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Posted at 4:06 PM ET, 12/23/2010

Scott Van Pelt on the Friedgen firing

By Dan Steinberg

ESPN's Scott Van Pelt is certainly one of the most visible Maryland super fans in the country, never hiding his Terptitude on TV or the radio and frequently coming home for games. So I think maybe he had his finger on the pulse when ESPN 980's Kevin Sheehan asked him this week if Mike Leach would be the school's next football coach.

"I'll say it this way: it had better be," Van Pelt said. "Because it's like Christmas time. A kid wants a bike for Christmas, not a book. Leach is a bike; anybody else is a book. And it had better be Leach."

I'd have gone with "Leach is a Sloop; anybody else is a Cat O'Nine Tails." Or maybe "Leach is a Brigantine; anybody else is a Doubloon." But the point is well-taken.

Sheehan also asked Van Pelt about Ralph Friedgen's firing, and he was like so many Terps fans on this issue: wistful but understanding.

"Well, it's very difficult, because Ralph's a guy who over his time here I got to know, both he and his wife Gloria," Van Pelt said. "As an alum, to take your team to bowl games in 7 out of 10 years is no small accomplishment, given the 10 years prior to his arrival. Having said that, Kevin, you were with me when we went to the Florida State game that night back in November, and you got about 45,000 people there on the same day that Penn State and Indiana drew about 80 at FedEx Field.

"So there are challenges economically for Kevin Anderson, the athletic director, to deal with, not the least of which are suites that are largely empty. And the business of college football is often brutal, and it doesn't feel fair, but I understand why an athletic director who's new comes in and takes a look at the situation and goes, all right, we've got some issues here. And he's chosen to make a move. I'll say this -- and I've had a chance to visit with Kevin Anderson -- I think he's a smart man, and I think he's got a plan that he hopes will come together.

"It's an incredibly ballsy first move, and I feel really badly for Ralph. But at the same time I'm trying to see it through the eyes of an athletic director that's got a fiscal challenge that he's trying to meet, and that's trying to get a fickle fan base back on board and filling up the seats and the suites at Byrd Stadium."

By Dan Steinberg  | December 23, 2010; 4:06 PM ET
Categories:  College Football, Media, Terps  
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Comments

20 of the top 25 attendances in Byrd Stadium history came under Ralph Friedgen's watch. (The stadium was build 60 years ago).

The average attendance at Byrd stadium the 8 years before Ralph Friedgen arrived was more than 17,000 less PER GAME than the first 8 years of the Friedgen era. In the 9th year we went 2-10 after losing 30 seniors the year before. That season was an anomaly, but of course there were going to be many fewer fans at games this year after a 2-10 season (not to mention the weak economy and the weak home schedule this year. Not MD's fault that we got home dates with Duke and Wake Forest, the 2 worst teams in the ACC).

But coming off a 9-4 season (and yes, MD will get their 9th win in their bowl game), and with the reigning ACC COY and ACC ROY in qb Danny O'Brien, and a much stronger home schedule next year, MD was poised to fill Byrd stadium back to the levels of the first 8 years, with regular sellouts of 50,000+ fans.

But MD's brand new athletic director Kevin Anderson didn't see it that way. He has been on the job at MD for about 30 seconds, having never had any association with MD or the ACC before. He has no perspective on MD football and perhaps is not even aware that the Terps went to 1 bowl in 15 years prior to Frieden's arrival. That is the culture of MD football that Friedgen changed, taking MD to 7 bowls in 10 years and contending for the ACC title in 6 of those 10 years.

And I strongly disagree with Van Pelt on how smart Anderson is. That is not the impression I took away from his only public comments since being hired. Anderson stumbled over his own words repeatedly...it was so bad he makes George W. Bush look like Ronald Reagan. The guy makes Joe Biden look like President Obama in front of a mic. He kept stuttering and stumbling over his own words, it was hard to watch.

Then I read the Bmore Sun piece this week about how tension has been building between Anderson and Friedgen for weeks. In Anderson's interview with Jeff Barker, he comes off as totally immature and petty. It was shocking to read his admission that Friedgen's lawyer publicly saying Fridge deserves an extension was so off-putting to him that it was a factor in why he fired him. "I had to take that into account." Woah. He can't be serious. We are talking about an athletic director at a major BCS university who fired a guy in part for something incredibly petty. That should not have been a factor at all in the decision to fire a great coach.

Anderson needs to go.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 23, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Situation was obviously handled poorly but it was the right decision. What's the last important meaningful game Maryland has won under Fridge. Seriously. Whenever it really mattered, Maryland caved.
Time to move on.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 23, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

im no expert, but i think it was time for a change considering the circumstances

Terps need a coach who can get the top tier Maryland football talent, Fridge never really got them

we'll see if leach does

there's nothing wrong with raising the bar and Fridge was def solid, he raised it and ill never forget it, but for 5 years or so the bar has stayed the same, if not lowered itself

Posted by: retroskins14 | December 23, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"What's the last important meaningful game Maryland has won under Fridge."

Since 2007, MD has beaten 7 top 25 teams, including multiple top 10 teams.

Just saying.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 23, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

It is absurd to think Anderson was not aware of the history of the program before he fired Fridge. If anything, the past 10 glory years are driving Anderson's decision. 4 seasons under .500. Failing to finish in the top 25 for seven consecutive seasons. I agree that Fridge did a nice job making the program more competitive, but that's all it is right now. Anderson has set the standard that MD football needs to be a perennial winner. I don't know if it is really possible. I don't think the stadium and its luxury suites will ever consistenly sell out. But history shows who The Fridge is, and that's not good enough anymore.

Posted by: BShea821 | December 23, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

it's about raising the bar barno, do yo want mediocre or elite?

b/c vt used to be garbage and beamer has that program at almost elite and i hate vt, i hate clemson, i hate fsu, i hate va..football hate of course

it's not easy, but id rather Maryland Football be elite, it's worth a shot, the bball team won a national championship

can you see Fridge taking the Terps to the nat. champ game?

why not raise the bar?

Patron shots please!

Posted by: retroskins14 | December 23, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"Failing to finish in the top 25 for seven consecutive seasons."

First of all, MD will likely finish in the top 25 this season if they win their bowl game (currently they are 27th in votes received in both major polls). Second of all, the polls are meaningless. MD was a top 25 team in 2006 and 2008 throughout the regular season but after losing their finale's the didn't get the recognition even after solid bowl wins.

"it's about raising the bar barno, do yo want mediocre or elite?"

Well I guess it all depends on your definition of mediocre. If by mediocre, you mean Gator Bowl, Peach Bowl, Orange Bowl, Champs Bowl, etc then yes, I'll settle for those "mediocre" seasons. Friedgen is quite possibly the greatest football coach in MD history (Bear Bryant dosen't really count because he only coached her for 1 season), having won not only multiple ACC COY awards, but was also the consensus National Coach of the Year.

And Friedgen's track record of not only winning big bowl games but doing so handily should have been good enough to keep him here. Friedgen has gone 4-1 in our last 5 bowl games against very good competition, by a whopping combined score of 161-73.

You don't just throw away a good coach like that and you certainly don't do it after a good season with a freshman QB and 90% of your starters coming back next year.

Anderson has to go.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 23, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Barno, you can try to manipulate the facts, but it doesn't change six straight seasons finishing out of the top 25, and failing to crack the list this year. And yes, rankings matter. They matter to fans, bowl committees, recruits, and the players themselves. But beyond these opinion polls, results matter too. Over the past seven seasons, MD is barely a .500 team- barely average. And those great bowls you mentioned (Orange, Peach, Gator) were all seven years or more ago. And for every minor bowl game victory since then, MD has lost to Middle Tennesse St to match.

Obviously O'Brien is talented and would continue to thrive under Fridge. But it seems as equally likely that he would thrive under Leach. And as O'Brien's family admitted, he was here for Franklin, not Fridge.

Posted by: BShea821 | December 23, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Barno, nothing wrong with you playing advocate for Fridge. You like him, I can dig that. Just don't play loose and fast with the facts. Because they is what they is.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 23, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Playing loose with the facts? If you can provide and example of something I said that wasn't true, I'm all ears. Speaking of playing loose with the facts, not only did the O'Brien camp express great disappointment in Friedgen's dismissal, Torrey Smith made the following statement: I came here to play for Friedgen, not someone else. He is as good as gone now. He was faced with a tough choice next year, stay and play his senior year under Friedgen or enter the draft. He's gone now.

As for only focusing on the last 7 years, that's awfully convenient considering that way you eliminate 31 wins in 3 years and are able to frame his tenure as negatively as possible. But here's a fact that you can't deny: Since the beginning of the 2006 season, Maryland has contended for the ACC title 3 times. Even in his worst stretch as head coach, we were usually in contention.

Again, the 3 losing regular seasons were anomalies. Since you guys like to remove his 3 best years from the equation, let's remove those 3 losing seasons and see what the record is: 62-28

Oh, and what was that great MD football culture before Friedgen arrived? 1 bowl game in 15 years. But yeah, let's get rid of the only coach to win here in a generation. I'm sure it will work out great when Leach leaves in 2 years for greener pastures and we return to our pre-Fridge days of 3 win seasons.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 23, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Friedgen's teams had losing seasons four times in ten years. 40% is hardly an anomaly.

Those seven years don't just mark Fridge's weaker years. They represent teams consisting of players solely recruited by him. Furthermore, they represent the years of ACC expansion. It is clear that in a twelve team conference, MD is no better than average. Over this time, MD is 24-30 in conference- not competitive. The past seven years are simply a more accurate reflection of his tenure.

Posted by: BShea821 | December 23, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

"can you see Fridge taking the Terps to the nat. champ game?

why not raise the bar?"
-->Let's be a little realistic here, even if MD had gone undefeated, they would NOT be in the national championship picture. ACC is the 2nd weakest BCS conference only behind the Big East.

I know how some people like to think the sky is the limit, but this isn't Texas, USC, or Florida where national championships seem to be a birthright. I think some people are borderline delusional to think national championship, you need to set realistic goals. And playing for a national championship at this point isn't one of them.

Posted by: break20 | December 23, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Fridge is your classic case of being a "victim of your own success."

The suites and bleachers were only added because of the demand for tickets. Without Fridge's initial success those projects probably wouldn't have happenend

As someone pointed out here, 20 out of the 25 biggest crowds have come under Fridge's watch. They were definitely hurt by the 2-10 season as well as unattractive opponents. MD's fault with the out-of-state, not MD's fault with the conference. Only FSU was a marquee opponent and NC St would've been had they beat FSU.

This is a team on the rise with DOB a freshman. I guess if Leach succeeds in the next few years, under a lot of people's logic he'll be doing it with Frige's players.

The MD football isn't exactly a destination job for most, but was for Fridge. It's a basketball school and has not one, but two rabid pro football fanbases. In addition, the DC-Baltimore metroplex has a bit more to offer than say State College or Lincoln, NE.

Posted by: break20 | December 23, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Fridge is your classic case of being a "victim of your own success."

The suites and bleachers were only added because of the demand for tickets. Without Fridge's initial success those projects probably wouldn't have happenend

As someone pointed out here, 20 out of the 25 biggest crowds have come under Fridge's watch. They were definitely hurt by the 2-10 season as well as unattractive opponents. MD's fault with the out-of-state, not MD's fault with the conference. Only FSU was a marquee opponent and NC St would've been had they beat FSU.

This is a team on the rise with DOB a freshman. I guess if Leach succeeds in the next few years, under a lot of people's logic he'll be doing it with Frige's players.

The MD football isn't exactly a destination job for most, but was for Fridge. It's a basketball school and has not one, but two rabid pro football fanbases. In addition, the DC-Baltimore metroplex has a bit more to offer than say State College or Lincoln, NE.

Posted by: break20 | December 23, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

"Playing loose with the facts? If you can provide and example of something I said that wasn't true, I'm all ears.

MD was a top 25 team in 2006 and 2008 throughout the regular season but after losing their finale's the didn't get the recognition even after solid bowl wins."

In 2006 Maryland was ranked 2 out 16 weeks. They fell out after losing to BC and then lost to Wake so they were not close to the top 25 at that point.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_NCAA_Division_I_FBS_football_rankings

In 2008 Maryland was ranked 3 out 16 weeks. They fell out when they got blown out at home against FSU and then lost again to BC so they were not close to the top 25.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_NCAA_Division_I_FBS_football_rankings

Try sticking to facts. Everyone has Google. Since 2004 when Maryland lost to go to 3-2 on the season, they has been ranked 5 out of last 104 weeks.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 24, 2010 1:33 AM | Report abuse

" Since you guys like to remove his 3 best years from the equation, let's remove those 3 losing seasons and see what the record is: 62-28"

The problem is that the 3 best seasons were 7 plus years ago and that the 2-10 season was last year.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 24, 2010 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Why is Leach the only name being seriously tossed around?? Please don't bring up Edsall, Willingham and the other few. There is already a proven coach who might be willing to move.. A coach from a non BCS school that has done nothing but win..A coach who might be willing to move to join the 'big boys' in a BCS conference, and is tired of trying to prove his team is just as good.. That coach is Chris Peterson from Boise St.. What is his salary at Boise, what is Anderson thinking about in a salary for Leach..Worth a phone call to see if he's interested?? I think so.. If Peterson can get players to come to BOISE, don't ya think he can get them to College Park too..

Posted by: frostanna | December 24, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I think it would take a much higher profile job than Maryland to get Chris Peterson to leave Boise St. Like, say, Michigan or Miami.

Posted by: acoberst1 | December 24, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I think it would take a much higher profile job than Maryland to get Chris Peterson to leave Boise St. Like, say, Michigan or Florida.

Posted by: acoberst1 | December 24, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

The whiners like 43-42 over the last 7 years. They are probably gov employees or tenured teachers. The rest of us will NEVER tolerate mediocrity. Period.

Bring on the Pirate.

Posted by: rdondero123 | December 24, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Peterson's record is 61-5, he makes $1.6 million.. All I'm saying is if you're looking at $3 mil or so for Leach, a call to Peterson wouldn't hurt.. You never know...

Posted by: frostanna | December 24, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

SVP has it exactly right. I am a little surprised because ESPN allowed Craig James to use its podium to make an unfair case against Leach. So Scott's support for Leach is encouraging. I think his comments about Anderson and the issues AD's face on the business side show a real understanding of why this change is being made and why now is the right time. Barno, AKA Fargo, is a blind lover of Ralph Friedgen and Gary Williams. He makes excuses for them 24/7/365 and is really nothing more than a Koolaid drinking member of the Hall of Mediocrity Bliss.

Posted by: petecard | December 24, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

What is the History of MD football that everyone talks about? They have ALWAYS been a run of the mill program that once every 10 years or so gets lucky and wins the conference. The MD fan base for football has been and is WEAK. Part of it is the Fan's fault and part is just the luck of where UMD is located. Take a look across the country and at the top programs. How many come from major metro area?? Too many distractions in DMV for anyone to really be interested in Terps football.

It's nice to think you're going to keep local talent local but it ain't happening. kids want to go to the "college town" not the urban sprawl that houses UMD. Plus put a guy like mike leach in this media market and it will be a matter of time 3 years before he wears out his welcome.

I can't blame anderson for trying but if you really want to understand the future you have to learn from the past. Fridge was the best coach MD has had in my lifetime and yet he was totally run out of town.

Go Hokies!

Posted by: jdb70 | December 24, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

People need to do a reality check. Maryland is NEVER going to be a top football school. There simply aren't enough motivated alumni to do WHATEVER IS NECESSARY to ensure that the team is a winner. I have friends who attended Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. They donate large sums of money to the sports program and they live and die w/ the team's success. A losing team is simply not tolerated.

Maryland, one of many sporting options in this market, doesn't have the large, driven alumni base of the football factories, where the college team is essentially the only game in town.

Posted by: randysbailin | December 24, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I remember Roy Lester,.. so I know BAD Maryland football! And I remember what Jerry Claiborne did for Maryland football, I went to school when Ralph Freidgen was playing and while I like what he has done for the program, the bottom line is that Maryland Football hasn't been at the top of the heap for a long time, it's not considered a power school in the conference, not bad, but not great either.

It would be great to be able to keep Ralph in the MD athletic system somehow, but going to Mike Leach may work. Notice I said "may" work because I keep thinking about Bob Huggins being out of coaching for a year, Kansas State hired him, he had a good year then left for a better offer. If Leach comes to College Park whose to say the same thing might not happen?? That's what I worry about...

Posted by: Royedw1 | December 24, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if Chris Peterson is the answer. I am a Colorado alum and CU was in a similar position to MD when they fired Barnett, just came off of a division win but got burned by Texas in the conference championship game (in addition to a scandal). The AD thinking that Gary Barnett was not going to bring the program into national excellence, hired Dan Hawkins. Didn't work out so well.

Look at the other former Boise coaches- Dirk Koetter and Houston Nutt. Neither has exactly had much success outside of Boise.

All of you who think Fridge was medicore, forget how bad MD was before he got here. Two winning seasons and bowl game in 15 years.

It's the less than marquee opponents as well, which is partly the schools fault- when your best out-of-conference "home" game is Navy, that doesn't exactly cry sales and Florida International/Morgan State are just not attractive at all. Other than FSU, there was no attractive conference game on the schedule. NC State would've been had they beat FSU.

Fridge should've been given an extension. First BCS conference COY to ever get fired, that's a telling statement.

Posted by: break20 | December 24, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Cheif2, I still don't see where I played loose with any facts. It seems your problem with my statement "Maryland was ranked throughout 2006 and 2008" is that I used the word "throughout" rather than "at different times throughout" than it seems we are talking semantics, not "playing loose with the facts."

Fact is, Md WAS ranked at different times in 06 and 08 and will likely be ranked in the final 2010 poll if we win our bowl game.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Friedgen had a chance to sell tickets and he couldn't get it done. He is a great guy and nobody will argue that but being a great guy isn't the bottom line in business.

Posted by: sjp879 | December 24, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Finally a few posts here representing a realistic perspective. UMD has really never been (since the 50's at least) and will not likely be a football powerhouse and wont contend for a national championship. I'm a hard-core UMD alumni and have been supporting many, not just football, programs for 30+ years. But I dont expect UMD to contend for a football championship and essentially none of the alumni I know expect that. The alumni base from UMD are extremely diverse and have interest way beyond football. They are logical with their money - they contribute what they can to UMD and the athletic dept., but dont go crazy. It is ridiculous for anyone to think UMD will ever have the budget or alumni support to reach consistent top-10 levels. UMD has been and should continue to strive to be a top-15 to 25 ranked team. That would keep 90% of the alumni very satisfied. Every now and then some greater glory might be reached, but those are anonmolous years. Thats fine. I sense AD Anderson thinks he's going to mold a national contender in the football program, and he's going to fail miserably. Again, that doesnt mean there's anything wrong or weak about the UMD fan base, its just the reality of where college football stands in the greater Washington DC - Baltimore area. I read a number of people posting how greatness is demanded, never settle for second place, bla, bla, bla. Get a grip. These people dont understand college athletics economics and dont understand the UMD alumni base. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Leach doesnt blow the place up in a couple-few years, and we can enjoy some good football.

Posted by: csh1 | December 24, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow, how many brainiacs we have on the comment board! Anderson has 20+ years LIVING this stuff 24/7, what do you or I have, a few days in the stands?!?
Barno and others, shut your frickin pie holes, you know NOTHING! (but thanks for playing)

Posted by: thetruth131 | December 24, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The first poster said that attendance was 17,000 less before Freigen's tenure.

Fool...the stadium seating was expanded in 2002.

Posted by: DaveLopan | December 24, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

For those of you concerned about Mike Leach leving Maryland for greener pastures I can kind of see where you're coming from. However, keep this in mind - he stayed at Texas Tech for 10 years when he easily could have jumped to a more glamourous position. Encoraging for us.

Also, Barno - Friedgen the best Maryland coach of all time? He's done a nice job but I'm not so convinced he ranks above Jim Tatum, Jerry Claiborne, or Bobby Ross.

Finally, this season was nice since there were hardly any expectations. However, I'm not convinced they were all that good. They beat exactly two decent teams this year - Navy (which was a miracle they won) and NC State. Three of their ACC wins came against Duke, UVA, and Wake who were a combined 3-21 in conference play.

I loved what Fridge did his first three years but there's no denying his success under his own recruits leveled off big time. He is 3-18 against teams that finished in the top 25 since 2004 with an ACC record over that same span of 24-32. Fans have responded and it's not like Fridge was going to be around much longer. There's a good write up at:

http://turtlewaxing.blogspot.com/

He does a nice job presenting a lot of facts. I wish Friedgen the best and will always be grateful for 2001-2003. He raised expectations at Maryland after a dark period. However, I agree it's time for a shake up and to go for a shot at the big time with Mike Leach.

Posted by: elowe2 | December 24, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Friedgen had a chance to sell tickets and he couldn't get it done. He is a great guy and nobody will argue that but being a great guy isn't the bottom line in business.

Posted by: sjp879 | December 24, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Didn't get it done? MD averaged over 17,000 more fans per game in his first 8 years than the the coaches did in the 8 years before him. In the last 2 years we have seen a 2-10 season, a terrible economy, and a weak home schedule contribute to attendance levels plummeting. But anyone who has paid attention to the first 8 years of the Friedgen era knows that next year attendance levels would be back up to the 50,000+ per game level if Friedgen were still here. The schedule will be better next year, the economy will hopefully improve, and coming off an 9 win season with an exciting QB at the helm, we were poised to have regular sellouts next season.

Now, someone else will get the credit for that when in reality it's thanks to Friedgen's success.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Now, someone else will get the credit for that when in reality it's thanks to Friedgen's success.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure we could have gone 2-10 for a second consecutive season and Mike Leach still would have been able to sell out Byrd so don't be too concerned about who receives proper "credit."

As much as I am in favor of this I'm assuming our athletic dept. KNOWS we are getting Leach. If we whiff on him this move could be bad. Let's all just keep our fingers crossed our athletic department comes through on this.

Posted by: elowe2 | December 24, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"Wow, how many brainiacs we have on the comment board! Anderson has 20+ years LIVING this stuff 24/7, what do you or I have, a few days in the stands?!?"

Anderson was an utter failure at Army and likely only got the job at MD because of the school's over-committment to "diversity." The final 2 candidates for the MD Athletic Director job were Kevin Anderson and Warde Manuel, both were black. The chances of that happening by accident are probably less than 1%. I would love nothing more than for that to have simply been because they were the two most qualified guys for the job, but I'm not that naive. MD factors race, sex, and ethnicity into almost every major decision they make. As former Athletic Director Debbie Yow once said, "affirmative hiring is part of our fabric here at MD." The school wanted their first ever black Athletic Director and that's what they got, regardless of whether he was the best man for the job or not. Unfortunately, it's clear he is in over his head.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"They beat exactly two decent teams this year"

Well, it depends on your definition of "decent." I think MD's win at Boston College, a bowl team that won 5 straight after we beat them, was a decent win. We were 4.5 underdogs in that game. I also thinking winning at UVA, a place we had won exactly ONE time in the last 20 years, was a decent win--despite Virginia's record. It's a rivalry game and you can throw current records out in those situations. I also think beat FIU, another bowl team that won their conference, was a decent win especially considering it was the first start ever for a freshman QB and we won by double digits. Also, beating an ACC team by 60 points was decent--as we did against Wake Forest. And dominating NC State, a ranked team that needed to win to go to the ACC title game, was decent. As was beating Navy, a 9 win team that was a 7 point favorite in that game.

"The first poster said that attendance was 17,000 less before Freigen's tenure. Fool...the stadium seating was expanded in 2002."

I don't really understand your point. Are you saying that MD would have had better attendance in the 90s if the stadium were bigger? The fact is the "expansion" in 2002 was simply extra risers brought in for bigger crowds, the same exact thing they did for every major crowd in the 70s and 80s. I'm sorry, but your comment made no sense.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Barno,

Throughout means in or to every part of;
from the beginning to the end of: in every part: at every moment or point.

When you say they were throughout years in which they were actually ranked less then 20% of the time, I call that being wrong not semantics.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 24, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The Fridge did very well his first three years working, obviously, with Vanderlinden's recruits - going to the Orange, Peach, and Gator Bowl. After the Vanderlinden effect wore off, the team has been mediocre at best.

Getting Mike Leach to coach the Terps is such a huge coup and it will be interesting to see his "Air Raid" offense in College Park.

I fully expect he'll be able to recruit the 4- and 5-star players in the DC area that now go to Penn State and other schools. I'm also expecting to see him do something that Ralph failed miserably at and that's recruiting blue chippers outside of MD's traditional recruiting area.

Posted by: nativedc | December 24, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Barno said,

"But anyone who has paid attention to the first 8 years of the Friedgen era knows that next year attendance levels would be back up to the 50,000+ per game level if Friedgen were still here."

You can make believe attendance would have average more than 50,000 a game if Fridge was the coach in 2011 because we will never know what it would have been. People lost faith in Fridge because of the struggles from 04 to 09. It was going to difficult to get them back.

The stadium expansion was adding suites that they have struggled to sell.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 24, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

The Fridge did very well his first three years working, obviously, with Vanderlinden's recruits - going to the Orange, Peach, and Gator Bowl. After the Vanderlinden effect wore off, the team has been mediocre at best.
----------------------------

Ugh, how many times are people going to proven wrong on this myth before they stop repeating it? The fact is Friedgen won those early years mostly because of guys like Scott McBrien, Shawn Merriman, D'Qwell Jackson, Dominique Foxworth, Randy Stark, Josh Allen, etc etc etc...All ACC studs and future NFL players, none of whom were recruited by Vanderlinden.

Friedgen won those first 3 years mostly because of his own recruits.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Don't expect 4 and 5 star recruits under Leach. Even through all his success at TT he still did it with 3 star guys. If he's winning with those guys I doubt few will care.

Posted by: elowe2 | December 24, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I'll add that I'm surprised anyone brings up race in the matter of firing one white coach and replacing him with another white coach...still scratching my head on that one.

Based on Anderson's swift and ballsy move to replace (after the first three years) an aging and hopelessly mediocre coach with a much younger man and true innovator like Mike Leach, I'd say that Anderson is smart enough for me regardless of Anderson's skin color.

C'mon, argue over Friedgen vs Leach but bringing race into every conversation shows an unhealthy obsession.

Posted by: nativedc | December 24, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Barno wrote,

"Anderson was an utter failure at Army"

Obviously Army is a difficult place to win at, but how was he a failure?

Posted by: Chief2 | December 24, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Chief, those suites are damn expensive. Sure, winning plays a big role but I think you and other understate the role the economy plays in ticket sales. It's no coincidence that ticket sales started declining across the country--at nearly every school in every sport at every level--when the housing market started its downfall. Being a dominant team can be a great antidote to this, and we haven't been dominant since those first 3 years. However, tho not dominant, we certainly have been a contender for an ACC championship 3 times since the start of the 06 season, having narrowly missed out on the ACC title game in each of those years. Attendance declined in each of those years, even though we were solid on the field. Why?

As the Ragin Cajun once said, it's the economy stupid.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"Obviously Army is a difficult place to win at, but how was he a failure?"

How was he not a failure? Army was terrible at all major sports during his tenure. To me, that equals failure.

"argue over Friedgen vs Leach but bringing race into every conversation shows an unhealthy obsession."

You'll have a hard time proving the ones who favor a colorblind approach are the ones who are "obsessed" with race. I would argue just the opposite: the people who are truly obsessed with race are those who insist on factoring it into their hiring decisions, not those opposed to using race as a factor.

I'm sorry, but when our last athletic director states that affirmative hiring is part of the fabric at UMD and the final two candidates for the next AD position are both black, well it's nearly impossible to believe this happened by accident. Clearly anyone with any common sense can see that they having a black athletic director was very important to them.

You can argue all you want about whether this commitment to diversity is good or bad, but there is really no denying that that commitment exists at UMD.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, how many times are people going to proven wrong on this myth before they stop repeating it? The fact is Friedgen won those early years mostly because of guys like Scott McBrien, Shawn Merriman, D'Qwell Jackson, Dominique Foxworth, Randy Stark, Josh Allen, etc etc etc...All ACC studs and future NFL players, none of whom were recruited by Vanderlinden.

Friedgen won those first 3 years mostly because of his own recruits.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

How many times are you going to print this lie? Foxworth and Starks were recruited by both Vandy and Fridge.

The following players were recruited by Vandy and were first or second team all ACC players at least once between 01 and 03 Bruce Perry, Todd Wike, Melvin Fowler, Shaun Hill, Guilian Gary, Matt Crawfod, EJ Henderson, Tony Jackson, Tony Okanlawon, Brooks Bernard, Chris Downs, Nick Novak, Steve Suter, Lamar Bryant, CJ Brooks, and Jeff Dugan.

Foxworth, Madieu Williams, Starks, Dquell Jackson and Podlesh were all acc players from your list during that era. From the Orange Bowl team only Starks and Foxworth were even on it. How can you say "
Friedgen won those first 3 years mostly because of his own recruits."? That is grossly unjust to the players I listed above.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 24, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Chief, I would accept it if people simply said "Friedgen won those first 3 years because of a combination of his own great recruits and players from the Vanderlinden era that took their games to a different level under Friedgen." But that's not the line that people say. They want to diminish Friedgen by claiming he couldn't have won without Vanderlinden's players, but in reality he couldn't have won those first 3 years without his own players either.

The fact is EJ Henderson was a nobody before Friedgen turned him into the best linebacker in the nation. Same goes for Shaun Hill. A total nobody until Friedgen groomed him into an All ACC stud and a winning QB in the NFL.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

MD couldn't give away tickets this season. Yes, the economy is bad, but why did 80,000 go see two out of area teams play at Fed Ex? Even when the team showed clear improvement, attendance did not improve.

Your arguments about nearly winning the conference several times is simply wrong. Going 5-3 does not mean nearly winning the conference. It means a slightly above average team.

And possibly the most obvious of your distortions? You call Shaun Hill a "winning" quarterback, courtesy of Friedgen's coaching. Shaun Hill is not a winning quarterback. He is 11-13 in the NFL. But by your standards, that is a successful record and shows great potential of
future success. In reality, Hill is the ideal comparison to Fridge: nice guys, decent talent, but never going to take your team to the next level.

Posted by: BShea821 | December 24, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Until Anderson was about to be named the AD at Maryland, I never heard of him and I know very little about his achievements at Army. However, I do know Army has had very little athletic success long before he hired. It seems that their current football coach that he hired is a good fit and that he hired several good coaches in non-revenue sports as well as improved their profitability. Obviously, the success at Army is on a much smaller scale than at Maryland. Saying he was a failure at Army seems like a bunch of hyperbole.

Gary Williams was on the search committee that hired Anderson and seems to have a good relationship with Anderson. After the disaster that was his relationship with Yow, that is important to me. The jury is still out on the decision to fire Fridge. If he hires Leach, I will credit him for making a correct difficult decision. If he hires virtually anyone else, I think it was a poor decision.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 24, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

And possibly the most obvious of your distortions? You call Shaun Hill a "winning" quarterback, courtesy of Friedgen's coaching. Shaun Hill is not a winning quarterback. He is 11-13 in the NFL. But by your standards, that is a successful record and shows great potential of
future success. In reality, Hill is the ideal comparison to Fridge: nice guys, decent talent, but never going to take your team to the next level.

Posted by: BShea821 | December 24, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Shaun Hill was outstanding in 2001 and did take the Terps to the next level. Rather than winning Barno should of said long NFL career. However, I do not understand your point, Hill did come out of no where and was great for the one year on the college level. I wish Hill had more than year in the Fridge / Taafe offense.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 24, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"Chief, I would accept it if people simply said "Friedgen won those first 3 years because of a combination of his own great recruits and players from the Vanderlinden era that took their games to a different level under Friedgen."

I will give Fridge all the credit in the world for taking players from the Vandy era and making them much better players. However, when you look at the players from the 01 to 03 teams that were responsible for the teams success, they were mostly recruited during the Vandy era.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 24, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm not debating that Hill had a great year for Fridge. But he's a career backup, nothing more. Hardly qualifies as a winning (with a losing record) NFL qb.

Posted by: BShea821 | December 24, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

"Friedgen had a chance to sell tickets and he couldn't get it done. He is a great guy and nobody will argue that but being a great guy isn't the bottom line in business."
-->Didn't know part of the job description was selling tickets. Jim Harbaugh needs to be fired then, look at Stanford's attendance.

But you fail to mention that 20 out of the top 25 crowds in Byrd Stadium have come under Fridge's watch. Or the fact that the temporary bleachers and suites were added after Fridge took over because of his success.

Posted by: break20 | December 24, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

"Your arguments about nearly winning the conference several times is simply wrong. Going 5-3 does not mean nearly winning the conference. It means a slightly above average team."

Uh, it's not wrong it's a fact. When you go into the final game or two of the season controlling your own destiny in terms of winning the conference, then that is "nearly winning the conference." By any standard, we contended for the ACC title in 06, 08, 2010. It's too bad we didn't have Duke on our schedule in 06 or 08 like 8 other ACC teams did, we'd probably have gone on to the ACC title game in those years.

"And possibly the most obvious of your distortions? You call Shaun Hill a "winning" quarterback, courtesy of Friedgen's coaching. Shaun Hill is not a winning quarterback."

Prior to about midway through this season, Shawn Hill had the third highest winning percentage among active QBs in the National Football League--and that was with some truly horrible teams. Do you even follow sports?

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Blah, blah, blah. When is the Terps' next basketball game?!

Posted by: Rational_Man | December 24, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

"The first poster said that attendance was 17,000 less before Freigen's tenure.

Fool...the stadium seating was expanded in 2002.

Posted by: DaveLopan | December 24, 2010 3:27 PM"
-->The stadium which was expanded b/c of Fridge's initial success went from 48k to 51k(the bleachers) to 54k(suites/club suites).

So even if you want to include the expansion figure, Fridge still had 11k more people coming to the games then his predecesor by your logic.

Posted by: break20 | December 24, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

"For those of you concerned about Mike Leach leving Maryland for greener pastures I can kind of see where you're coming from. However, keep this in mind - he stayed at Texas Tech for 10 years when he easily could have jumped to a more glamourous position. Encoraging for us."
-->Well look at Bob Huggins, stayed at Cincy instead of moving to greener pastures. Went to KSU when they gave him a shot and left a year later.

Also, football is king in Texas even at Tech in western Texas. At Maryland, there are a lot more "distractions" from politics to other sports. Not any major pro sports near El Lubbock.

"Finally, this season was nice since there were hardly any expectations. However, I'm not convinced they were all that good. They beat exactly two decent teams this year - Navy (which was a miracle they won) and NC State. Three of their ACC wins came against Duke, UVA, and Wake who were a combined 3-21 in conference play."
-->ACC is weak, no arguing there. This isn't the PAC-10 or SEC.

"I loved what Fridge did his first three years but there's no denying his success under his own recruits leveled off big time. He is 3-18 against teams that finished in the top 25 since 2004 with an ACC record over that same span of 24-32. Fans have responded and it's not like Fridge was going to be around much longer. There's a good write up at:

http://turtlewaxing.blogspot.com/

He does a nice job presenting a lot of facts. I wish Friedgen the best and will always be grateful for 2001-2003. He raised expectations at Maryland after a dark period. However, I agree it's time for a shake up and to go for a shot at the big time with Mike Leach."
-->But you forget the routine 3-4 game win seasons before Fridge when they made one bowl and had two winning seasons in 15 years, compared to 7 bowl seasons in 10 seasons.

You can skew the stats however you want, but Fridge's tenure at MD was a success by MD standards.

Things looked to be on rise with DOB coming off his ROY year, so I guess anything Leach (or whoever else) does for the first three years needs to be given credit to Fridge.

Posted by: break20 | December 24, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Anderson has no clue and he will continue to bring UMD Athletics down-hill.

Coach Fri.edgen brought football back to UMD and now we may be faced with Mike Leach. Leach will cost a ton of money and will leave UMD for better grasses once his mess at TT is cleared up. UMD will be hiring someone for the short-term

Feel sorry for all UMD followers.

Posted by: mrcox54 | December 24, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

"I'm pretty sure we could have gone 2-10 for a second consecutive season and Mike Leach still would have been able to sell out Byrd so don't be too concerned about who receives proper "credit."

As much as I am in favor of this I'm assuming our athletic dept. KNOWS we are getting Leach. If we whiff on him this move could be bad. Let's all just keep our fingers crossed our athletic department comes through on this.

Posted by: elowe2 | December 24, 2010 3:57 PM"
-->Yes, whenever a new coach comes in especially one with a sexy name it will sell tickets. But I doubt if he had a 2-10 season, he would be able to sustain it. Nobody wants to see a loser no matter how exciting it is.

It also reflects very poorly on the university that they would let alum, who revitalized the program and turned down millions of dollars from the NFL to get the boot.

Posted by: break20 | December 24, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

"You can make believe attendance would have average more than 50,000 a game if Fridge was the coach in 2011 because we will never know what it would have been. People lost faith in Fridge because of the struggles from 04 to 09. It was going to difficult to get them back.

The stadium expansion was adding suites that they have struggled to sell.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 24, 2010 4:51 PM"
-->The ACC is a very weak conference atleast by BCS standards that lacks sexy names and name recognition. In addition, Maryland lacks a substantial football culture and I say this as someone who has more allegiance to MD football than I do to either the Redskins or Ravens.

When Fridge came in, there was a lot of excitement. Let's see how popular Leach is in his 10th year. I guarantee you regardless of who is coach, attendance will be up coming off the turnaround with a 8(or 9) win season.

Posted by: break20 | December 24, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

"I'll add that I'm surprised anyone brings up race in the matter of firing one white coach and replacing him with another white coach...still scratching my head on that one.

Based on Anderson's swift and ballsy move to replace (after the first three years) an aging and hopelessly mediocre coach with a much younger man and true innovator like Mike Leach, I'd say that Anderson is smart enough for me regardless of Anderson's skin color.

C'mon, argue over Friedgen vs Leach but bringing race into every conversation shows an unhealthy obsession.

Posted by: nativedc | December 24, 2010 4:56 PM"
-->In addition he passed over the designated coach, James Franklin, a black man. Race will always be a part of the discussion, but I doubt it's that big of factor here.

I will say this, if Fridge were black and Anderson were white, you would probably be hearing a lot of "racism" charges.

Posted by: break20 | December 24, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"I'll add that I'm surprised anyone brings up race in the matter of firing one white coach and replacing him with another white coach...still scratching my head on that one.

Based on Anderson's swift and ballsy move to replace (after the first three years) an aging and hopelessly mediocre coach with a much younger man and true innovator like Mike Leach, I'd say that Anderson is smart enough for me regardless of Anderson's skin color.

C'mon, argue over Friedgen vs Leach but bringing race into every conversation shows an unhealthy obsession.

Posted by: nativedc | December 24, 2010 4:56 PM"
-->In addition he passed over the designated coach, James Franklin, a black man. Race will always be a part of the discussion, but I doubt it's that big of factor here.

I will say this, if Fridge were black and Anderson were white, you would probably be hearing a lot of "racism" charges.

Posted by: break20 | December 24, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Prior to about midway through this season, Shawn Hill had the third highest winning percentage among active QBs in the National Football League--and that was with some truly horrible teams. Do you even follow sports?

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Going into this season in games that Hill ha played in 19 games in the 9 years since graduating Maryland. His teams were 11-8 and that includes a victory that I assume he mopped up and did not throw a pass. The Lions lost the first four games he played in this year. Making the NFL and lasting as long as he has is great for Hill. However, your statement in just another example of the gross exaggeration you use to try to prove your point. I believe the stat you are trying to cite is through his first 16 career starts (10-6), his career .625 winning pct. as a starter is the fourth-highest winning percentage among all undrafted quarterbacks since 1970 (min. 10 starts). All 16 starts at quarterback occurred while with the San Francisco 49ers (2006-09) and winning percentage (.625) is the third highest winning percentage in 49ers history.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 24, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

"MD couldn't give away tickets this season. Yes, the economy is bad, but why did 80,000 go see two out of area teams play at Fed Ex? Even when the team showed clear improvement, attendance did not improve."
-->Virginia Tech is not that far away for starters and they have a large alumni base in the DC area. Also those "out of area teams" happenend to be in the top 25. Virginia does border MD last time I checked. Let's see if MD sells out against ND next year, ill bet they do.

Also something that's very difficult with ACC scheduling (among other conferences) is they don't announce gametimes until two weeks before the game(sometimes one). So in order to go to all the games(or some of them), you need to blanket your entire Saturday. It makes it very difficult for families among others to go.

Your arguments about nearly winning the conference several times is simply wrong. Going 5-3 does not mean nearly winning the conference. It means a slightly above average team.

And possibly the most obvious of your distortions? You call Shaun Hill a "winning" quarterback, courtesy of Friedgen's coaching. Shaun Hill is not a winning quarterback. He is 11-13 in the NFL. But by your standards, that is a successful record and shows great potential of
future success. In reality, Hill is the ideal comparison to Fridge: nice guys, decent talent, but never going to take your team to the next level.

Posted by: break20 | December 24, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

"MD couldn't give away tickets this season. Yes, the economy is bad, but why did 80,000 go see two out of area teams play at Fed Ex? Even when the team showed clear improvement, attendance did not improve."
-->Virginia Tech is not that far away for starters and they have a large alumni base in the DC area. Also those "out of area teams" happenend to be in the top 25. Virginia does border MD last time I checked. Let's see if MD sells out against ND next year, ill bet they do.

Also something that's very difficult with ACC scheduling (among other conferences) is they don't announce gametimes until two weeks before the game(sometimes one). So in order to go to all the games(or some of them), you need to blanket your entire Saturday. It makes it very difficult for families among others to go.

"And possibly the most obvious of your distortions? You call Shaun Hill a "winning" quarterback, courtesy of Friedgen's coaching. Shaun Hill is not a winning quarterback. He is 11-13 in the NFL. But by your standards, that is a successful record and shows great potential of
future success. In reality, Hill is the ideal comparison to Fridge: nice guys, decent talent, but never going to take your team to the next level."
-->Who cares how they did in the NFL? Look at some past #1 draft picks and Heisman winners such as JaMarcus Russell, Tim Couch, Troy Smith, Eric Crouch, how have they fared in the pros? The college game is completely different, doubt Tim Tebow will be the success he was in college.

Posted by: break20 | December 24, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Chief, I was one year off on the statement. My apologies. I don't think it was gross exaggeration, it was simply mistakenly believing he had sustained that winning percentage into midway through 2010, when as you pointed his career percentage hasn't been that high since 2009. The other guy acted like he was never at any point a winning qb, when he has been.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Courage, Barno.

Posted by: fitzge | December 27, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Chief, I was one year off on the statement. My apologies. I don't think it was gross exaggeration, it was simply mistakenly believing he had sustained that winning percentage into midway through 2010, when as you pointed his career percentage hasn't been that high since 2009. The other guy acted like he was never at any point a winning qb, when he has been.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Barno,

You said Hill had the 3rd highest winning percentage of active QBs. That was never true. At least Brady, Manning, Favre, Roethlisberger, Rivers, Romo and Vince Young had a higher winning percentage. I believe the stat you are trying to cite is through his first 16 career starts (10-6), his career .625 winning pct. as a starter is the fourth-highest winning percentage among all undrafted quarterbacks since 1970 (min. 10 starts). Despite that he was unable to retain his starting job.

In the same day you said

1. Maryland was ranked throughout 06 and 08.
2.Most of the players responsible for the success in Fridge's first three years were recruited by Fridge.
3. Kevin Anderson was an utter failure at Army.

All gross exaggeration and hyperbole with arrogance ("do you even follow sports?').

Posted by: Chief2 | December 27, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Chief, my recollection is that he did have one of the highest wining percentage among active QBs (I thought it was 3rd). That is obviously no longer the case, thanks to being a member of the Detroit Lions this season. But he did at one point have a higher winning percentage than Favre, Rivers, Romo, etc. It was mentioned several times during San Fran telecasts and it was NOT the stat about undrafted QBs--though clearly he was among the leaders there as well.

And I stand by my statements that you listed as "gross exaggerations and hyperbole." In fact, I think it is a gross exaggeration to even call those statements gross exaggerations. In this regard, you are being a hypocrite in my book.

The fact is MD was ranked at different times in the 06 and 08 seasons. The fact is MD could not have won those first 3 years without Scott McBrien, Randy Starks, Dominque Foxworth, Shawn Merriman, etc...and none of those guys were there because of Vanderlinden. And the fact Army sports sucked throughout Kevin Anderson's tenure there, so yes, he was a failure. He only got the MD job because of the school's overcommittment to diversity. He is the poster child for why affirmative action can be disastrous for schools. Give a guy a job bc of his skin color when he is totally unqualified, and you see these kinds of results.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 27, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

At the end of 2009, at least Brady (96-30 .762), Rivers (38-10 .792), Roethlisberger (48-21 .696), Romo (30-12 .714), McNabb (83-43 .659), Manning (119-57 .676), Young (25-13 .658) and Favre (172-97 .639) all had win percentages above Hill. Hill was (10-6 .625). Hill never had the 3rd best winning percentage amoung active QBs. You were wrong.

You did not say that Maryland was ranked in 2006 and 2008. You said they were ranked throughout those seasons. That is wrong. They were ranked in less of 20% of the weekly rankings.

You did not say Maryland could not have won in 2001 to 2003 without Fridge's recruits. You said Fridge won during that time mostly because of his recruits. That is completely wrong.

Army never had any athletic success in the 30 plus years prior to Anderson being their AD. You cannot judge his success at Army simply by the lack of success of their record. Neither you or I follow Army close enough to form an opinion of whether he was a failure at Army.

Your exaggeration and arrogance makes me want to disagree with you even on matters when my opinion is similiar to yours.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 28, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Chief,

Not sure where you get off calling other people arrogant. Look at your own posts for crying out loud.

If you believe MD wins 21 games in 2002 and 2003 without Scott McBrien and Josh Allen on offense and without Starks, Merriman, and Foxworth on defense that is your right: but you are simply delusional if you believe this.

The fact is Fridge couldn't have won 31 games those 3 years without his own players those seasons. That's just reality. People who want to diminish Friedgen's achievements deny this reality, and that's their right. But as I said, if you believe that nonsense, you're just delusional.

As for the statement about being ranked "throughout" 2006 and 2008, this is just semantics. I should have said "at different times in 06 and 08" instead of throughout. It's not exaggeration, it's a poor choice of words.

Get a grip.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 28, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

John Slaughter said he wanted to be remembered for his hiring of Bob Wade; he was. If Kevin Anderson wanted to make a big splash in his new job, he did. Wasn't Friegden on the search committee that selected Anderson? I bet he'd like that vote back, as would a few others I suspect. Tell me again what Anderson did while at Army to attract the search committee's attention.

The athletic department carries about $3M annually for the entire coaching staff, and that's before they buy out Friedgen and his staff under contract through 2011. (yes, the buyout is supposed to be off-budget) The team's entire operating budget is about $10M, versus about $9M (and falling) in revenues. Ohio State, by comparison, earns about $29M versus a total operating budget of $26M.

Firing Ralph with a year left on his contract was a costly move. Eight wins wasn't enough to earn him that final year, I suppose. I wonder if nine wins would have saved him. What if the team goes 7-5 next year, winding up in the Meineke Bowl?

I've heard a lot of talk about Maryland's newfound commitment to a winning football program, among the nations elite, how 8 wins and lower tier bowl games will no longer suffice. Show me the money.

Posted by: lockwood11j | December 28, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Your exaggeration and arrogance makes me want to disagree with you even on matters when my opinion is similiar to yours.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 28, 2010 2:02 PM

Chief2 wins everything ever. BRAVO.

Posted by: spret07 | December 28, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Barno,

If you believe MD wins 21 games in 2002 and 2003 without Scott McBrien and Josh Allen on offense and without Starks, Merriman, and Foxworth on defense that is your right: but you are simply delusional if you believe this. "

I never disputed that Fridge's recruits helped in 2002 and 2003 so I don't know why you keep bringing this up. I am disputing your claims that they won mostly because of Fridge's recruits in 2001, 2002 and 2003 as you stated here. This is just wrong.

Ugh, how many times are people going to proven wrong on this myth before they stop repeating it? The fact is Friedgen won those early years mostly because of guys like Scott McBrien, Shawn Merriman, D'Qwell Jackson, Dominique Foxworth, Randy Stark, Josh Allen, etc etc etc...All ACC studs and future NFL players, none of whom were recruited by Vanderlinden.

Friedgen won those first 3 years mostly because of his own recruits.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 24, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse


.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 29, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"Wasn't Friegden on the search committee that selected Anderson? I bet he'd like that vote back, as would a few others I suspect."
-->He wasn't, Gary and Brenda Frese were though.

Posted by: break20 | December 29, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

There are several factors in Friedgen firing that all rolled up to become a big snowball that Friedgen couldn't stop:
1. Finances-The luxury boxes and stadium renovations were probably a bad idea in hindsight, but they seem to make sense at the time. We all thought MD Football would expand and improve with the large student body. It just didn't happen.

2. Recruiting- Recruiting under Friedgen was uneven and never gained any momentum. I don't know how involved Friedgen was, but I know personally of one local all-met receiver who was dying to play at MD. He worked out for MD and was told he wasn't fast enough for them. This same receiver went to a Big Ten school where he led the school 4 years in a row in receiving and was all Big Ten selection. Instead MD signed Heywood-Bey, who can't catch a cold.

3. MD is a basketball school- Friedgen's program suffered in comparison with Gary William's basketball program. William's teams have an excitement about them that Friedgen was never able to capture in the football program. The basketball team has a loyal following that has been with the team since the early 1970's that Williams cultivates. Williams frequently brings back old players to remind fans of how great the team has been.

4. Boosters- Like it or not boosters are a part of big time college football. The fact that Friedgen found this side of the game distasteful and that stories are coming out now about how some famous alumni might have influenced the firing isn't surprising.

5. Expectations- Just like MD isn't Duke or NC in basketball, it also isn't VA Tech or Miami in football. Fans, alumni, and media need to get over it. The wailing about MD playing in the Military Bowl is ridiculous. It wasn't their record that put them in the Military Bowl, it was their attendance.

6. Administration- The disapointment in the MD football program shouldn't all be laid at the feet of Friedgen, he had plenty of help. The School Presidents, Debbie Yow and her staff, alumni and booster clubs all share in this.

Friedgen is a good coach, who got more out of mid-level talent then most coaches could. MD football fans need to remember the bad times before Bobby Ross and after Bobby Ross. You may be headed there again.

Posted by: JAMNEW | December 29, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

JAMNEW, this might be the best post I've seen on the struggles of MD football and to some extent other athletic programs.

The only issue I have is recruiting. You can find those examples at every school. I don't think recruiting is as bad as people think, MD has the second most NFL players of any school. Not bad for a coach who can't recruit.

But you are absolutely dead on in finances, adminstration, booster problem, and it being a basketball school. I think your best point might be the "expectations" and how unrealistic people have become about them. 9-4 is more the norm here, not the exception. Sure they might go 10-2 or even gasp, play for a title once in a blue moon but that won't happen on a consistent basis with the current culture.

Another important thing is unlike so many "elite" schools, the football (or other college athletics) don't play second fiddle to pro teams and they are in more deserted areas of the country. The DC-Baltimore metroplex offers a lot of diversions and you be hard to find many who say Terps football is on the top of their priority list. But go to Lincoln, NE, State College, Austin, Ann Arbor, South Bend, they live and die football. Most importantly, we don't want that. Hate to break it you guys, but last years 2-10 season didn't cause many headaches around here. On the otherhand, when Texas went 5-7, coaches who had won the national championship, coached Heisman winners were given the boot for one bad year. Not a single coach was fired last year here despite our horrible reocrd.

Posted by: break20 | December 30, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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