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Posted at 10:04 AM ET, 12/29/2010

Ralph Friedgen shoots down Virginia Tech rumors

By Mark Giannotto

I know it's been a few days since my last post here on Hokies Journal, but I can explain. In addition to the holiday season, I've been helping out with some Capitals and Maryland coverage for the paper as well as traveling down to Miami for the Orange Bowl. But now that I've finally arrived, expect daily updates here on the blog as well as in the print edition of the paper.

The Hokies landed in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday afternoon and have their first practice here on Wednesday at noon. We'll have a chance to speak with some defensive players and coaches beforehand. In case you missed it, here's my story from Monday's paper on safety Davon Morgan.

One benefit of following around Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen for a couple days is I got to see firsthand whether there was any truth to the rumors that Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer would consider bringing the soon-to-be-former Terrapins coach on as an assistant.

On Monday at a news conference ahead of Wednesday's Military Bowl, Friedgen confirmed to me that he already has at least one offer to work in broadcasting and has spoken with Beamer since the announcement of his impending dismissal from his post in College Park.

But he said any rumors about him coming to Blacksburg are premature and uncalled for at this time. Though Friedgen and Beamer are good friends from their days as assistants together at Maryland -- they also have vacation homes in the same Georgia neighborhood -- the two have not talked about working together again.

"Frank's got a good staff down there," Friedgen said. "I'd consider any opportunity, but we haven't discussed that at this point."

Many have speculated Friedgen could come to Virginia Tech and serve some sort of offensive assistant role, because he called plays during his days as offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech and during the early portion of his tenure at Maryland. But offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring's offense set a new school record for points this year, and though he's faced job security questions in the past, that is not currently the case.

As of right now, the Hokies do not have any openings on their staff, and I'd think Friedgen wouldn't be too keen about hitting the recruiting trail hard at his age. Some think associate head coach and running backs coach Billy Hite may soon retire, but he's given no indication of that throughout this season.

That, though, doesn't mean Beamer isn't upset about how Friedgen was treated at Maryland. I asked him last week how he felt about the situation and here was his response.

"I do know Ralph and I know he’s a heckuva football coach; I know he’s a heckuva good person. It’s unusual that a guy could have the year that he had and coach of the year and having the coaching performance that he had and then all of a sudden he’s not gonna be your coach. I know the season ticket sales are down, but to me, that came off of last season. I would think next season when he’s got a young team – he’s got a lot of those starters back that performed well; he’s got his quarterback who was rookie of the year coming back – I would think it would help those season ticket sales. I would think it would sell some of those suites. I understand all that.

"What’s happened this year when you think of guys that have winning records and now they’re not gonna be the coach of their team next year – I think of West Virginia, Pittsburgh; I think about Miami, about Maryland – and knowing how hard it is to win. I think a perfect example is Texas. They play for the national championship last year. They’ve got good players. They’ve got good coaches and they just got on a bad run and it’s hard to win. I think people think, ‘Hey, let’s just change the coach and everything’s gonna be all right.’ But usually it goes deeper than that. I know what’s real and I know Ralph’s a heckuva football coach and I thought he did a heckuva job and deserves better than he got.”

By Mark Giannotto  | December 29, 2010; 10:04 AM ET
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Will someone please explain to me why this journal even exists and why The Post covers Va Tech as a local team. I won't list all of the schools that are closer to DC than VT, but the list includes, amongst others, Penn State and Pitt. Why not follow them as well?

Posted by: truke | December 29, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

truke - there are certainly many fans of those teams and others here in DC, probably who read the post, but do they have better sources for news from their home cities in Philly or Pittsburgh? Tech has a huge alumni base in the DC area even though it is not one of the closest schools geographically.

Posted by: HokieHoo97 | December 29, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Fridge may have "shot down" Hokie rumors this week, but he clearly did not shoot down his interest. My read is that he would never comment on a move to Blacksburg during his own Bowl Week or create an Orange Bowl distraction. The man has class. Get ready students, Fridge will be leading the Hokie Pokie by February 1.

Posted by: hokiescott | December 29, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I agree with HokieHoo97. Virginia Tech is one of Virginia's largest colleges. Pennsylvania does not border Washington, DC. There are literally hundreds of thousands of Tech alums in the DC area, obviously myself and HokieHoo97 included. The Washington Post covers the Hokies because they are in the business of selling newspapers. We buy their newspaper in part because they give the Hokies good coverage. Is it really so mysterious?

Posted by: RobTinVA | December 29, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

When I went to VT - I had classmates who went to my high school - Annandale. I even met a couple of people on campus that went to my grade school!

Posted by: charley42 | December 29, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Get ready students, Fridge will be leading the Hokie Pokie by February 1.


I don't see that happening, though I'm sure the Fridge would like that.

Unlike UMD, Beamer has both class and loyalty, so he would be unlikely to get rid of Stinespring for Friedgen, even though it would likely be an improvement.

Posted by: postfan1 | December 30, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Truke, the other guys are quite correct. About 1/2 of the in-state students come from the Northern Virginia area, thus the alumni base is also here. Just look at how the Hokies filled FedEx for the USC and the Boise State games. The USC game in 2004 still holds the record for attendance.

I enjoy driving down I-81 from Clarke County and seeing more and more Hokie Birds on the side of the vehicles converging on Blacksburg.

Posted by: VT1922VT1956VT1977 | December 30, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

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