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1-on-1 with new Maryland men's basketball coach Kevin Willard

Terps' new leader had a sit-down conversation with WMAR-2's Shawn Stepner
Willard and Stepner
Posted at 6:58 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 23:37:54-04

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Fans and media got to meet the new men’s basketball coach at the University of Maryland.

Kevin Willard, who coached the past 12 seasons at Seton Hall, was officially introduced as the Terrapins’ new head coach Tuesday evening.

WMAR-2's Shawn Stepner was the only local reporter to have a sitdown conversation with the new Maryland coach.

University of Maryland introduces new basketball coach Kevin Willard

The event was open to the public at the Xfinity Center on the campus of the University of Maryland.

Willard takes over for Danny Manning who had been named interim coach when Mark Turgeon and the university agreed to part ways last December.

Willard told the fans he will "bring the swagger back to Maryland" like it once had under former head coach Gary Williams.

MORE: Terps hire Seton Hall's Kevin Willard as new head men's basketball coach

Willard was named the new Terps head coach on Monday. WMAR-2 News sports reporter Shawn Stepner was first locally to confirm the news.

Stepner reported Willard signed a 7-year contract worth $29.4 million. The deal starts at $3.9 million in 2022-23 with a $100,000 escalator each season.

Willard said he received offers from four other schools, but felt Maryland was "something I can't pass up."

Willard said he immediately had a Zoom meeting with the current players and told them he was proud of them for how they handled this past season under the circumstances.

The 46-year-old has served as Seton Hall's head coach since 2010.

During his tenure there, the Pirates made five NCAA tournaments which included a 2020 Big East Regular Season Championship and 2016 Big East Tournament Championship.

Willard led Seton Hall to a winning record in each of his past eight seasons, while Maryland is coming off its first losing season in nearly 30 years.

Willard is from New York and was born in Huntington on Long Island, but played his high school basketball at Bowling Green High School (Ky.) while his father was the head coach at Western Kentucky. He earned second-team All-State honors as a senior and helped his team to a combined 76-15 record in his final three prep seasons.

Willard is married to the former Julie Wagner and they have two sons, Colin, who was born in August 2006 and Chase born in June 2008.

“Growing up and coaching in the region, I have always admired the Maryland basketball program and being named the new head coach of one of the biggest brands in college basketball is a tremendous honor,” Willard said. “Thank you to President Pines and Damon Evans for trusting me to reenergize this proud program as we look to galvanize our passionate fanbase with a gritty, hard-working style of basketball. Having coached against Maryland several times and at XFINITY Center, I know how Terp fans feel about their team and understand their expectations. Skill development and a dedication to academic success will be cornerstones of our program and I can promise Terp Nation we will work to make them proud of this basketball team as we build winners on the court and in the classroom. Julie and our boys are excited to join the Terrapin family.”