How many Maryland football assistants will stay on board through the Military Bowl?
Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson said Monday that he has met with the football team's current assistants twice since Friday and that they have pledged to coach the Terrapins through the Military Bowl on Dec. 29. For clarity's sake, Anderson was asked to declare exactly how many assistants he expected to stay with the team through that date.
"Right now," Anderson said, "each and every one of them. Except James Franklin."
However, multiple sources familiar with the thinking of several Maryland assistants contend with that claim. Sources said that, for at least some of the assistants, locking down new gigs in the coming days would lead to immediate departures from the Terrapins.
The school announced Monday that the contract of Coach Ralph Friedgen would be terminated effective Jan. 2, meaning unemployment may soon await those assistants that cannot secure new jobs in the coming days. While Anderson said he would not mandate that the program's next head coach hire any of the assistants currently on staff, he will ask said coach to "take a good look" at the assistants currently on staff.
"They will get high accolades from me to the new football coach," Anderson said. "But it will be (his) decision."
Franklin, formerly Maryland's offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting, was announced Friday as Vanderbilt's head coach. Franklin has offered Maryland running backs coach John Donovan the position of offensive coordinator on his new staff and has asked Maryland special teams coordinator Charles Bankins to join the Commodores in the same capacity, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
Franklin also has shown interest in Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown, as well as Maryland wide receivers coach Lee Hull, the source said.
A Maryland team spokesman said Friday that Donovan would call plays for the Terrapins during the Military Bowl. However, should Donovan become Vanderbilt's offensive coordinator in the coming days, Hull would be a strong candidate to assume play-calling responsibilities for Maryland during its Military Bowl appearance, according to the source.
The potential for such a mass exodus of assistants from the Maryland coaching staff was one reason Anderson stated as to why he decided to terminate Friedgen's contract now, rather than bring Friedgen back for the final year of his deal. Anderson justifiably felt as though hiring a quality offensive coordinator and other quality assistants for only one season would have been nearly impossible.
Whether Franklin took the Vanderbilt job or not, Anderson made two things clear Monday: 1) He was not going to offer Friedgen an extension, and 2) Franklin would not have been a sure bet to succeed Friedgen as the program's head coach following the 2011 season.
Anderson said his intention, prior to Franklin's departure last week, was to open a national search for Maryland's next football coach at the conclusion of next season. Franklin -- who under the terms of his coach-in-waiting contract at Maryland was guaranteed $1 million if he was not named the program's next head coach -- would have been a candidate for the position, Anderson said, but he would not have been given the job automatically if he stayed. Anderson said he told Franklin as much in recent weeks.
"That decision was his," Anderson said.
Franklin elected to take the Vanderbilt job, which accelerated Friedgen's departure from the program he has led for the past 10 years and which may lead to a shortage of assistants left to coach the Terrapins against East Carolina a week from Wednesday.
| December 21, 2010; 7:01 AM ET
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