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Posted at 9:36 PM ET, 12/18/2010

After Ralph Friedgen, Maryland eyes Mike Leach

By Eric Prisbell

Two days ago I was monitoring James Franklin’s contract negotiations with Vanderbilt, which were moving with the urgency of a kidney stone. By this afternoon, I was on the phone with a high school junior quarterback in California named Tyler Stewart – just a fine young player -- asking him if Mike Leach had begun to recruit him for Maryland (as had been reported (he said no)). It has been a 30-hour whirlwind, which is expected when you set your sights on the most intriguing, eccentric coach in college football.

(Do you see a pirate in one of the rotating advertisements a few inches above this blog post, or is it just me?)

When the two-year anniversary of Maryland’s head coach-in-waiting deal arrives in February 2011, Debbie Yow, Ralph Friedgen and Franklin will all be long gone. The HCIW deal is history. Franklin has already impressed Nashville, Tenn., locals with his energy and charisma. And Friedgen departs after breathing life into his alma mater and leading it to seven bowl games. Did Maryland handle everything in the best manner the past few days? For many fans, it’s hard to argue they did. But for many Maryland fans, the prospect of landing pass-happy Mike Leach has managed to blunt the umbrage over seeing an alum, a two-time ACC coach of the year honoree, a coach who won 31 games in three years get the final year of his contract yanked out of his 63-year-old hands. When Friedgen’s departure is announced, likely as early as Monday, the question will immediately become how soon Maryland can close the deal and land the former Texas Tech coach.

“A key Big 12 source” has already told Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com that Leach will be the next coach at Maryland. Brown is as well-respected a college football reporter as you can find. We are reporting that Leach is the heavy favorite. There is mutual interest, according to three sources, two of whom are close to Maryland and one of whom is close to Leach. When I spoke to Leach on Friday, he was getting ready to eat dinner in Key West, Fla., where he lives. Here’s a great read on Leach’s life in Florida by my pal Thayer Evans.

Why would Maryland hire Leach? If you want to win, you hire Leach, who averaged more than eight wins a year in 10 seasons at Texas Tech. If your problem is ticket sales and an apathetic fan base – and Maryland’s is – then a quick fix is Leach. He will arouse the fan base, light up the scoreboard and assemble, with the help of QB Danny O’Brien, one of the most exciting offenses on the East Coast. This is the big-splash hire that would sell tickets, luxury suites and keep Maryland from plummeting to the eighth slot in the ACC bowl pecking order. It is a hire that would make Maryland nationally relevant. It’s a hire that, in my opinion, would likely make covering this team a year-round beat.

I have not seen Maryland’s football fan base this revved up since I got here seven years ago. Here’s a story I wrote about Leach and his offense more than five years ago, when then-quarterback Graham Harrell told me, “Coach never handed out a playbook.”

Let's hope that Maryland officials know that should the quote-unquote search process lag, should negotiations with Leach stall, should the whole scenario presumably hatched in the mind of Kevin Plank backfire, Maryland fans will be left feeling more jilted than Vanderbilt fans, as if they had just been Malzahned at the coaching alter. They will be hissing mad.

I'd write more, but I've been working since dawn and it's 10 p.m., so time for a light lunch. In the coming days, we’ll have plenty more on Leach --- the Adam James/Craig James saga, the Under Armour connections, etc. --- but, for now, enjoy the possibilities, grab an eye patch and think pirates.

By Eric Prisbell  | December 18, 2010; 9:36 PM ET
Categories:  Football, Ralph Friedgen  
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Next: Sources: Maryland to try to hire Mike Leach

Comments

Farewell Coach Friedgen. Needless to say, this situation has not been handled with class and the respect you deserve.

I am not sold on Mike Leach. There is good reason why he is no longer coaching Texas Tech. His offense isn't pro-style.

Is Maryland looking at some other coaches? It sure is wishful thinking on my part but I would like to see Frank Reich, or Steve Marucci (sp?) be considered as potential candidates. Or even the Alabama offensive coordinator who turned Vandy down.

Posted by: mi6-007 | December 18, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Farewell Coach Friedgen. Needless to say, this situation has not been handled with class and the respect you deserve.

I am not sold on Mike Leach. There is good reason why he is no longer coaching Texas Tech. His offense isn't pro-style.

Is Maryland looking at some other coaches? It sure is wishful thinking on my part but I would like to see Frank Reich, or Steve Marucci (sp?) be considered as potential candidates. Or even the Alabama offensive coordinator who turned Vandy down.

Posted by: mi6-007 | December 18, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Good sell Prisbell. I will never be cool with the way Anderson treated Friedgen, but life goes on. Time will heal all wounds. My threat to abandon MD was, of course, an empty one. I could never stop supporting MD. Too many good times on Saturdays in the parking lot and in the stands, too many friends I wouldn't ever see any more (since many I only see on game day and 1 or 2 other times a year). My hope was that things would move a little slower with the attempted buyout and if the fans showed how irate they were we'd end up forcing Anderson to reconsider. Unfortunately things moved too quickly and there was nothing the fans could do to stop it from happening.

I will still support whoever our coach is. I'm sure I'll be attacked for going back on my word. Have at it. But if Anderson can go back on his word, so can the fans.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 18, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the sell and I think it was done well, but to think we're just a Mike Leach away from throwing the ball all around the field is laughable. Coaches don't make conferences. It's the other way around. Exactly the opposite of the Big 12, the ACC has been a grind-it-out defensive struggle for years and that's not going to change because Mike Leach says so. This is an AWFUL idea. AWFUL.

Posted by: tomfoley1 | December 18, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I feel like Anderson has been in way over his head recently... not understanding the bowl selection process, letting it slip that Ralph might not come back, and having so many "sources" inside his athletic department leak information to the media. If Fridge's "retirement" had been conducted behind closed doors, Maryland wouldn't look stupid right now. I think Leach is the right move for the future, but the process was horrible. I also think Leach was brought in because of Under Armour so what exactly has Anderson done?

Posted by: TerpFan2001 | December 18, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

If the rumours are true, then Maryland is one lucky school if it decides to hire Mike Leach. Man are you guys going to have fun!!
1. Leach comes with his own fan base.
2. His style of football is fun to watch
3. He will generate more revenue to improve you athletic facilities.
4. Your players will graduate.
5. He will bring more notoriety to your school.
6. The current fan base will become more energized.
and best of all...
Maryland will have the "mad scientist of college football", also called the "offensive genius of college football".
You guys have just struck gold!!

Posted by: Chef4U | December 18, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I think it's pretty much unanimous that Kevin Anderson is in above his head. Of course there's always going to be a Petecard or two who disagree just for the sake of disagreeing, but I haven't spoken to a single Terp fan who is happy with Kevin Anderson right now as our AD.

Prisbell says he has gotten the same reaction from lots of people as well. The guy calls for a press conference (the media didn't call for it) and then accidentally lets it slip that Friedgen is on his way out. He doesn't know how to answer Prisbell's question about whether Fridge will be back next year and in the process looks totally disorganized and foolish. This, after announcing Fridge will be back next year on the eve of the FSU game--a nice little distraction for no apparent reason other than to get his name mentioned on the ABC national broadcast. Then goes back on this a few weeks later AFTER Friedgen is awarded with the ACC COY.

Clearly, Anderson has a long, long, LONG way to go. Not just in mastering the ins and outs of this job, but in earning the trust of the fans.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 18, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

A few thoughts:

Barno, I LOVE your enthusiasm and unyielding loyalty to the Terps and the enthusiam you bring to this blog. Keep it up.

BUT, I have to side with Terp"hater"MA and Pete on this one. Apparently, Mike Leach will be the next HC. DOB combined with Mike Leach will be crazy. We won't miss JF next year. Leach will absolutely increase attendence. He is smart, funny and classless...all of which add up to being extremely entertaining and occasionally embarrassing. Not an ounce of boring in this man.

Rumor is that Don Brown and Mike Leach have the same agent. Keeping Don Brown would be huge. I love his defense.

KA's justification as I see it:

Fridge had 1-3 years left (depending on if he got an extension). His staff was going to be decimated by JF's departure to Vandy. Fridge would essentially be starting over with staff which would kill recruiting, along with the fact that he couldn't promise. that he would be there for all 4 years that new recruits would attend UM. The time to move is now.

KA has shown incredible foresight and very little tact in handling this situation.

KA has avacado-sized balls. If he fails, he will have done so swinging for the fences. I don't think he will. If I was a coach at MD, I have just become more motiviated to win than I would have thought possible.

Posted by: larry31 | December 18, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

No doubt, Anderson botched the public relations aspect of this. And I feel bad for Ralph, as he deserved much better.

But the bottom line is that Leach can bring this program to a higher level than Ralph can. If Anderson can pull this off and Leach delivers like I think he will, the AD's mistakes will be quickly forgotten.

Posted by: srcog | December 18, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

"KA has shown incredible foresight and very little tact in handling this situation.

KA has avacado-sized balls. If he fails, he will have done so swinging for the fences. I don't think he will."
--------------------------------------
I couldn't agree more - very well said.

Posted by: srcog | December 18, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

leach will bring the excitement and fans back to the terps.....offense guys will want to play for him....dob will be given the open playbook...with the opportunity to keep DB the defense will just get better..and with an o scoring 30 pts a game we will finally be in the hunt...Anderson will take his marching orders from plank if he knows what is good for him...finally ticket sales will be huge...

sorry ralph time has passed you by just like joe gibbs..pls do not be arrogrant when you lve..

Posted by: carolina1 | December 19, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Sure Friedgen deserves better and all and I do appreciate what he did, but if you're a program like Maryland who has seen ticket sales drop for five consecutive seasons, a coach that's a couple years away from the end, and a chance to hire Mike Leach, well, that's a move you make in a heartbeat.

Bottom line is this is what is best for the program and for moving it forward. I can guarantee if Leach comes you will see a serious buzz in College Park featuring sold out crowds and super exciting football. When that happens wil you all still be criticizing Anderson? Probably not.

Posted by: elowe2 | December 19, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Our new AD better learn what the letters PR mean very quickly. I don't understand why they couldn't have done this behind closed doors and gave Fridge a job at a desk and still overseeing the team. This man got us relevant in college football when we were an after-thought or an ACC team everyone out of conference was itching to play to pad the schedule. Anderson needs a crash course in MD lineage because Gary could be next with the way this season is going though I think he'll make it through the end of his current contract.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | December 19, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

I have not weighed in on this because I have not worked how I feel about it yet but it confirms one point that I repeated through the season....

RF/JF should have burned Garcia's redshirt a whole lot sooner. No telling what an incremental o-lineman could have done for the team - especially given the close losses.

If we had nine wins right now, there would be no drama - just losing JF.

That is all for me.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | December 19, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

I have not weighed in on this because I have not worked how I feel about it yet but it confirms one point that I repeated through the season....

RF/JF should have burned Garcia's redshirt a whole lot sooner. No telling what an incremental o-lineman could have done for the team - especially given the close losses.

If we had nine wins right now, there would be no drama - just losing JF.

That is all for me.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | December 19, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

HGR is right - we win the Miami and the FSU games and we're not even talking about this.

That said, you can't fault a guy for trying, and Kevin Anderson is trying. He screws the pooch and he'll be out of here, but reserve judgement until he does.

Anybody rather have Debbie Yow back? I thought not.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | December 19, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Coach Fridgen deserved way better treatment than this even if he was not a "Terp of Life". I suppose it doesn't matter now whether time has passed him by but I can't imagine that the AD couldn't have devised a more appropriate way for him to leave with dignity. And can you imagine the press reaction if/when Leach is accused of player abuse again. What the AD and the Univ. admin. need to decide is it is worth the risk. I for one isn't so sure but I hope I am wrong. To Coach Fridgen; fair winds and following seas and G-d bless.

Posted by: generalike | December 19, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Jeez Eric, aren't you the same guy that tried to give us the hard sell on the merits of the Military Bowl? Now you seem to be candy coating Leach, a guy described by Larry 31 as "smart, funny and classless...all of which add up to being extremely entertaining and occasionally embarrassing." Just what College Park needs, as it complements the rioting! I've lived through Mark Duffner's run and shoot, and Bob Wade forcing his players to carry bricks as they ran…No thanks!
Meanwhile the guy we shoulda hired as AD, Maryland grad Jeff Hathaway, is overseeing his football team playing in a BCS (Fiesta) Bowl, his basketball team ranked 4th in the country, and the Women’s b-ball team is looking to tie John Wooden's streak of 88 consecutive wins.
Crank up the AC/DC, cause at Maryland “We're on the highway to hell!“

Posted by: MrCrabbyPatty | December 19, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

One thing no one has brought up is how our rival schools will use Leach's incident as a way to scare recruits and their parents from signing with MD. It remains to be seen if Leach will have recruiting hurdles because of that incident. It may take a few years for the dust to clear. Bob Knight was still able to get some great players over the years despite his treatment of players, so maybe it won't be an issue. We'll find out (if Leach comes here).

Posted by: Barno1 | December 19, 2010 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Barno wrote,

"but I haven't spoken to a single Terp fan who is happy with Kevin Anderson right now as our AD."

That is funny because the majority of Terp fans that I have heard from are ecstatic with Anderson, more than I am.

The main mistake that Anderson made PR wise was back in November when he announced Fridge was coming back. Anderson did not anticipate Franklin getting a BCS Head Coaching job, but unless it was 100% that Fridge was coming back regardless of the scenario, no announcement should have been made.

I think everything Anderson did on Friday was calculated. He had to move fast one way or the other when Franklin got the Vandy job. It was smart to leak that they were buying Fridge out on a Friday evening. Less media coverage than if it broke during a weekday.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 19, 2010 5:57 AM | Report abuse

This was probably in Anderson's mind as soon as he became AD.. Terps winning a few games late in the year, and Anderson saying Ralph would be back next year, just makes this look wrong..
A new AD comes in, see's empty seats, empty suites, lack of alumni support, by all means he's going to wonder if he wants to continue with the coach he has...Ralph wanted alot of things from Maryland, improve Byrd, facilities etc.. He got it..But like I've said before, take out his first three years, and Ralph's record is floating around .500, did Maryland get a return on the investment.. Attendence has been going down for the last 5 yrs-don't bring up where it was before he got here, that doesn't matter in this day of college football...It's all about 'THE NOW', and is a business, one that is not generating the revenue it needs to support the other programs on campus.. Will Leach fill seats, is he the answer, who knows?? Ralph really has no one to blame but himself.. Is it right, the way things have gone down, heck no, but like he said himself- 'It Is What It Is'.. And that truly sums up what Maryland football is all about...

Posted by: frostanna | December 19, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Count me as one of the fans ecstatic with Anderson. And look at the results of Prisbell's poll; at 6:35am I am seeing that 815 people voted and 86% are voting to hire Leach. I'd say they are pretty happy too.

Posted by: Mariolucasforthree | December 19, 2010 6:37 AM | Report abuse

I'm very saddened by the loss of Ralph. I thought he was an excellent recruiter and was able to keep alot of homegrown talent here. I think I will mostly miss the Terps perennial close but no cigar finishes and the major support our fans showed by barely showing up at homegames.

Posted by: clwalker1906 | December 19, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Maryland will regret this the first time Leach is caught cheating, or slugging a player..

Posted by: jaypem | December 19, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

It's a shame that Ralph couldn't leave on more favorable terms. On the other hand, it was only due to financial/economic factors that he didn't get booted to the curb with his head hung low, toting a 2-10 record.

Instead, he got to leave as close to "on top" as he has been for at least 8 years, with a grateful fan base -- even those who want him out appreciate what he has done and view him as a True Terp. He walks away as the ACC Coach of the Year.

If Ralph had been fired last year, who could have argued? Instead, he got a chance at redemption and capitalized on it. To paraphrase Lou Gehrig, he is the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

Posted by: SmittyATL | December 19, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm very saddened by the loss of Ralph. I thought he was an excellent recruiter and was able to keep alot of homegrown talent here. I think I will mostly miss the Terps perennial close but no cigar finishes and the major support our fans showed by barely showing up at homegames.

Posted by: clwalker1906 | December 19, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

When you sell your soul, you better read the fine print. Watch your back, Gary, you may be next.

Posted by: 4merskinsfan | December 19, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Where is Maryland's moral compass? It is clear that winning means more to the administration than developing student athletes. There should be a clause in the Athletic Direstor's and University President's contract that calls for their immediate termination should/when Leach pulls his standard behaviors. Poor selection for a school, which used to pride itself on ethics.

Posted by: RPGJRVA | December 19, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Where is Maryland's moral compass? It is clear that winning means more to the administration than developing student athletes. There should be a clause in the Athletic Direstor's and University President's contract that calls for their immediate termination should/when Leach pulls his standard behaviors. Poor selection for a school, which used to pride itself on ethics.

Posted by: RPGJRVA | December 19, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

When you sell your soul, you better read the fine print. Better watch your back Gary, you may be next.

Posted by: 4merskinsfan | December 19, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

If you want Leach he is yours...he has been passed over for every coaching job this season (and there have been many). He is desperate and will take anything...just one note of caution, he isn't loyal to anyone but himself. He will be shopping for bigger and better and hold administration and fans hostage annually....it's a very bumpy ride with the pirate. Don't think for a minute he will be satisfied in Maryland!

Posted by: msindc27 | December 19, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

It was a very SEC-like move by Maryland. Leach may end up being a mercenary who re-launches his career at Maryland and moves on after two years.

But his program desperately needed life injected into it. We need to return to the national rankings, fill the stadium, and become a team in demand for TV and big bowl games.

Look at South Carolina a few years ago; it was a program mired in mediocrity. They brought in Lou Holtz, who showed you can win at SC, and made it a desirable head coaching job. I think they're doing okay now with Holtz's successor.

Even if Leach is gone in a few years, this sets Maryland up for a potential run at longer term success.

Posted by: SmittyATL | December 19, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

what many seem to be missing if Leach is your man, then he would still have been available next year. Nobody has tried to hire him... in fact noone tried to hire him away from Tech. Not saying he can't coach..just that he's certainly not worth selling your soul over.

Posted by: mcmelton | December 19, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

If this doesn't work out, I want Anderson out before the end of his contract. If he wants to help the football team, he should eliminate a few of our league leading 27 revenue draining sports.

Posted by: garrett4 | December 19, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

How does Fridge deserve better? I love the guy, but every opportunity he has gotten to up his bottom line, he has taken. That's the business of it. Now, the University has a shot to better its lot and is taking it.

Posted by: JosephPulitzer | December 19, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I am grateful for Ralph's work during the past decade, but let's not gloss over the FACT that the program had turned mediocre the past 6 years. Declining attendance and poor suite sales is proof of that. Despite the better performance tis year, the lack of interest was even somehow transformed into an indictment of our bowl travel history which ironically is quite solid.

Then you throw in Franklin, who was Anderson's leverage for negotiations with Ralph, while providing a sense of continuity for recruiting and program stability.

Lastly, Ralph is 63 years old, he was not going to get a longterm, guarantee deal regardless of the circumstances.

So when Franklin left, and the staff was potentially broken up, what was the point of extending Ralph long term? Anyone close to the program knew we were TRAPPED in our situation, so when Franklin gave us an out, naturally you had to do the hard thing and take it.

Maryland 247 has an excellent write up of the details and circumstances of what took place. From what I've heard, there were discussions with Ralph and that he was supposed to have been at the Friday meeting to discuss the decision, but he was supposedly sick and could not attend.

In other words, there are a lot of circumstances that we probably don't know about and it wasn't just Anderson deciding to can Ralph disrepectfully.

Regarding Leach, it's well documented that James son admitted he was not locked in the shed, and that he was filming the situation and thought it was funny. I've read that Leach has good cases against Tech and ESPN.

As far as the poster's claim that he's not loyal, didn't he stay at Tech for 10 years? Why do people write things without knowing the facts?

Posted by: minhle1 | December 19, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

In the "what have you done lately" world of business and sports, Fridge goes out ON TOP and will be fondly remembered for COY, Bowl, exceeding expectations and has secured his spot in Terp history...even his detractors (like me) can tip a hat and say Thank You Fridge!!!

It is best that his last year was filled with so much success

Posted by: TerpfanMA | December 19, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh Puh-leez, do not use the false poll, on whether to hire Leach or not, and point to this as evidence that Terpnation is happy with the termination of RF and that it endorses Leach. The poll, intended or not, skews the answer. This question assumes that the malicious handling of Ralph, and the bloody aftermath, are not a factor (it is - BTW who is going to coach the glamorous Military/Boozer Bowl?) and you are presented with ONE pre selected coach. It's akin to electronic "truth or dare" or Pick a card, any card, as long as it’s the one I’ve selected for you!!! Tee-hee! Come on man- Some of us took statistics!! LOL!!

Posted by: MrCrabbyPatty | December 19, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Leach is nice, I guess. But if you have a high-profile job opening like this one, why not go for broke and see if Jim Harbaugh might be interested? Sure, it's a long shot, but stranger things have happened. He seems like a guy who'd welcome the challenge of bringing Maryland to legitimately elite status. You've got a big market (comparable w/SF IMO), excellent facilities, competent academics (not quite Stanford level, but few are), and a very good recruiting base. Besides, it can only help to have his brother a short drive up 295 away.

Posted by: nittanybruin | December 19, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Looks like I'm in the minority here on thinking this is bad for Maryland football. I fully recognize that AD Anderson is employed to do many things including increasing revenue to the university through his athletic programs. Empty seats, no matter whose fault it is, needs attention. Waning fan support needs to be turned around. I just don't like the possibility hiring a coach with Leach's baggage. Yes it is about winning, and maybe Leach can improve his record while at Maryland. He appears to be a litigious individual, and there is of course the James kid incident and the way he handled it afterward. I go on record that if Maryland hires this guy, it will end bad for Terps Nation. I hope I'm wrong, but sometimes the negatives trump the potential positives. Maryland's football seat problems are not on Ralph of course. There are many other reasons and hiring a controversial coach will not solve those root causes. One thing's for sure - local media will love the hire since Leach has so much baggage to rummage through it will keep Prisbell among others in a job.

Posted by: bfjam | December 19, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I put this on the other thread and wanted to make the same point here. Today's college football is a business, pure and simple. Our bowl selection is enough proof of that, Ralph's situation is an extension of that. HOWEVER, regardless of the money machine, Ralph deserves better from the AD and this school than what he's getting. Courtesy of d1scourse's blog, these stats say it all for me:

In 117 years of UMD football, there have been only 13 teams that have won nine games or more (this year would be 14, of which 5 would be Ralph's). Only eight Maryland teams have won nine games and won a bowl game. Friedgen coached three of them --- 2002, 2003 and 2006. And going for four.

So yes, Ralph has been one of, if not the best coaches in Maryland history. Say what you will about the attendance or other money factors. At the very least, the school and AD need to acknowledge that in some capacity. A half time ceremony, plaque/statue at the stadium or some equivalent gesture is necessary. I'm sad to see Ralph pushed out, but long gone are the days when sentiment played any part in college athletics. In similar fashion, Kevin Anderson will be betting his job on his next decision, and as Terp fans, we can all wish him luck in getting it right.

Posted by: scrubmutt | December 19, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

UMD traded a coach who could win with integrity for one who is willing to take some shortcuts.

We'll see how that works out for them.

I guess corporate sponsors get to call the shots for university athletics nowadays.

Posted by: postfan1 | December 19, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

For all those who think Fridge was poorly treated: how do you take the action? Once Franklin left, KA had a small window of opportunity to act, and he did so decisively. Fact is, Fridge is in terrible shape for a guy his age--63 is not all that old but combined with physical condition, it is not likely that you are going to say that this is Fridge's program for the next several years. Just a fact. And a one year solution--just dragging it out-- is not going to help recruiting or other aspects of the program either.

So to treat Fridge well, what do you do? Give him a few more years as a way to honor him? KA felt there was too much at stake (namely, the future of the football program) to do that. So any action at this point will be perceived as brutal treatment of Fridge.

He still can be honored and appreciated for his 10 years--a great run for Ralph. One way to do that is to have the whole school rally around Ralph as coach of the upcoming bowl game, so he has to accept coaching that game.

Posted by: EdDC | December 19, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Well,you're trying to sell us a wounded duck coach who's been out of college football for a little while and still has legal issues.I hope the legal dept. at Maryland does a better backround check than the friendly,biased sports writers for the Terps football team.I understand why Ralph should move on,but I want to see some other candidates step up into the interview process,thank you much.You guys(dc) are too close to that exciting Redskin management style down there;how many "saviors" has that NFL team had indoctrinated on it's fans??

Posted by: worcsterguy | December 19, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

With Leach's run n' shoot and Don Browns "cover 4 wideouts with 2 linebackers and a safety" defense, we'll be back in the Duffner Days! Get ready for 45-47 losses!

Posted by: someguy100 | December 19, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

People, let me set the story straight about Mike Leach:

First of all, Mike Leach never locked Adam James in a closet, or a shed or anything like that. That whole thing was complete and total fabrication put together by the TTU administration, Craig James and ESPN, and Speath Communications (a PR firm hired by Craig James to release Youtube videos, etc.)

Please see the following link for more information about Mike Leach's innocence:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/540633-the-mike-leach-firing-testimonies-and-videos-that-show-leachs-innocence

Other than that B.S. above, Mike Leach has never had any other type of accusation of mistreating players. And the sad thing is, all of you have bought into the B.S. that ESPN has fed you!

Mike Leach was fired over money and egos. Plain and Simple. Lubbock, TX (and I should know; it is where I grew up) is a Baptist/Church of Christ/Bible Beating/Good 'Ole Boy type of town. And you are even remotely different or unique, you are a target for outcast. That is a FACT! Not only that, but he was fired 1 DAY before being paid a 800k bonus!! Do you think that was an accident?? I think not.

When Mike Leach was at TTU they had record ticket sales, went to 10 straight bowl games, and expanded the stadium 3 times!!

For those of you who say that Mike Leach doesn't recruit student athletes, well heres' what I have to say about that: Mike Leach puts academics 1st! Always has, and always will. Mike Leach has a PHD himself. He also had the HIGHEST GRADUATION RATES OF ANY PUBLIC UNIVERSITY IN THE NATION!! while he was at Texas Tech!

Recruiting: Texas Tech is/has always been a place for the rejected recruits of Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. (see Wes Welker, etc.) Mike Leach took 3 star recruits and turned them in winners because he teaches total team effort. Then, 4 star recruits like Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell found Tech. If he can do that with reject recruits, imagine what he could do at a place like Maryland! Maryland is capable of recruiting top recruits, even if just by location alone. Lubbock is a hard sale. It is dust and tumbleweed town. Many great players even from West Texas, still choose Texas, and Texas A&M, over Tech.

Most former players speak very highly of Coach Leach. I know one personally. Is Coach Leach a tough coach. Yes. He doesn't tolerate slacking. He holds his players accountable to a high standard of effort. (see the former players'/coaches' supportive emails). Adam James was a self entitled brat who thought he was bigger than the program because of who his dad is.

The fact is: Most Texas Tech Fans were and still are disgusted at what the TTU administration did to Coach Leach. They have continually tried to serve us the Kool Aid. Claiming false season ticket sales and attendance numbers this year. Support has been down and people are not happy. You people don't know how lucky you will be if you get Coach Leach!

Posted by: Stufrogg | December 19, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Maryland would KILL for rejected recruits from Texas and Oklahoma.

The problem is that Maryland is a place for rejected recruits from Penn State, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. Not quite the same caliber.

Posted by: someguy100 | December 19, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I don't like this coach-in-waiting (CIW) nonsense. It gives the CIW incentive to sabotage the head coach. It also give the CIW unnecessary leverage in seeking jobs elsewhere. The CIW isn't bound to the university. It's a unilateral agreement that can only benefit the CIW.

Posted by: randysbailin | December 19, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

If Leach is such a great coach, why is he currently unemployed? Shanahan was unemployed last season and we're beginning to see why. In any other profession, someone who's out of work raises suspicions. Apparently not in coaching. Dan Snyder found Sherm Lewis calling bingo. Maybe Maryland should be looking for its next coach among dealers at a casino.

Posted by: randysbailin | December 19, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

With all the "quotas" being handed out in the DC corridor, I am not sure that wasn't the primary reason why our AD Kevin Anderson didn't get the job in the first place.

His credentials are lacking. And, is pale when compared to his competition, a fellow alum with UC.

-----------

What the AD has done is create quite a stir, and is MAKE NO MISTAKE, will HURT our recruiting.

Posted by: mi6-007 | December 19, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Remember the scene in Ghostbusters where Inspector Peck shuts down the containment unit and Egon signals to the others that everything is about to explode? That about sums up the situation at UMD right now. Even if we get Leach, I bet he is gone in two years. Then it's back to 90's Terps football!

Posted by: aviscardo | December 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Next year we were poised to see regular 50,000+ crowds again at Byrd stadium.

1) With the excitement of hopefully a 9 win season the previous year
2) With the excitement of Danny O'Brien back for his sophomore season
3) With the excitement of great home schedule compared to this year's
4) With hopefully an improving economy

Ralph deserves the credit for next year's attendance boost, but unfortunately now Leach will get credit for that.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

AD Anderson is my new hero! Brilliant move and the timing is perfect to secure the recruits that still want to make MD home. All you nay sayers can still purchase Orange Bowl Tix next year. We won't hold that against you.

Now.....lets move on to Gary!

Posted by: rdondero123 | December 19, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

rdondero123,

I thought you were a moron with your first comment, then I read the part about Gary and that confirmed it.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 19, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

My only question about the Leach situation is, what did Craig James ever accomplish on the football field besides being drafted by the Washington Federals? Getting rid of Fridge and landing Leach is an UPGRADE...

Posted by: iamasofaking | December 19, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

as a maryland grad and terps fan going back to the claiborne era, i 100% agree that this is no way to treat ralph friedgen. that said, i feel the proper place to lay the blame is at the feet of one dr. debbie yow. consider:

- yow signs friedgen to the big contract extension after the 2001 season (the contract that would have expired in 2011)
- yow doesn't offer up money to retain the top assistants (taffe and blackney)
- after paying down the athletic department's debt, yow gets the dep't into deeper debt w/ the byrd stadium expansion
- yow negotiates the HCIW contract w/ JF
- yow goes to the maryland general assembly in an embarrassing attempt to get the money to buy out RF and JF after the 2009 season

i agree w/ the statement that this is an SEC-like move by KA. to put it another way, maryland has the chance to hire a proven division i-a (fbs) winner since hiring jim tatum away from oklahoma in 1947 (after bear bryant's falling out w/ curly byrd). need proof, consider the 3 hires before friedgen:

- loyal assistant that stays behind when the head coach leaves (joe krivak)
- division 1-aa (fcs) 'wunder kid' (mark duffner)
- young division i-a assistant who can talk-the-talk (ron vanderlin) - fyi, he was yow's hire

the only reason yow hired RF was because big-name alum & doners (e.g.; boomer essiason) threatened to pull their donations if she didn't sign RF.

if plank is going to pony up the money to help pull this off: good. for the naysayers, consider the following in response to some of their posts:

- leach is self-serving etc... so's nick saben, think 'bama wants to give him back

- leach won't graduate players... wanna bet? the guy has a phd. take a look at the graduation rates at texas tech during his tenure

- leach will bolt after a couple of years... he stayed at tech 10 years, some of which he was the lowest-paid coach in the big 12

just keep this in mind. the terps were okay the last time they replacced a well-respected head coach in one paul bryant. all one has to do is see the 1953 national champions sign in byrd stadium.

Posted by: ziowa9 | December 19, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

O'Brien came to UMD because of the pro-style offense that Friedgen/Franklin run. NOT spread. Hopefully he's down to ball in Leach's spread O but according to his twitter, he doesn't seem too stoked about it. "West coast/pro-style offense > spread."

Posted by: ToddSchreck | December 19, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Barno, i appreciate Ralph's work, but let's not pretend the fans in general support Ralph. Most fans can look back 6 years and see a mediocre program that had a couple of good years, many mediocre years and a disaster season. the fans will be back last year but were not sold on the turnaround until the end of the year. The program's inconsistency brought season tickets to under 19K, that's the level we had in the 90's while paying Vandy and Duff nothing. It's time to move on...you think anyone in his right mind would offer Ralph more than 2-3 years...what do you do after that? Those are upset have short term memory and are not looking longterm. In fact, most of the fans upset are casual fans who don't know how the program is in a fragile situation.

Posted by: minhle1 | December 19, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

O'Brien came to UMD because of the pro-style offense that Friedgen/Franklin run. NOT spread. Hopefully he's down to ball in Leach's spread O but according to his twitter, he doesn't seem too stoked about it. "West coast/pro-style offense > spread."

Posted by: ToddSchreck | December 19, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Minhe1, it's not pretending, it's a fact. Look at the polls...whenever Prisbell posed the question, a majority of Terps fans voted that they wanted Friedgen as our coach. You can argue that the polls are unscientific, but let's be honest..I doubt too many nonTerps fans are voting on there (other than maybe Petecard). It's scientific enough.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 19, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

My first impression that if Maryland wants to hire Rich Rodriguez, and Leach would appear to be another Rich Rod (or maybe another Spurrier), then fans will be sorely disappointed at how they threw Friedgen in the trash.

Is Dan Snyder running Maryland now?

Posted by: ooyah32 | December 19, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I cant believe people posting that this is a brilliant move by AD Anderson. What a joke. He blew the bowl lobbying and politicing and now he blew letting Franklin go. Anyone with some inginuity and creative thinking should have been able to get Franklin to stay, arrange a pay structure that would have given Franklin the million bucks he would be owed without having to drop it in a single lump-sum, and keep the Fridge on-board for maybe two more years while he completes the turn around of the team and leaves on his own terms and being treated with respect. AD Anderson is way under-impressing at this point.

Posted by: csh1 | December 19, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

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