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Posted at 6:50 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

Friedgen's scrambled priorities

By Eric A. Green, Arlington

I am a passionate sports fan, but I was appalled by the comment of fired University of Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen on his coaching vs. the work of an English professor who wondered why $2 million was wasted on buying out a football coach [“Fridge unplugged,” Sports, Dec. 29].

Mr. Friedgen was quoted as saying that more people wanted to see him “perform” than see the professor perform. Mr. Friedgen’s priorities are all mixed up if he’s thinking football is more important than academics, which supposedly are what college is about.

So Mr. Friedgen thinks more people wanted to see him perform? The irony is that Mr. Friedgen reportedly was fired because not enough people attended Maryland’s home games. As a graduate of Maryland, I suggest that Mr. Friedgen spend his forced retirement rethinking his priorities.

By Eric A. Green, Arlington  | January 4, 2011; 6:50 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Maryland, University of Maryland, sports  
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Kinda reminds me of when they asked Babe Ruth why he was making more money than President Herbert Hoover during the depression, "I had a better year than he did."

Seriously, can we at last unplug the Fridge? He was given a rational and dignified way out. He reneged. Maryland didn't want to sit still for three years, that's three senior classes sacrificed to the Fridge's ego. Time for him to go.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | January 5, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Ralph obviously needs the $2 million for food.

He consumes an amount that would feed at least ten Africans.

Posted by: kenk33 | January 5, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Did you actually get paid by the Post to write this? Maybe the Post should rethink its priorities.

Posted by: terps78 | January 5, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Did you actually get paid by the Post to write this? Maybe the Post should rethink its priorities.

Posted by: terps78 | January 5, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

But more people did want to see him perform. Freidgen was merely stating an obvious fact. Why beat him up for that?

Facts are facts.

Some people would much rather pack a stadium to hear a good analysis of Keates on a fall afternoon. But they are a small minority.

Frigden never said the job of a football coach was more important than that of an English professor. Merely more popular and hence more highly compensated.

Posted by: cornwell7 | January 5, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Terps 78, this is a letter to the editor, so the author didn't get paid to write it. Just to be clear, none of us who have responded to it are getting paid, either.

Posted by: David90 | January 5, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The writer perhaps intended to raise a question worthy of discussion, namely, the current financial realities of major college sports and relative compensation for academics. For this response, I will leave aside the familiar (and meritorious) arguments regarding revenue generated (directly through tickets, merchandise, television, etc., or indirectly through donations made to booster programs) that support non-revenue sports and scholarships for student-athletes (with the emphasis on student) in those non-revenue sports. Addressing the topic of priorities, however, the writer could not have selected a target more off-base for his argument than Ralph Friedgen.

Anyone who knows Coach Friedgen and the Maryland program knows the strong emphasis that he (and his wife Gloria, an educator by background who has spent innumerable hours involved in academics at the University) places on academics and personal growth. Those who are familiar with the Maryland football family have seen the development of his players as they grow into mature fine people. Those familiar with Maryland football are aware of some of the excellent students, and yes, even some who are not "excellent" but work hard to achieve their goals in and out of the classroom. I have heard players describe the consequences of missing classes, and the reward (even in the order of dining) of academic success. I have also heard players' parents describe their pride at what their children have accomplished under his leadership. I have also witnessed parents, choking back tears, describe the assistance and offers of assistance given by the Friedgens to their children during times of extreme trouble - and these students were not football players.

Issues surrounding Coach Friedgen's contract are not questions of his priorities, but issues of contract. I feel strongly about properly compensating quality faculty, but also do not begrudge the professor whose books generate revenue or whose research translates in commercial viability and revenue for the researcher. However, to suggest that Coach Friedgen's priorities are "scrambled" is grossly misplaced.

Posted by: FUMDHATERS | January 5, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Ralph's obesity is an indication of our society.

Bloated contracts, bloated bodies, where else in the world would you find a coach (of any sport) so ridiculously obese?

Posted by: kenk33 | January 5, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

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