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Posted at 7:56 PM ET, 12/22/2010

Ralph Friedgen expects to have full staff of assistants at Military Bowl

By Steve Yanda

To say that the past three days have been stressful for Ralph Friedgen would be a dramatic understatement.

On Monday, Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson announced that Friedgen's 10-year run as the football program's head coach would conclude with the Terrapins' appearance Dec. 29 in the Military Bowl at RFK Stadium.

Also on Monday, running backs coach John Donovan – who was chosen to take over play-calling duties from former offensive coordinator James Franklin after Franklin became Vanderbilt’s head coach Friday – informed Friedgen he would not be able to participate in the bowl game, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. Donovan, the source said, is expected to become Vanderbilt’s offensive coordinator.

Donovan and special teams coach Charles Bankins – who also is expected to join the Vanderbilt staff – traveled to Nashville, Tenn. on Tuesday to meet with Franklin. It was then, the source said, that Franklin consented to both Maryland assistants coaching the Terrapins in the Military Bowl. Donovan and Bankins returned to Maryland on Wednesday.

Uncertain of the whether he would be short two assistants for the final game of his tenure at Maryland, Friedgen showed up at the team’s headquarters at 4 a.m. Tuesday to study the game plan. He worked through lunch and did not leave until 7:30 p.m.

Friedgen said it has not yet been decided who will call Maryland’s plays against East Carolina. He said the responsibility either would fall to him, Donovan or wide receivers coach Lee Hull.

Or, Friedgen said half-jokingly, he may just let redshirt freshman quarterback Danny O’Brien – the ACC rookie of the year – call the plays. O’Brien said Wednesday he had no plans to transfer from Maryland, despite the coaching change.

But, with Donovan and Bankins now expected to coach the Terrapins in the Military Bowl, Friedgen said he expects to have a full staff of assistants to help the team prepare for the game.

"We’ll have everybody but James," Friedgen said.

By Steve Yanda  | December 22, 2010; 7:56 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: Ralph Friedgen wants to coach next season


Well, you have to give everyone credit for this, starting with Ralph. My guess is that this team will be sky high to give him the right send off, a big victory. The other coaches should be commended as should Franklin. And let's not leave out the AD, who said this would be the case. Go Terps!

Posted by: petecard | December 22, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

The AD is a jerk and has no part in this. He remains a pariah and should be held in low esteem by everyone in Terp nation.

Posted by: Terps85 | December 22, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Md comes in with a farewell to the Fridge. ECU comes in with a 6-6 record having given up over 130 points to Navy and Rice.

Terps 80, ECU 35.

After the game, Ralph flips the bird to KA on the way out of the stadium (or maybe that's something I'd like to see)...

Posted by: ecglotfelty | December 22, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Fridge fan, but I don't think of the AD as a jerk. I think he means well, and did what he thought he had to do. He might eventually be proven wrong (or not), but that doesn't make him a jerk.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | December 22, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Hope Ralph overcomes his surly nature and over looks the inept way Anderson behaved. Taking the high road will cement his legacy and demonstrate his affection for this team. He made a contribution to this program and elevated it from obscurity. I hope that is how he is remembered.

Posted by: RITerp | December 22, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Agree with pete. This is a signal of folks working together for the one last hurrah. Interesting that KA said that this was the way it was going to happen.

I mean, I still think KA is a jerk and made the wrong decision on Ralph (though I understand it a bit more now) but I might be dead wrong on both counts.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | December 22, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey Yapping-Blowhards: where are the apologies for calling John Donovan a classless, sc*mbag-coward on yesterday's message board??? I guess you have Steve Yanda to blame for making you bear false witness against your neighbor right before Christmas! You people are a disgrace. Think before you post you mindless terrapin herd.

Posted by: poguemahone777 | December 23, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Just another chapter in the sad history of Maryland major college sports. As one of the largest state universities in the nation, located in one of the top media and sports markets in the nation, and within reasonable driving distance of a huge chunk of the USA population, we have continued to be mediocre in men's football and basketball except for a couple of out-of-the-ordinary seasons. Maryland men's basketball had that one great NCAA Championship year, and some decent ACC titles (but we rarely won the Tournament in those years we were ACC regular season champs). We will have another OK season (apparently) but in a conference which is way DOWN in talent and quality this year (other than Duke, the rest of the ACC looks pretty sorry thus far). Men's football? The first 3 years (when Fridge coached the Vanderlinden recruits) were terrific... and then the same-old, same-old. I still remember that disastrous Orange Bowl appearance. I had a ton of my friends over for a reall special party and to see the game.... what a waste of time and money that was. Since then, more yawns than excitement on the football field. This year's 8-4 record overlooks the fact we still don't win the really "big" games and manage to let some wins get away in the end. I have seen Ralph making excuses on TV so many times for the team's failures it's depressing. Top it off with the "tidy bowl" to which this 8-4 team has been "invited," and I can hardly feel sorry that the Fridge era ends. You make the "big bucks" in major college football to produce CONSISTENT winning seasons. What we got, instead, for the $2 million/year was consistently mediocre performance. I do wish this had been handled better, and I am not at all impressed with the new AD (can someone get Yow back, PLEASE????). So Maryland football and men's basketball -- the really important money sports -- will continue to sputter along and with it those empty season-ticket seats at Byrd Stadium. There are way too many good choices to spend my time and money today than sign up and pay major $$$ for an inconsistent and -- frankly -- often second-rate product. When Maryland finally gets its act together (will I live long enough?), the fans and alumns will be back. We are just tired of being patsies and sold a bill of goods year after year. God bless Fridge and his family for running a clean program, but certainly he understands that the overall product under his leadership has failed to live up on the field to the compensation being paid him.

Posted by: 1972Terp | December 23, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

@RITerp - have you ever met Coach Friedgen in person? "Surly" is a pejorative that I would not use to describe him. He can be caustic at times - usually with justification. That is more his personality than the way you choose to describe him. He is down-to-earth and pulls no punches. He wears his emotions on his sleeve. I don't believe that qualifies as "surly".

Posted by: LeeM9308 | December 23, 2010 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Pete - the AD said the staff would be paid through the length of their contracts. He did not say they would coach the Bowl together as a staff. He may have hoped that, but at this point to make that happen was beyond his control. Franklin allowed this to happen. Ralph welcomed them back. The AD was an interested bystander, no more.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | December 23, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

Hey Pogue. So why is it that you're reading a mindless Terrapin blog in the first place? I'm sure you have much more important things to do in life. Go cure cancer, or maybe spread peace throughout the world. Allow us our small enjoyments. We realize we can never aspire to your true greatness.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | December 23, 2010 2:20 AM | Report abuse

1972Terp, you sound like a real joy to be around... While it's true that the football program has been mediocre for the past few seasons and needs a shot in the arm, you make it sound like Maryland athletics is a waste of time. I have really enjoyed some exciting games and big wins from both the basketball and football teams throughout the years. How about coming back to beat Clemson a couple of years ago on a last second field goal? Or defeating #8 Cal at Byrd? Or topping #1 UNC in basketball on their home floor? Or beating Duke last year in hoops to take a share of the regular season ACC title? Or Danny O'Brien's four TD passes against NC State? If you want to walk around with a black cloud over your head, go somewhere else. I want the Terps to win more consistently and bring home championships too; but even when they come up short, they usually give me something to cheer for, and I look forward to game days.

Go Terps!

Posted by: SmittyATL | December 23, 2010 5:31 AM | Report abuse

Let's go and support Coach Friedgen, his coaches, and his young team to a final Friedgen victory here. Anderson's legacy will be in his own hands and I'm sure he will be accountable for his decisions. The rest of us will be left wondering if Maryland would have been a top 10 national team in the next couple years if Ralph had been allowed to finish his work here. And whatever new coach they get will have whatever success they have with Friedgen's and Franklin's team. Coach Friedgen came into a program that barely had a pulse and he leaves it much better than it was. That looks good on anybody's resume. If they hire the litigious Leach it will be fun to watch the local media and fans respond to his very different coaching style. Somehow I think Ralph will be missed greatly, much like we long time fans missed Bobby Ross, that is until Ralph arrived. Thanks to Coach Friedgen Maryland enjoyed football success that had disappeared after Boomer left back in the day. Common thread was Ralph Freidgen, Coach. I will also watch the bowl attendance numbers with interest to validate the reason Maryland dropped so low in the pecking order, despite a 9-4 record by the end of the year.

Posted by: bfjam | December 23, 2010 7:15 AM | Report abuse

I tip my Terps hat to Franklin down south-thanks,dude.This experience can only benefit coach Donovan by being the OC for one game before he tries it at Vandy.I think the players will respond as smoothly as they can under this latest arrangement;the goal is to win the game,not just Ralph's farewell.Thanks,James Franklin,and I appreciate your service at Maryland.I did'nt mind if you were the next HC; but,that arrangement did bother me some.Merry Christmas all involved.

Posted by: worcsterguy | December 23, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

These things are never "handled well" when the coach digs in his heels. If Fridge had been better that a .500 coach the last 8 years, he would still be the coach. The opinion that Fridge can now be a consistent success (especially w/o Franklin) is just nostalgia over 2000.

Posted by: kieran2001 | December 23, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Short term looks bad for the Terps. Long term looks good. Anderson had his hands tied somewhat. With the Fridge in a lame duck year and no "coach in waiting", who (that is really anything) would come to MD to be one of Fridge's coaches? The answer is NOBODY.

So let Fridge go and take his nice parachute money and either sit at home or get another coaching gig.

The real decision is whether Anderson has the skills to hire the right person for the next coach. Coach has to be a great recruiter as well as a "x and o" guy.

Go Terps.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | December 23, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Hey LeeM: If it wasn't obvious, the "yapping blowhards" and "mindless herd" are the sanctimonius posters who attacked and disparaged a coach's character and reputation without knowing the full story of what was going on behind the scenes yesterday. There was/is no disrespect meant to the thoughtful Terps fans who discuss the state of their program here on the board. But if "small enjoyments" include character assassination and ignorant bloviating, well then that's pretty sad.

Posted by: poguemahone777 | December 23, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Hey Yapping-Blowhards: where are the apologies for calling John Donovan a classless, sc*mbag-coward on yesterday's message board??? I guess you have Steve Yanda to blame for making you bear false witness against your neighbor right before Christmas! You people are a disgrace. Think before you post you mindless terrapin herd.

Posted by: poguemahone777 | December 23, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abu

..or maybe it was only because of these mindless posters that these "coaches" changed their minds and did the right thing.

Posted by: bobilly1 | December 23, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

1972Terp, except for the part about bringing Yow back and not supporting the university until we have consistently top programs in FB and BB, many of us agree with you. We are sick of the mediocrity. But we also want our teams to do well and we support the school. I am among the few here that believe we are turning a corner (or trying hard to) with our new AD and President. They have stepped up to the plate with this decision. I don't care if it may be more about money to them (although that is certainly not what they are saying) as long as whatever they do is equated with winning. Winning a lot and on a consistent basis.

Posted by: petecard | December 23, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Pete - the AD said the staff would be paid through the length of their contracts. He did not say they would coach the Bowl together as a staff. He may have hoped that, but at this point to make that happen was beyond his control. Franklin allowed this to happen. Ralph welcomed them back. The AD was an interested bystander, no more.

Posted by: LeeM9308

Lee, Here is Yanda's post from 12/21.
What part of this is wrong? I heard Anderson say it at the press conference.

"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."

Posted by: petecard | December 23, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse


WOW, I cant believe I am writing this but that is a really negative post even by my standards...I am sure your Orange Bowl party was a blast even if it was a waste of money..wish I coulda been there with your ton of friends...yikes....when you find a college who has gone undefeated in Football and Basketball over the last 3 decades, please tune back in and let us know

Posted by: TerpfanMA | December 23, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

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