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Posted at 10:37 AM ET, 12/19/2010

Sources: Maryland to try to hire Mike Leach

By Eric Prisbell

Maryland is expected to try to hire former Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach as head football coach once the school announces Ralph Friedgen’s departure after a 10-year tenure, according to three sources familiar with the situation.

The announcement on Friedgen, who led Maryland to a combined 31 wins his first three season and seven bowl games, is expected early this week. The Web site OrangeBloods.com, which covers the University of Texas and the Big 12 Conference, reported Saturday night that Leach would be Maryland’s next head football coach, according to a “key Big 12 source.”

There is mutual interest between Leach and Maryland, according to three sources, two of whom are close to Maryland and one of whom is close to Leach. Leach is said to be very interested in the job. He has a strong relationship with Kevin Plank, a former Maryland football player who sits on the school’s board of trustees and whose apparel company, Under Armour, is the outfitter for the school’s athletic teams.

When reached on his cellphone Friday, Leach told the Washington Post that he had yet to be contacted by Maryland.

Leach, 49, had an 84-43 record in 10 seasons at Texas Tech, including an 11-2 finish in 2008. His prolific “Air Raid” offense made for high-scoring games and an exciting brand of football, something that could arouse a diminished fan base at Maryland.

In addition to winning on the field, Maryland’s first-year Athletic Director Kevin Anderson is trying to make an attention-grabbing hire to stimulate the fan base, sources said. Season ticket sales have declined for five straight seasons. The school fell more than $500,000 short of season ticket sales projections in each of the past two seasons. And only once this season – despite a successful 8-4 record – did Maryland fill Byrd Stadium to 75 percent capacity.

And despite finishing in a three-way tie for third in the ACC, Maryland fell to the eighth slot in the ACC bowl pecking order in large part because of concerns about how well fans would travel to a bowl game.

Maryland officials have already informed Friedgen, 63, that his career at his alma mater is over as head football coach and have asked him to accept a buyout of his contract, two people familiar with the situation said Saturday.

If Friedgen refuses to retire --- he has repeatedly said he wants to continue coaching beyond 2011 --- the school would have to pay him about $2 million to buy out the remaining year of his contract. As of Saturday, Friedgen had yet to make a decision on whether to accept the buyout offer, one individual close to Friedgen said, and no deadline had been established for Friedgen to make a decision.

Maryland has asked Friedgen to coach the Terrapins in the Military Bowl on Dec. 29, the source close to Friedgen said, but the coach had yet to make up his mind.

Meantime, four Maryland assistants are deciding whether to accept offers to join James Franklin, Maryland’s former offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting, on Vanderbilt’s coaching staff, according to a person with direct knowledge of the offers. Those assistants are defensive coordinator Don Brown, running backs coach John Donovan, wide receivers coach Lee Hull and special teams coach Charles Bankins.
Maryland is making an attempt to try to persuade Brown to stay, a source familiar with his situation said, adding that Brown has a relationship with Leach.

By Eric Prisbell  | December 19, 2010; 10:37 AM ET
Categories:  Football, Ralph Friedgen  
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Next: Maryland to honor contracts of current football assistants

Comments

None of the other colleges looking for a coach would touch Mike Leach with a barge pole. Where is the UM president on this? Leach could well be another Lane Kiffin, and we know how that ended for Tennessee.

Posted by: terpalleycat | December 19, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Friedgen is a successful coach and a class act. Mike Leach is noted for being an unethical jerk who was fired for being overly abusive of players, even by Texas standards. I'm a lifelong UMD fan, but I won't root for the football team if they replace Friedgen with the likes of Mike Leach.

Posted by: ryanem1 | December 19, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I think most people have brainwashed on what to think about coach Leach. Being a former student at Tech, I can tell you most students were-and still are-angry not at Leach, but rather James and the administration for the way the situation was handled. Even the other players said they didn't think Leach was in the wrong. Is he an unorthodox coach? Yes, but he is not unethical.

I may not be educated on the situation with Friedgen but read this before you throw a stamp of disapproval on Leach http://www.redraiders.com/2009/12/29/former-tech-players-support-suspended-leach/

Posted by: bdube | December 19, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Eric - please report something new. You and Steve have rehashed this same report for 3 days.

Leach might have a bad reputation, but he was unfairly hung out to dry by Craig James - the ESPN commentator who was disgruntled because his son was not the superstar he wanted him to be.

I would suggest that the new AD should be open to a few other candidates before making an immediate hire - unless he has already done so under the radar.

Posted by: hurtinterpfan | December 19, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"If you want to win, you hire Leach..."

Sure, if he's coaching in Texas.

People don't understand that college football is all about recruiting. This is not Texas, where football is paramount over everything else.

He's not going to have the same results here he did in Texas....this is not Texas.

I repeat, this is NOT Texas. Mike Leach will not be successful at UMD.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 19, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I think most people have brainwashed on what to think about coach Leach. Being a former student at Tech, I can tell you most students were-and still are-angry not at Leach, but rather James and the administration for the way the situation was handled. Even the other players said they didn't think Leach was in the wrong. Is he an unorthodox coach? Yes, but he is not unethical.

I may not be educated on the situation with Friedgen but I see most peoples judgements on Leach are almost completely based off of a story the media took and ran with, and ended up having to redact. Maryland would be lucky to have him and I honestly would watch Maryland football for Leach. Many of my friends have stated they plan to as well.

Posted by: bdube | December 19, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I voted "no" only because I think the question is posed regarding Leach's "issues." But the fact is I am very concerned, concerned that he hasn't been signed yet. Get it done and do it as quickly as possible. Then open the ticket office. Maryland football is going to be very exciting. This is a very nice Christmas present from Kevin Anderson.

Posted by: petecard | December 19, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I really think Fridge did a good job but when the program's losing money something had to be done and Leach is the guy for the job...He won with subpar players and he will do the same at Maryland except I think he is going to get some big timers which Fridge couldn't do...

Posted by: otiswonsley39 | December 19, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Anderson handled it clumsily, but had no viable options other than the one he took. I hope Friedgen and the administration handle the transition amicably.

I know Ralph is personally crushed now, but the best thing for the players and the school is for Ralph to take the high road, beat the stuffing out of ECU, keep Don Brown and the commits, etc.

I'm concerned about Leach not signing, too. The other candidates were laughable. Someone like leach or Harbaugh will fill the seats and sell the suites. Petecard is right - hire'em and open the ticket office.

Posted by: RITerp | December 19, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Best wishes Coach Friedgen.

Despite the fact, that I may have critized your offense in the past... I think you are a class act. And, frankly deserved to be treated better by Univ. of Maryland!

Pesonally, I wish we get another candidate who has strong ties with Maryland, better yet if he is an alumnus.

I have suggest Frank Reich for that resason. He is the QB coach with the Colts, and has a strong character. He has won some incredible games both at college and at the NFL level.

As mentioned in my previous posts, I am NOT sold on Mike Leach. There was good reason why he was fired from Texas Tech.

I want our university to get someone who is a proven winner, and who knows how to build a great progam with good ethics.

I want someone who is a recruiting STUD, and who can help Maryland get the players to compete consistently with the top 10 programs.

Mr. Athletic Director (who I am not sold on either), the spot light is on you. Let's see how and what you can deliver.

Posted by: mi6-007 | December 19, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

How about some details on the buyout with Fridge? This is essentially the same story that has been out there for 2 days...Is the school offering him $2M to retire? Why is this something Fridge has to think about? If the offer is to retire with $500k or let us fire you for $2M, take the money.....It is in everyones best interest to make this as amicable as possible and Fridge should definitely be given an appropriate send off...not something that makes it look like he is being run out of town...it would be nice if MD gave him one of the luxury boxes as well

Posted by: TerpfanMA | December 19, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Go to www.youtube.com, search "Mike Leach" and decide for yourself. There are plenty of clips to choose from.

Posted by: msindc27 | December 19, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

As Maryland graduate, I plan tomorrow to write to Governor O'Malley's office and call for an investigation of this mess. I hope that other outraged alums will join me. Anderson lied about Ralph's status and should be fired. I also want to know what role Loh, who strikes me as weak and ineffectual, had in this. I don't think President Mote would have let this happen. As long a Anderson is AD I will never, ever attend another Maryland football game.

Posted by: AmoryBlaine1 | December 19, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

If the Terps do not land Leach or someone of a real high profile this will be in incredibly stupid move. I'm hoping this is not a Bob Wade type move. With the Terps academic standards that previous coaches have dealt with, including Gary Williams, it will be interesting. Strange move and even stranger timing. What are they going to do if Fridge tells them late next week that he will not coach in the bowl game?

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | December 19, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

If the Terps do not land Leach or someone of a real high profile this will be in incredibly stupid move. I'm hoping this is not a Bob Wade type move. With the Terps academic standards that previous coaches have dealt with, including Gary Williams, it will be interesting. Strange move and even stranger timing. What are they going to do if Fridge tells them late next week that he will not coach in the bowl game?

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | December 19, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love how Petecard is positioning himself as Kevin Anderson's number 1 fan now. He sees that most Terps fans are infuriated by Anderson, so he takes the position that Anderson is great. That's Petecard for you, always without fail trying to be the contrarian.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 19, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

We don't need fans like you Amory. But writing the governor seems like a good use of your time. Good luck with that!

Posted by: petecard | December 19, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Petecard, it's "fans" like you we don't need--those obsessed with turning Maryland into a football factory at any cost. Be careful what you wish for; ask any USC fan. By the way, Petecard, if you don't have any connection with the university, you should mind your own business.

Posted by: AmoryBlaine1 | December 19, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Ralph won 6 more games to losses in his last 7 years. He should have be fired 3 years ago.

Posted by: nyx567 | December 19, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

AmoryBlaine is trying really hard for the intellectual role on the board here. Despite the nice Fitzgerald reference, you're a tool dude. Good luck writing Gov. Carcetti

Posted by: jpfterps | December 19, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Amory, I do have a connection as a Maryland graduate and long time supporter. What is your connection? Are you related to Fargo? Do you set the rules for WaPo as to who has the "right" to post on this board? Why the "1" after your name. Don't tell me there are two people with that name...

Posted by: petecard | December 19, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I am not a Terp fan.... yet! I hope that Maryland hires Mike Leach. You guys will be so lucky if you do.
Forget about what you've heard through the grapevine or various media outlets, because they are only perpetuating the lies surrounding the termination of Mike Leach at Texas Tech.
There is an active PR smear campaign that is being utilized by the James family. This is the same PR firm that brought about the Swiftboat incident.
Mike Leach is a great coach. Leach WILL energize your fans... as well as your community.
To all you Maryland Terps... Leach will rock the house, so you better get ready!
Hire Mike Leach so we can get this party started!!!

Posted by: Chef4U | December 19, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"This is the same PR firm that brought about the Swiftboat incident."

You lost all credibility with this statement. You really think a PR firm "brought about the Swiftboat incident." Give me a break.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 19, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Horribly worded question. I'm not quite clear what is being asked.

Posted by: DocHolliday1906 | December 19, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

AmoryBlaine1, I hope you aren't lying when you say you won't be attending anymore football games, we don't need or want people like you there.

Posted by: TheTruthReallyHurts | December 19, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Horribly worded question. I'm not quite clear what is being asked.

Posted by: DocHolliday1906 | December 19, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. It couldn't have been worded any worse. Not the first time this has happened with these confusing polls.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 19, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm not convinced that what happened at Texas Tech wasn't just sour grapes on the part of a disgruntled parent, but I'm also not sure we should be willing to give Leach the benefit of the doubt. I would be surprised if the administration endorses this since they had such a big problem with students saying the word "sucks." If they really wanted to improve their image then why bother with a possibly unethical coach?

Posted by: crabcakes | December 19, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

The "truth really does hurt" and it's this: when your self-esteem depends on Maryland being a national football power, then you need to get a life.

Posted by: AmoryBlaine1 | December 19, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

it's amazing how uninformed so many of these posters are. They know about 10% of the information about Leach and are posting comments like they do.

Posted by: minhle1 | December 19, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I am very annoyed. I am a fan of Anderson's handling of the football program so far but apparently it's unanimous that he is in over his head. What happened? I thought I had an opinion?

Posted by: epdaly | December 19, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I just wish that the entire Friedgen thing could not be played out in public...would be be better if Ralph and Anderson could have negotiated the deal and then announce it.

But the Terps need some kind of change to bring the fans back to Byrd. Ralph brought excitement to the program in 2001. Attendance increasEd steadily, and the Terps were very competitive. But overall, the last 7 years have been mediocre, especially in the ACC, with 4 minor bowls in that period.

Terps need a exciting, winning product on the field to bring the fans back. If they can get Leach, fine, because he is a proven head coach. His offense, with Danny O leading it can be quite exciting. Keep Brown as the "D" coordinator and the team will be a ACC title contender.

Ralph should be proud of his accomplishments. Terp fans should also be proud that he was one of us, and gave the best he could. He bled red and white, and I thank him for resurecting a dead program and wish him the best going forward.

GO TERPS !...and THANKS RALPH.

Posted by: johnbecka | December 19, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

epdaly, you're always a little slow to understand these things but this one is very simple: those that are season ticket holders, terp club members, and/or live in this area are the ones who are furious with Anderson. The very few who are perfectly happy with the way Friedgen has been treated by Anderson are those that live elsewhere and don't own season tickets.

For whatever reason, local MD fans see things very differently, not just on this issue but on a lot of issues, than those who live elsewhere. You can argue that your point of view is better all you want, but there is no deny there is correlation between where you live and how you see Terps issues.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 19, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

If UMD wants clean football, then Leach is not the way to go. Just like the Military Bowl, Anderson has screwed up. Loh needs to step in and fix this mess.

Posted by: funInSun52 | December 19, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the local fan issue. I don't know of anyone who thinks this was handled well, that said, As a 25-year season ticket holder and and MGN and Terrapin Club member, I would say that at least half of us wanted a change made and wanted it made last year.

Posted by: Phillip258 | December 19, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Leach to MD is a done deal.. Good move and Ralph should focus on the University for once instead of himself and his woe is me outlook. Take the buyout and show class like the coach from West Virginia when they decided he was not the guy to take them forward. It happens and live with it. Ralph has several more years than he likely should have had as coach and should've been replaced several years ago (when Harbaugh was on the market)..

Posted by: leed191195 | December 19, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I will just say this and I have been a Maryland fan man hole life, The issue with Maryland football is there inability to keep Md, Northern Va and DC's best players staying home to play football. You can have a successful program if your best players are at Penn St. Florida, FSU, Illinois I can go on and on. And from those who say this isn't Texas football, We have two of the top 20 high school football programs in the country Dematha / Good Counsel. Take a look at past players from All Met that are in the NFL now. Dematha has more player in the NFL than ANY other high school in the Country

Posted by: pikedawg | December 19, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

pikedawg: son... your hole life??? really???? Work on your grammar and spelling a little bit. I don't think the comment about "this isn't Teaxas football" was meant to be a shot at the quality of football being played around here, it was more a comment about Leach not being familiar with the area and may have problems recruiting.

Posted by: Phillip258 | December 19, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Leach had the highest graduation rate of any Big XII school and went to a bowl game every year. Other than James, I don't remember any other player accusing Leach of any wrong doing. Leach was fired 3 days prior to an $800,000 bonus so, I think, the Tech administration had a good reason to get rid of him (Leach was not a 'good old boy' that West Texas likes but he also filled the stadium and had sport fans outside the state of Texas talking about Tech).

btw, did you know Craig James' kid got ZERO interest from any FBS school other than Tech?

Posted by: lighthouseboy | December 20, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

We don't need Under Armour to be decision maker. Take your out of fashioned clothes out of Maryland. We don't need your rags imported from Asia . Buy Nike instead . Take your money home to run your own business.

Posted by: pthang | December 20, 2010 4:51 AM | Report abuse

Read this article about Leach . It will tell you about Leach personality.
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/bowls09/news/story?id=4776848

Winning is nice but not the end of the world
It is about the care and love of your football players, your sons in the Maryland family .Leech can win at Texas but he won't at Maryland. The coach does not win game. It is the players who actually play the game, WIN the game .
Am I witnessing the waste of Md taxpayer money on sports rather than on state higher education for our children ?

Posted by: pthang | December 20, 2010 5:24 AM | Report abuse

Where is the president of the university during this circus?So,we get one candidate and one candidate only?Because....he needs a job!?He promises to be ringmaster and fill the seats...."and then the heavens will open up,light will beam down....".I think I've heard that before and look what's happened.They better do a thorough backround check on this Leach guy.I'm hearing he has some cracks in his armor.

Posted by: worcsterguy | December 20, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

I laugh at the people who are threatening never to attend Maryland games because Ralph has been poorly mistreated. BOOHOO. Calling the governor is another line. Fact Maryland's football fan attendence is in decline so if you don't go you join a long list who stopped going when RF was the coach. As near as I can figure Maryland lost a $1,000,000.00 the last two years. Open up your checkbook to replenish the losses. Ralph will get well over a million dollars in his buyout I figure. It takes me 11 years of working to come close to that. Call the Governor thats a laugh the state has other issues that are more pressing then a football coach.

Posted by: MARKHAGNER | December 20, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I like Ralph Friedgen but the fact of the matter is you can all act like he deserved better but you didn't support the team the last few years for whatever reason. That is the bottom line. So while the masses stamp their feet and declare they won't attend any more Maryland games, you weren't going anyway. And what's even funnier is that if Mike Leach makes the Terps an ACC power those same people will be saying they were behind the move all along.

Posted by: ouvan59 | December 20, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm disappointed with the clumsy manner in which Anderson and the university have handled this situation.

Friedgen bore responsibility for recruiting and coaching the games. The stupid decision of the university to construct luxury suites which they can't rent/lease isn't, in my opinion, one that can be dumped on the Fridge. As I recall the former AD at Maryland was behind that effort.

Is Kevin Plank now calling the shots at UMCP? That's certainly the impression that the WaPo's coverage is giving.

I suppose Gary Williams should start watching his back now. Anderson will probably be gunning for him next.

Posted by: sanderling5 | December 20, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

pthang: Surely, by now you should be able to figure out that anything ESPN says about Leach is suspect. It is defending an analyst who played for one the biggest cesspool football schools in the history if the NCAA. A school where backup players were getting $20,000 to play there and to this day, a star like Craig James denies ever getting a penny. What a joke. When you take time to read the court papers, there appears to be two distinctly different views on what happened to James' son. I'm surely not defending the activity that has been reported on ESPN, but I have read lots of supporting comments from the Tech players and former players and something doesn't add up. I also see where Leach had a better graduation rate that Ralph did and has a large number of coaches who he coached against and coached with contradicting the image painted by ESPN. Yes, Texas Tech did fire him and I would think that they wouldn't have done that with some evidence, but when all is said and done, it seems like it ignored an awful lot of testimony from folks who viewed the incident differently than Craig James. It hasn't helped that a number of witnesses, including James' son have changed their testimony; some more than once.

Posted by: Phillip258 | December 20, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Lets make Anderson stand in a dark shed until he comes to his senses. Why do we want to bring this stain to UMD football? Friedgen has done a lot of good at MD - keep him as long as he wants to coach!

Posted by: DontGetIt | December 20, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Maryland will be publicly certifying that that they have no principles, by hiring Leach.

Posted by: Durham2 | December 20, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Friedgen was paid millions of dollars to coach. His salary was many times that of a lowly professor, and was based on bring in big bucks to the university. Fair or not, he was paid, and judged, on the basis of essentially running a business, not teaching students (if it'd been the latter, he would not be rich now). Hiring a new coach will be a business, not an educational, decision.

Posted by: Sutter | December 20, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Finally, someone with some common sense,,well said Mark Hagner.....

"I laugh at the people who are threatening never to attend Maryland games because Ralph has been poorly mistreated. BOOHOO. Calling the governor is another line. Fact Maryland's football fan attendence is in decline so if you don't go you join a long list who stopped going when RF was the coach. As near as I can figure Maryland lost a $1,000,000.00 the last two years. Open up your checkbook to replenish the losses. Ralph will get well over a million dollars in his buyout I figure. It takes me 11 years of working to come close to that. Call the Governor thats a laugh the state has other issues that are more pressing then a football coach."

Posted by: cm88 | December 20, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

pthang,
I agree, Nike apparel is superior to Under Armour. On average UA is 10-20% more expensive, they have more obnoxious logos, much more obnoxious commercials and a slogan that we have inherited, and their stuff is not nearly as comfortable imo. Interestingly, I think UA is a relevant connection to the way this whole thing is being handled.

However, you are incorrect when you said MD tax dollars are paying coaches salaries. Fortunately, they most certainly are not.

Posted by: tomfoley1 | December 20, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

BTW, the ones that are saying they will never go to a game, never forgive, etc...are probably the same people that said they will never forgive Mike Vick,,,the leading vote getter now for All pro. Funny how quickly fans forgive when teams win.

Posted by: cm88 | December 20, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I really hope all you Mike Leach bashers out there stay off the bandwagon when he takes Maryland football to a whole other level. The fact is the players and students at Texas Tech did and still do love him. If the guy can win at Texas Tech, he can win at Maryland. He will fill seats and generate excitement about Maryland football, which hasn't happened in College Park since 2003 lets be honest. If you are happy with the reputation our program and developed lately of no-show fans, then keep your mediocre way of thinking to yourself.

Posted by: ams1986 | December 20, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Craig James played for the most corrupt college football program in history at SMU. He has seen it at its worst. And no doubt has some skeletons of his own. And if JAMES says Leach is bad, he must be TERRIBLE!

Terps are doomed. Bringing in a high profile coach to sell tickets is exactly what the Redskins have tried to do over the last decade. That's worked out well.

Posted by: Effyeahterps | December 20, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

AmoryBlaine,

Once youre finished writing that letter to Mayor O'Malley, write one to Ralph to- you can ask him why he only one 2 games last season. Ask him why he let his lawyer go public with a request for a contract extension, hastening the departure of James Franklin, and thus his own demise. Ask him why seaon tickets sales came-up $500,000 short. Kevin Anderson's job is to do whats best for the program, and when he looks at the financial report and sees the numbers, sees the empty seats, and unsold mezzanine boxes, he should be concerned. When the bowl selection process overlooks the Terps, it only served to reaffirm and confirm what he was already well aware of. Ralph did a great deal for the football program, but there really does come a time when change is needed. Kevin Anderson had the courage to do it now, which is the right time, rather than hold-on, and dig a deeper hole.

Posted by: asnis715 | December 20, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"As Maryland graduate, I plan tomorrow to write to Governor O'Malley's office and call for an investigation of this mess. I hope that other outraged alums will join me. Anderson lied about Ralph's status and should be fired. I also want to know what role Loh, who strikes me as weak and ineffectual, had in this. I don't think President Mote would have let this happen. As long a Anderson is AD I will never, ever attend another Maryland football game."

I'm an alum and am far from outraged. Ralph did this to himself. Good riddence

Posted by: JDB1 | December 20, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

All right, I guess I'll weigh in on this mess. I think it's just disgusting the way that this has been handled. I do see what Anderson is looking at from his perspective. He had a huge weight lifted off of him when Franklin bolted for Vanderbilt, and Fridge was the only obstacle in the way from getting "his" guy into the head coaching position, especially if boosters are willing to fork over some extra dough to cover the buyout of Fridge's last year. These are not moves that could have been made at the beginning of the season because of Franklin's status and the timing of Anderson's hiring (just before the start of the season). I'd really like to know if Anderson had sat down and spoken with Franklin and/or Fridge to discuss his future plans for the program. We seem to only be getting Fridge's side, but he's the only guy that talks every week through press conferences. Only recently have we heard from Anderson, but even with his limited comments, this seems to have been a unilateral decision by him to transform the football program, and he was lucky to be able to initiate these plans a year earlier thanks to Vanderbilt. That would explain why he didn't counter Vandy's offer and just let him walk. It's clear Anderson did not appreciate being saddled with the CIW tag, but it did seem he was going to be on board with allowing Fridge to continue to coach the team in 2011 and beyond. Maybe it was the begging in the press for raises and an extension, maybe it was the home attendance, maybe it was the bad bowl game, or maybe it was a booster stepping forward to give him the weapons necessary (money) to bring in a "game changer," but it seemed that something changed in Anderson's view of Fridge between the NC State game and now. He came around to a number of lot 9 tailgates just before the NCState game, and he seemed relieved when fans where happy with his decision to announce that Fridge would be back in 2011. It's very possible that Anderson made that statement knowing all along that he had no plans of giving Fridge an extension beyond 2011, but to publicly state a successful coach is returning the following year does suggest that an extension would be in the works.

It's very sad the way Fridge has been treated through this entire ordeal, and to put the kids through this certainly doesn't help Maryland's image in their eyes or the eyes of prospective recruits. The athletic department looks like a bunch of fools that can't make up their mind what they want, and at the most important time of year for recruiting, you have to believe that this class of recruits could be one of the worst Maryland has seen in over a decade, and even the great Mike Leach won't change that. This mess also comes at a time when a team has been assembled that could legitimately challenge for the ACCCG over the next 3 years. A coaching change will certainly eliminate one of those chances.

Posted by: Russtinator | December 20, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Texas Tech grad here, just wanted to give my two cents. Those of you worried about Mike Leach being unethical or running a dirty program, you are way off the mark. Not once in ten years was Tech under investigation by the NCAA for any wrongdoing, and we were just coming off probation when he was hired and under the NCAA microscope. If he did anything wrong, we would have heard about it.

He graduates over 70% of his players, those that didn't want to go to class found themselves sitting at a desk at the 50 yard line studying during a West Texas windstorm. If you didn't go to class, you didn't play and you got the message real quick that you were going to study and graduate.

His whole firing was handled poorly and was pushed by influential boosters that wanted him gone. Leach always put his name out there for higher profile jobs to help his contract negotiations and the AD and boosters did not appreciate that. He didn't kiss the right butts and he didn't play golf with the right people and it cost him his job at Tech.

Leach will absolutely fill the stands because his teams will always be competitive and fun to watch. When he first started at Tech in 2000 I could show up to a game at kickoff and pretty much choose where I wanted to sit. By the time he was gone the stadium was full an hour before the game. He'll take average talent and beat better teams, especially in the ACC. Ask Wes Welker if he would be as successful in the NFL if it weren't for Leach.

His press conferences will not wow you, he is not the best public speaker, but don't confuse that with a lack of intelligence. He has a Masters from BYU and a law degree from Pepperdine. If he is hired, go to a meet and greet, get him away from the press and just sit around a table and talk to the guy, he is a fascinating character.

Mike Leach put Tech football on the map nationally and I will always be grateful for his time and his refusal to suffer fools. In the education minded Northeast, you will appreciate him and he'll bring good football back to Maryland...just make sure you have a solid D-Coordinator in house. :)

Sorry for the long post, I'm just a huge Mike Leach fan.

Posted by: sleastacks | December 20, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

This is just another sign of the downgrading of the entire ACC in it's endless pursuit of the football dollar. The conference has expanded too far, too fast. Schools have had to chase tainted coaches - ask UNC how Butch Davis is working out for them? And now Maryland dumps a good guy and a quality coach for a guy they know has a tainted record. For all the Leach defenders out there, answer one question - why would Leach NOT understand that ANYTHING that happened with the way he handled James would become a big deal? Seems either very short sighted or incredibly arrogant to me.

Posted by: FulhamDC | December 20, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

For all the Leach defenders out there, answer one question - why would Leach NOT understand that ANYTHING that happened with the way he handled James would become a big deal? Seems either very short sighted or incredibly arrogant to me.
__________________________________________

Arrogance - you bet. Leach didn't handle it right but he was being railroaded, it was his reputation on the line, of course he fought back. He still has litigation pending against the school and ESPN. Craig James was mad that his name didn't get him more face time with Leach. There are witnesses that testified that James would call Leach, wanting to talk about the offense and his son's (Adam James) involvement.

I have no idea what happened with the shed, but I promise anyone that has played HS or college football has been treated worse. Other players around the program have said Adam James was a diva that thought the rules didn't apply to him because he was Craig James son.

Posted by: sleastacks | December 20, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

For all the Leach defenders out there, answer one question - why would Leach NOT understand that ANYTHING that happened with the way he handled James would become a big deal? Seems either very short sighted or incredibly arrogant to me.
__________________________________________

Arrogance - you bet. Leach didn't handle it right but he was being railroaded, it was his reputation on the line, of course he fought back. He still has litigation pending against the school and ESPN. Craig James was mad that his name didn't get him more face time with Leach. There are witnesses that testified that James would call Leach, wanting to talk about the offense and his son's (Adam James) involvement.

I have no idea what happened with the shed, but I promise anyone that has played HS or college football has been treated worse. Other players around the program have said Adam James was a diva that thought the rules didn't apply to him because he was Craig James son.

Posted by: sleastacks | December 20, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I hope that if I ever get paid $1 million dollars to leave a job that I wasnt over-performing in, that alllll of you will feel very sorry for me and my poor family, since I was treated soooo aweful and that my life and my childrens life is ruined and I deserve so much more.

Do you now realize how stupid you all sound??????????

Posted by: cm88 | December 20, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Somehow, getting a coach who is currently entangled in a few lawsuits sounds like a mistake, even if he has the Under Armour seal of approval.

Who's running the athletic department at UMD anyway? Kevin Plank?

Posted by: Benson | December 20, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

won 2 games

Posted by: asnis715 | December 20, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

...now onto our new head coach, and there doesn't seem to be any dispute that he is Maryland's new head football coach, because he's been reported as calling high school players from around the country to come to Maryland (good to know the Terps are ready to sling mud with the best of them and collect violations just as fast as Lane Kiffen). Mike Leach is considered the offensive genius, and he's going to "wow" fans with his amazing scheme. He coached at a school in Texas with access to the best players in the country in a successful program in one of the best conferences in the nation. How many NFL QBs did he develop? 1 (Kliff Klingsbury), maybe 2 since Graham Harrell just signed onto the Packers' practice squad. How many NFL WRs/TEs did he develop? 2 (Carlos Francis who played a couple of years with the Raiders and Michael Crabtree) How many 1st round draft picks has he had? Just 1, Michael Crabtree. That's with all of the players in the state of Texas in your back yard to pick from and his high-falootin' double-barrell shooting, high-powered offense. The best player he developed was a wide receiver that's pretty much known for just that one catch. Fridge has had 3 first round draft picks (Merriman, Davis, and Hey-Bey), and maybe a 4th if Torrey Smith goes into the draft and does well at the combine, and the list of pros in the NFL is 3 times what Leach ever produced at Texas Tech, despite Fridge's suppsed poor-recruiting and "mediocre" on-field results. There are a half-dozen players on 2 NFL rosters less than 25 miles from College Park, and there aren't too many teams in the NFL that don't have a Fridge-coach Terp on their roster. Add to Leach his history that lead to his firing at TTU and the fact that not a single other school in the country has even dropping him a line since he was canned indicates to me that he's poison. Whether or not anything comes of the allegations against him, it still doesn't change that fact that he was relegated to being a color analyst on CBS College Sports, and not a single other university with a vacancy was going after him, even a bunch of BCS school (WVU, Pitt, Miami, etc...).

As fans we really don't have much say, unless of course we have Kevin Plank's checkbook, but I'm definitely not happy about this move. Not only was it done in a very distasteful manner, but the change is going to ruin the chances of success next season, and I just don't think ther Terps are getting an upgrade. You would have to wonder what record Fridge would needed this year to get an extension. Did he need to make the ACCCG, or did he need to make the Orange Bowl to secure his future. It's a sad day for Maryland football, and I hope that Gary is not the next to be shown the exit.

Posted by: Russtinator | December 20, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Arrogance - you bet. Leach didn't handle it right but he was being railroaded, it was his reputation on the line, of course he fought back.

Why was Leach being railroaded? By whom? The school because of an $800,000 bonus due him - which some on this board have mentioned. By ESPN? He never had a kids father call him before about playing time? Maybe not a guy from ESPN, but how about a huge booster? Maybe Adam James was a diva, it's entirely possible, but you've got to know what your going to have to deal with when you bring the kid in there in the first place.

Posted by: FulhamDC | December 20, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Could I just suggest that this might be a complete waste of $2M for an AD who can't stand to have any of his wins credited to a coach that he didn't hire.

Between age and long-term record, there is little reason to extend Friedgen's contract. There is also little reason to fire him after a successful season. This whole thing stinks of an AD who simply must have his precious spotlight and is unconcerned with any damage to the program as long as he gets it.

Instead of pointing figures at coaches, let me be the first to insist that the real problem is the new AD. Wait till he spends every year trying to kick out the most wildly successful basketball coach Maryland has ever had, while pointedly ignoring the amounts he pays multiple problematic football coaches to churn through the position.

Posted by: the_other_wumpus | December 20, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

This new AD and Mr. Under Armour know full well the future of MD fball is bright thanks to the foundation that Fridge built.

What they don't seem to appreciate at all is that we are not a Mike Leach or a Nick Saban or a Vince Lombardi away from taking this program to the "next level" as they say. The AD and Mr. UA need to realize that no college football team in a huge metropolitan area is capable of this "next level". Can you think of one? THIS IS NOT A COLLEGE FOOTBALL TOWN AND THEREFORE WILL NEVER ATTRACT ENOUGH SUPERSTAR RECRUITS WHO WANT TO BE THE ONLY SHOW IN TOWN like Norman, Tuscaloosa, Gainsville, Blacksburg, Columbus, etc.

BTW, just a little side note AD and Mr. UA. Look for Ralph to take his brilliant mind to VaTech, seriously. Oh, and look for him to take ACC ROY Danny O'Brien with him -- who apparently wants nothing to do with Mike Leach's gimmicky spread offense.

Posted by: tomfoley1 | December 20, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Bravo for going after Coach Leach! A Md. alum living in Texas I have followed Coach Leach's career. Intelligent man, law degree formally, he is dynamic and a great coach. He did not get access to the top talent in Texas until he was consistently winning 9 or 10 games a year, but even then it was difficult to get them out to West Texas (TX Tech, Lubbock). The 4 & 5 star recruits went to Univ. of TX, OU, LSU, etc. You still have to have the best talent to develop a pro quarterback. He won with the players that UT, OU, etc. did not want - and he came back and beat them. Stanford has proven a school can have great Academics and a great football and sports program.

Posted by: dallasal10 | December 20, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I hope that if I ever get paid $1 million dollars to leave a job that I wasnt over-performing in, that alllll of you will feel very sorry for me and my poor family, since I was treated soooo aweful and that my life and my childrens life is ruined and I deserve so much more.

Do you now realize how stupid you all sound??????????

Posted by: cm88 | December 20, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I haven't read any comments about how Fridge's life is ruined or his children's life are ruined or anything of that nature. But that's certainly a great way to win a debate: invent a position no one took and then tear down that position.

As far as the million or two dollars Fridge would receive, it's interesting you presume money is the only thing that matters to Friedgen. Judging from how emotional he has gotten after big wins (and losses) over the years, I think it's safe to say he cares a lot about Maryland football and its players. But as long as you give someone a big check, it's okay to treat them like dirt? Hmmm...I think that tells us all we need to know about you cm88.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 20, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Leach's tough love

A source close to the family said James sustained a concussion on Dec. 16, was examined on Dec. 17 and told not to practice because of the concussion and an elevated heart rate. The source said Leach called a trainer and directed him to move James "to the darkest place, to clean out the equipment and to make sure that he could not sit or lean. He was confined for three hours."

--------------------

The Fridge is getting pushed out for THIS GUY?????

Posted by: Benson | December 20, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Barno, since you are the obvious world class person and business savvy intellect on this board, please explain to us, why Fridge is being treated like "dirt"? Lets see, he is being paid millions by our school and is going to bowl games no one cares about, does not compete for BCS bowls, and doesnt really compete for lowly ACC titles, and is losing fans and money in ticket sales. But since we fired him and are giving him millions to leave, we should feel sorry for him and the University of MD obviously treated him like dirt? I really hope you never run a company or any org that relies on sound financial decisions.

And yes,,,if you give me $1 million dollars, I would pick up and leave the area and not be a MD Terps fan ever again, I guess I have my price :) Poor rich ralphie.

Posted by: cm88 | December 20, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

We have to remember that a lot of these Leach enthusiasts are probably young,have always had mom and dad take care of them,have played countless hours of video games,don't understand you should run the football in a real game,expect instant success as soon as the man arrives on campus(good luck with some transfers out),voted for Barak Obama(blindly)and think eastern football is the same as Texas shootem and fill in the gaps on defense.Defense?You mean we have to play that part of the game,too??

Posted by: worcsterguy | December 20, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Barno, since you are the obvious world class person and business savvy intellect on this board, please explain to us, why Fridge is being treated like "dirt"? Lets see, he is being paid millions by our school and is going to bowl games no one cares about, does not compete for BCS bowls, and doesnt really compete for lowly ACC titles, and is losing fans and money in ticket sales. But since we fired him and are giving him millions to leave, we should feel sorry for him and the University of MD obviously treated him like dirt? I really hope you never run a company or any org that relies on sound financial decisions.

And yes,,,if you give me $1 million dollars, I would pick up and leave the area and not be a MD Terps fan ever again, I guess I have my price :) Poor rich ralphie.

Posted by: cm88 | December 20, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

So I guess by your philosophy, the Bucs should fire Raheem Morris, the Jags should let Jack Del Rio go, and the Falcons should can Mike Smith. All three are coaching winning teams that are vying for playoff spots with non-sold out home stdiums. Coaches should be judged for what the get on the field. Joe Paterno couldn't have filled Byrd Stadium after last season's 2-10 record. Who are you kidding in thinking that a coach is single-handedly responsible for butts in seats. The Terps would almost assuredly had near sell-outs for all 8 home games next season thanks to the success of this season and the efforts of Fridge. Fans have come out to support him in the past, and they would have come back to support him next year with a team that was a lock to challenge for a BCS bowl. Forget that now. Next year is lost with a next HC, new offense, and likely a new defense and a slew of transfers.

For all those Ralph haters out there, Leach's record does not start counting until 2014, because if Fridge doesn't get credit for 2001 through 2003 because you think he won with Vanderlinden's players, then Leach does not get credit for his first 3 years playing with Fridge's players. By that time, ACC defenses will have figured out his offense, and will have gotten some sort of NCAA violation and Maryland football will be right back where it was in the 90's.

Posted by: Russtinator | December 20, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Russinator, actually I am not a Ralph hater. He did a great job turning our program around, but now has struggled for a while. Point is, I dont feel sorry for him, he was paid millions and did a good job. Now we have an opportunity to get someone new to hopefully take us to the next level. Sorry but it is a business and if you cant see that, then you can stay in LaLa land where everyone gets to keep their jobs forever no matter how they do. This is not Ralphs only avg year, he has been doing avg for a while, we just want better. Good luck to Ralph, but dont feel bad for the guy, he will have plenty of MD money to fill his big ole belly :)

Posted by: cm88 | December 20, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Barno, since you are the obvious world class person and business savvy intellect on this board, please explain to us, why Fridge is being treated like "dirt"? Lets see, he is being paid millions by our school and is going to bowl games no one cares about, does not compete for BCS bowls, and doesnt really compete for lowly ACC titles...

Posted by: cm88 | December 20, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

cm88,

You make a patently false claim that Ralph 'doesn't really compete for ACC title' and you expect people to take you seriously? In his 10 years at MD, 6 times the Terps have had a chance to win the ACC all the way up til their final home game of the season.

6 out of 10 years buddy. This is "not really competing"?

You are out of your mind.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 20, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Russinator, actually I am not a Ralph hater. He did a great job turning our program around, but now has struggled for a while. Point is, I dont feel sorry for him, he was paid millions and did a good job. Now we have an opportunity to get someone new to hopefully take us to the next level. Sorry but it is a business and if you cant see that, then you can stay in LaLa land where everyone gets to keep their jobs forever no matter how they do. This is not Ralphs only avg year, he has been doing avg for a while, we just want better. Good luck to Ralph, but dont feel bad for the guy, he will have plenty of MD money to fill his big ole belly :)

Posted by: cm88 | December 20, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

It isn't about money for Ralph. He could be an OC for pretty much any NFL team right now, and get a salary similar to what he's getting to be a HC at Maryland. It's about being a Terp, and Ralph was instrumental about bringing what it means to be a Terps back to Maryland. He brought back the 80's logo, he brought back the Terp Walk, he interacted with fans, and he developed a slew of talented players, many that play on Sunday, and successful men. He did not want to leave this team when it is on the precipice of being "great," and sadly, fans are going to give the next head coach credit for what Fridge has done over the past two years, especially last year's painful season. Sure, he struggled for a while over the past few years, but even the greatest coaches go through lulls with injuries, lost assistants, recruiting gaps, etc... I think the decision to bring Fridge back in 2010 obviously financially driven, and I don't think many would have complained if it had happened at the end of last year. However, you choose to bring a guy back, and then further endorse him near the end of this season, and he delivers the 2nd biggest turnaround in FBS this season, and this is how you treat him?

Anderson basically said in no certain terms that Fridge's goose was cooked when his contract ran out next year anyway, so all of the hard work he put in this year, the long hours of working with kids, recruiting the future of Maryland football, was for NOTHING. This season should have earned him the right to see this current freshman class through, and if he couldn't get an Orange Bowl birth out of this, then he would probably hang them up. I'm really disappointed that Anderson wouldn't give Fridge the chance to see this through, and now Maryland fans have to start over again with a new coach, new scheme, new players, and a really tough schedule next year, Terp fans should be ready for a slide (4-8 is not out of the question depending on the coach and players that stay).

I just hope all the fans that are excited about this move come back to this day 4-5 years from now when Anderson is announcing a new football head coach, because this team is going back to the 90's if Leach is the supposed "answer." Does the name Mark Duffner ring a bell?

Posted by: Russtinator | December 20, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Minor Correction to pokedawg statements about number of NFL players from Dematha.
As of 2010 Dematha is not number one but tied for 5th place with 14 other high schools with 4 players each (Eleanor Roosevelt in Greenbelt being one of them).
This point is well taken because this region has a good number of current NFL players
(ie Virginia - 50 and DC 7)

Posted by: RFRBoy2 | December 20, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

HIRE A GUY THAT WAS FIRED FOR ABUSING AN INJURED PLAYER. THAT IS INTEGRITY FOR YOU. KEVIN ANDERSON AND THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES ARE FULLY QUALIFIED TO BE POLITICIANS IN THIS STATE.

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Posted by: goodlucky82 | December 20, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

As a general proposition in life, only a head case would hire another head case.

Posted by: BlanketyBlank | December 20, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

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