Prior to the NCAA Championships, on March 12th, it was announced by the Maryland athletic department that head coach Kerry McCoy would be stepping down from his position at the conclusion of the tournament and until a national search had been conducted Jimmy Sheptock would assume the role of interim head coach. Now, here we are four days after the end of the NCAA tournament and ready to take a deep dive into the Maryland job, as well as potential candidates. Before we get into any of the individuals, lets get to know more about the school, the wrestling program, and the athletic department overall.
Maryland has been a member of the Big Ten since the 2014-15 season and before that year they were a staple of the ACC. Outgoing head coach Kerry McCoy just completed his 11th season at the helm for the Terrapins. Under his direction, Maryland had won three ACC titles, had four top 20 finishes at the NCAA Championships, and saw eight Terp wrestlers earn All-American honors 13 times. Since the move to the Big Ten, Maryland has struggled to be competitive with the rest of the powerful conference going 2-12 overall and 0-9 during conference meets this year. In fact, they have only had one single dual victory over a Big Ten opponent since the relocation. Barring any transfers, there will be no returning NCAA qualifiers on the Maryland roster for the 2019-20 season. Though it will be an uphill climb for a few years, regardless of the hire, it is a Big Ten job and those do not come open very frequently.
The school itself sits only eight miles away from Washington DC, in College Park, and it’s surrounding areas can be described as suburban more so than a traditional “college town.” Aside from Olympic superstars Kyle Snyder and Helen Maroulis, the state of Maryland has not been able to pump out DI ready talent on a yearly basis, so the incoming coaching staff must have connections to the surrounding states or another recruiting hotbed. This year only four Maryland natives qualified for the DI national tournament and over the past ten years, the average number per year is 5.6. The majority of the top in-state talent can be found at the national prep level through programs such as Good Counsel, McDonogh, Mount St. Joseph, and St. Paul’s.
The high points for the program came late in Pat Santoro’s tenure and carried over into McCoy’s early years. Their success was built mainly around wrestlers from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. From 2008-14, all of the Terps All-Americans hailed from one of those two states. All but one of Maryland’s NCAA qualifiers from 2007-11 came from either NJ, PA, or MD. The proximity to both of these states has to be appealing for any potential candidate. You would be less than 250 miles from Pennsylvania’s famed District XI, Blair Academy in New Jersey, and Pittsburgh. Between those three areas, sprinkled in with some of the best of the in-state crop and you should be good to go.
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