programs. Unfortunately, that effort never extended into recruiting.There are no legendary recruiting tales involving Gary Williams. The program’s regression can be directly correlated to Gary Williams stubbornness in recruiting. Specifically, his failure to recruit locally. Beyond failing to establish a pipeline in his backyard, Williams was always wary of the modern recruiting landscape involving AAU coaches and street agents.

It became common practice for college coaches to hire AAU coaches as their assistants. For example, Korey McCray, the CEO of Atlanta Celtics basketball is expected to join the coaching staff at UCLA this summer.  Josh Smith, Dwight Howard, Javaris Crittenton  and Randolph Morris are just a sampling of the Celtics’ alumni. Meanwhile, Gary Wlliams has a non-existent relationship with the the District’s AAU powerhouse AAu program, the DC Assault in his own backyard.

Kansas State secured the commitment of Maryland high school star Michael Beasley by hiring Dalonte Hill, a former coach of the DC Assault, away from Charlotte where Beasley had committed. In the aftermath, Beasley followed Hill to Kansas State. At the time, Hill expressed interest in joining Williams’ staff. Although, the commitment of Beasley would have followed, Williams wanted no part of it.

Even if Williams had developed relationships within the AAU ranks, it may not have been enough to compensate for his disinterest in putting his boots to ground and personally recruiting. Deron Williams’ mother once told the Washington Post that Gary Williams’ aloof nature factored into Williams’ decision not to commit to Maryland. A number of blue chip recruits and their coaches lamented Williams’ unwillingness to personally their attend games which is the norm for guys like Billy Donovan.

College Park lies at the center of a recruiting hotbed inside Prince Georges County. The County has produced the most NBA players per capita of any county in the country and from 2006-2009 had more McDonalds All-Americans than any state besides California. Michael Beasley, Greivis Vasquez, Jordan Williams, Kevin Durant, Ty Lawson and Rudy Gay.

After missing the tournament this season, the hot seat under Gary Williams was likely sizzling. Ralph Friedgen’s firing in December after being named the ACC Coach of the Year showed that nobody was safe in College Park.

Tubby Smith endured a similar decline after reaching the peak at Kentucky. Ironically, part of his problem boiled down to his inability to lure blue chip recruits to one of college basketball’s proudest blue blood programs. Following a string of early exits from the NCAA Tournament, Smith was shown the door and replaced with …Texas A&M head coach Billy Gillespie.

Usually, the retirement of a coach or athlete conjures up the inevitable rankings of their career accomplishments. Williams is no doubt the greatest coach in Maryland history by any barometer and no ACC coach in conference history outside of Chapel Hill or Durham has left a bigger footprint on a program. However, Williams’ retirement could ultimately be the jolt Maryland basketball needed to rejoin the nation’s elite. Until Williams’ retirement, I had never considered Maryland’s rank among the nation’s elite programs.

Under Armour founder Kevin Plank’s involvement and contributions to the athletic department has the potential to turn Maryland into the Oregon of the East. In the past decade, Nike founder Phil Knight’s has helped build state of the art facilities and transformed Oregon into a juggernaut by branding Oregon as Nike U with flash and pizazz. Plank has already become Maryland’s most generous booster and Maryland football is the unofficial face of Under Armour. That type of exposure alone is worth plenty to high school recruits in any sport. Plank isn’t a billionaire yet but at 38, his beginnings are reminiscent of Phil Knight’s at Nike.

If everything goes according to plan, Turgeon will usher Maryland basketball into the next stage of it’s evolution. Recruiting success isn’t the clear cut solution to Maryland’s woes(ask Paul Hewitt) but it will be integral to his success. (Look no further than John Calipari’s turnaround at Kentucky from the Smith and Gllespie eras.)

Maryland has always had the potential to earn consideration as one of the giants beside Duke, UNC, Kansas, Indiana, and Kentucky but has underachieved for various reasons. Len Bias’ death and Bob Wades set the program back a decade. Williams was the perfect coach for the time at Maryland. However, times are changing and Williams was unwilling to keep up with them. Mark Turgeon will have to perform the difficult task of dipping his head into the murky recruiting waters while keeping himself clean. Unlike Mike Brey, Jay Wright, Sean Miller and Shaka Smart, Turgeon has no strong ties to the University of Maryland or the region.

So far, Turgeon has a better relationship with DeMatha, DC’s high school version of Duke than Gary Williams had in recent years. As Texas A&M head coach he was able to lure DeMatha forward Naji Hibbert to A&M in 2009 and  has a pursued a pair of DeMatha’s junior prospects.

Turgeon has Midwest roots and won consistently in College Station without blue chip recruits but he will have to quickly navigate DC’s Catholic Leagues, Baltimore and the surrounding areas in the battle for recruits to propel Maryland basketball back up the ladder.