All-time great Juan Dixon re-joined the Maryland basketball program on Wednesday, the same day troubled assistant coach Dalonte Hill resigned and staff member Dustin Clark got promoted, and will be on the bench tonight when the Terrapins host Morgan State.
Dixon, the school's all-time leading scorer and the star of the 2002 NCAA championship team, began lobbying coach Mark Turgeon for a job some six months ago.
"I told coach that coaching in college was definitely the [professional] route I wanted to take," Dixon said. "I told him that I wanted to be at a position to give back and help the kids. That was my main focus, was to get in college basketball because I wanted to help the kids and help them become not only better basketball players but better people and help them prepare for life."
Athletic director Kevin Anderson wanted Dixon to complete his degree before he joined Turgeon's staff and the three-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference guard is now just an exam away from completing his degree.
"I think Juan has an unbelievable knowledge about the game of basketball," Turgeon said. "Just his passion for Maryland basketball, I know how I felt about the University of Kansas when I graduated, Juan has that same passion I had. He just wants Maryland basketball to be successful."
Dixon will serve as a special assistant to Turgeon and be responsible for some scouting, mentoring and tracking players' academic progress. Because he is not an full-fledged assistant coach, he will not be out on the road recruiting.
That's a responsibility that Clark will add officially after previously serving as Maryland's director of basketball operations. Clark spent a great deal of time on the recruiting trail in recent months, helping to land four-star Potomac guard Dion Wiley. His recruiting responsibilities increased after Hill took a leave of absence following an October DUI charge - his third in the last five years. Clark has served in various capacities on Turgeon's staff dating back to the coach's days at Texas A&M.
Hill had strong local ties to the highly successful D.C. Assault AAU basketball program and was widely credited with mending fences with the local AAU coaches. Gary Williams, Turgeon's predecessor, was often reluctant to court those same coaches.
But Hill's repeated brushes with the law made him a liability in the eyes of many.
"It's a sad day for me," Turgeon said. "I really, really like Dalonte. I think he's a tremendous person. That's the thing that hurts the most. I really tried to help. I think he's got a lot of qualities that are tremendous, and he's just got one thing that he's got to get corrected."