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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 12/17/2010

What James Franklin's departure means for Maryland

By Eric Prisbell

Over the past three months, you’ve heard the first-year athletic director say he is not a fan of coach-in-waiting plans. You’ve heard the 10th-year head coach say he tells high school prospects that he plans to coach for the majority of their college careers, even though his contract expires in 12 months. And you’ve heard exactly no one at Maryland say James Franklin is likely, expected or guaranteed to be named Maryland’s head coach in January 2012. Without the ironclad promise, Franklin this week did what no one else has been willing or able to do to date: he single-handedly untangled Maryland’s 22-month-old coach-in-waiting mess.

Franklin on Friday is expected in Nashville, Tenn., where he will be greeted as Vanderbilt’s next head football coach at 2 p.m. He'd rather start rebuilding at arguably the most challenging BCS-level job in the country than live in uncertainty as an OC in College Park, co-existing with a head coach who wants the same job he covets in 2012. Throughout this process, Franklin impressed Vanderbilt officials in two in-person interviews, including one in which his wife was present. He had been a favorite of David Williams, Vanderbilt's vice chancellor for athletics, for a few years because of his ability to articulate a strong vision for a program. This Franklin-to-Vanderbilt announcement was expected early in the week, shortly after long-shot Gus Malzahn, the Auburn coordinator, deflated Vandy fans by withdrawing from negotiations. But Franklin's negotiations lagged largely because Franklin’s tough-as-nails agent, Neil Cornrich, battled tooth and nail, a source close to Franklin with detailed knowledge of the offer told me. Franklin won't get the $1 million owed to him had he stayed at Maryland and not been named head coach by January 2012. Instead, he will obviously get more than that by going to Vanderbilt for the 2011 season. I was told the initial offer amount on Wednesday night, and it was good --- about what you'd expect for Franklin in his first head coaching job --- though certainly not Gus Malzahn's reported $3 million good. More relevant, the source said that the hold-up was largely because of stop-and-go Vanderbilt-Franklin negotiations and had little to do with a significant counter offer by Maryland. If there was one, multiple sources familiar with the step-by-step process of this labored job search were not aware of it or did not disclose even the general nature of it to me. And so Maryland loses its best recruiter, a charismatic, work-in-progress offensive coordinator and its coach-in-waiting.

In the coming weeks, there will be Maryland fans thrashing about concerning potential recruiting fallout. There will be immediate interest in whether Franklin lures any Maryland assistants to Vanderbilt with him; two sources said Thursday that Franklin offered one Maryland assistant a position, and one of the sources with direct knowledge of the offers told Steve Yanda that four Maryland assistants have been offered positions. But with Franklin’s departure, the larger issue will quickly come into focus at Maryland: a referendum on Ralph Friedgen. With Franklin out of the way, we will soon find out exactly how much love AD Kevin Anderson has for the 63-year-old coach. For 22 months the question at Maryland has been: Friedgen, Franklin or none of the above? With Franklin stepping out of the equation, the question now becomes: Friedgen or an outside hire? Who is best equipped to lead Maryland’s football program after 2011? The coming months will speak volumes about the direction of the program and the vision of Kevin Anderson, who has three options, all of which come with risks:

1) Bring back a lame duck Friedgen:
In the view of some, this could be the most damaging of the options. Friedgen clearly wants an extension, and feels he deserves it after winning his second ACC Coach of the Year Award. Maryland will be poised to challenge for the ACC’s Atlantic Division title next season. But if you bring back Friedgen to enter the 2011 season as a lame duck coach, opposing schools will have a field day negatively recruiting against the Terrapins. And if Friedgen does not choose to promote from within (running backs Coach John Donovan would be the likeliest internal candidate to replace Franklin), landing an attractive outside hire with so little guaranteed beyond 2011 would be difficult. If Friedgen did not prove his worth this season, is there something more he needs to do next season, with essentially the same cast of players, to prove it? How can you really improve on an ACC coach-of-the-year season? And if you know Friedgen is not your man for the future, is it worth potentially sacrificing a recruiting class to save the $2 million you would need for his buyout right now?

2) Extend Friedgen’s contract a year or two: Clearly, Friedgen would like to be extended more than one year --- perhaps through the 2013 season – if he is telling high school prospects that he plans to coach them in college for the majority of their college careers. If you believe Friedgen can win on the field – and this season showed many that 2009 was the anomaly --- then the question that remains is whether he can re-energize a diminished fan base. Few were surprised that the fan base took a wait-and-see attitude in 2010 after a 2-10 season that nearly cost Friedgen his job. More alarming, at least to me, was that Maryland could not sell out the critical, season-defining prime-time game against Florida State. A lot of that has to do with season ticket sales; it’s difficult to overcome a low total with single-game ticket sales. After 10 years with Friedgen, will the portion of the fan base that left, that canceled their season tickets, return for a promising 2011 season? If not, Maryland again faces the prospect of falling all the way to the eighth slot in the ACC bowl pecking order if it does not win the division.

3) Fire Friedgen: There are fans dreaming of HC Mike Leach, QB Danny O'Brien and WR Torrey Smith in 2011. The most drastic option (firing Friedgen now) is not the most probable one, but it is a possible option that some prominent boosters prefer because they feel he has maxed out at Maryland. For this to occur, you’re asking Anderson – a well-respected man of his word, by all accounts --- to go back on his word; he announced on Nov. 18 that Friedgen would return in 2011 and that the two would sit down after the season to talk about the program’s future. You’re talking about spending $2 million to send the ACC coach of the year away after an eight-win (at least) season. If you wanted this outcome, you could have done it without the Nov. 18 guarantee of a return. Is a big-splash hire really out there? A realistic one? Are you willing to pay for one? Would a coach with quality division I-A head coaching experience come here? Would you pay enough to even have a shot at a top-notch coordinator when the best and the brightest (see Gus Malzahn, Auburn) are reportedly now getting close to $1.3 million per season?

Or did your best bet for the future just board a plane to Nashville, unimpeded?

Whatever your view, after a drama-filled week that further divided an already divided fan base, the focus now turns to Anderson, who is charged with charting a course for a program that, for better or worse, just saw its coach-in-waiting untangle the coach-in-waiting mess.

By Eric Prisbell  | December 17, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Football, Ralph Friedgen  
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Next: It's official: James Franklin to Vanderbilt

Comments

Extend Ralph for 3 years. Bring in a younger OC (thinking of UMass's HC or OC...hello Don Brown). That sets up continuity and a likely replacement for Ralph. I don't think recruiting will fall off too much. A couple of recruits might bail.

Posted by: WheelsRI | December 17, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I think one of the issues that could make option 3 more plausible is if Franklin is able to snatch up a few assistants from the current staff to go to Vanderbilt.

If he takes guys like Brown, Seamonson, Hull, etc, it's a lot easier to justify just starting over.

The LAST thing Anderson can do is get sucked into extending Friedgen long term at a bad number and allowing him to rebuild his staff if Franklin raids it. That is a disaster in the making.

Posted by: JTerp | December 17, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Can him now. I have less faith in the A.D who got snookered in the bowl selection process. The declining attendence, poor alumni support. A program in financial diffculty. Do I believe that they will come up with the money to pay for a coach. No! I truly believe they will extend Ralph's contract and probably give him raise. Maryland football will die a continual slow death.

Posted by: MARKHAGNER | December 17, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Stay the course. Let him work through his final year of the contract and earn an extension. Will it be easy? No. But he doesn't deserved to be fired and he hasn't earned an extension. Two key factors: 1) Our only quality win was vs. NC State (don't even mention Navy) and 2) the fan base has voted with attendance issues. Here is Ralph's challenge and it's a fair one. Win the bowl game. Hold your staff together and bring in additional coaches to fill in the gaps if necessary. Get off to a good start next year. If Ralph thinks that's unfair then he has the option of negotiating an early departure. Anderson needs to take a firm long term view of where the football program is headed.

Posted by: petecard | December 17, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Petecard, although I 1st voted for extend now. Look, what Prisbell and the Post have failed to report, is that ALL of this has been brought to you by Debbie Yow, former AD. At least one story on this. What to do now? Since Anderson has endorsed Ralph through 2011, and Franklin is gone, you have made your bed, at least through 2011. If recruiting suffers in short term, so be it. I am OK with either approach - wait a year (let Ralph make case for extension in bowl, 2012, and in negotiations, or short extension for reward. Question for Anderson and Ralph @ age 63 is how long does Ralph really want to coach and how long does Anderson want to keep him? Competition and Wash Post for wanting to create drama and sell papers will continue to plant the uncertainty factor for recruiting. Anderson needs to publicly end uncertainty. That's why I voted for a short extension. Waiting til end of 2011, continues the uncertainty, but Anderson either does not know enough now to make the long term - i.e. he really does intend to consider Friedgen beyond 2011 or he does know enough. Since he personally supported Friedgen with his through 2011 statement, unlike Yow who never really supported her two revenue-producing head coaches, then he needs to support him once he has made that decision.

Posted by: jyl1st | December 17, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I think it was a mistake letting Franklin go - they should have incented him to stick around until Ralph steps down. And I do think ralph should coach for at least two more years, maybe three. The team is on the upswing right now, and its the current group of coaches that have any chance of keeping the star players around and not leaving early. Its dissapointing not to hear that UMD was trying to keep Franklin around - it seems like the AD is getting schooled again.

Posted by: TerpInTime | December 17, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

How do you hold the staff together if there no contract extension beyond 2011? Franklin or virtually any other BCS team is going to be able to hire any assistant from Maryland that they want because they can offer more stability. Likewise Fridge is not going to be able to hire any new assistants that have offers from other BCS schools. The coaches left will be the assistants nobody else wants. Recruiting would be impacted significantly as well if no extension or change is made. I think now Maryland has to either extend Fridge or make a coaching change. If Franklin had not left, the decision could have been delayed until next season.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 17, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

You cannot have a lame duck coach in college athletics, unless his name is Joe Paterno or Bobby Bowden. While Fridge is one of the longest tenured coaches in the nation (top 15 I think), he doesn't have the kind of clout and history of winning championships to allow him to recruit without any additional years on his current contract.

Anderson cannot afford to take the wait and see approach, or 2012 through 2015 is going to be a return to the 90's. If he's not comfortable with Fridge, he should toss him now, but if he likes him, and the announcement that he's coming back in 2011 would suggest that he does, he needs to sign Fridge through at least 2014. It's possible that Anderson could negotiate a more lucrative buyout for the school, but this is something that must get decided by the first two weeks of next year.

Posted by: Russtinator | December 17, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

jyl1st wrote,

"what Prisbell and the Post have failed to report, is that ALL of this has been brought to you by Debbie Yow, former AD."

I dislike Yow as much as anyone, but I am not sure how she can ben blamed for this. The Head Coach in Waiting contract did not get Franklin the job. Franklin impressed the guy running their athletic department from when both were at Kansas State.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 17, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

TerpinTime wrote,

"I think it was a mistake letting Franklin go - they should have incented him to stick around until Ralph steps down. And I do think ralph should coach for at least two more years, maybe three."

The only way Maryland was going to retain Franklin was to ensure that he was going to be the Head Coach by 2012. Franklin wanted to be Head Coach and was not going to decline a BCS Head Coaching position to wait several years to get a chance.

Posted by: Chief2 | December 17, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I think they should extend Fridge for one more season with a University option for 2013. That gives a little stability to the program but, gives them an easy out.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 17, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Just a comment on the reported $3m/year Vandy allegedly offered. That's not the full truth. He was offered a contract that COULD reach $3m/year if he hit certain incentives. It was not $3m guaranteed, a big difference. Not that anyone cares, but the incorrect details have been reused by every media source and casual readers have been led to believe something that is not entirely true.

Posted by: whoyawith | December 17, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Petecard hits the nail on the head. I can't see how you fire Ralphie after a good bounceback year, but he's certainly not earned an extension yet. Recruiting might suffer for a year but it's not like Franklin and pals were bringing in a top 25 class each year.

No chance a top-flight OC/recruiter sees the potential for advancement after Ralph leaves, whether that's in a year or in three years?

Posted by: caphillterp | December 17, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

For those who are downplaying and poo-pooing the potential recruiting disasters (losing the top recruiter and uncertainity going forward) better not in two-three years start complaining about the recruiting efforts.

One bad recruiting class because Fridge is a lame duck and we're back in 5-7, 4-8 land and none of you will be pleased.

But then again, Maryland fans are NEVER pleased...

Posted by: CapsNut | December 17, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Few things: Why would any assistant coach leave UMd for Vandy at this point? Terps are on the upswing and will most likely win a much weakened ACC next year. Almost all the QB's in the league are gone (Parker, Ponder, Taylor, Wilson, etc.). Vandy is where coaches go to die. I say extend Fridge three years. Franklin will likely have been fired by then and can come back to coach at UMd if we still want him. As for our OC, I say Fridge takes over the role for a year until Locks gets fired by NM at the end of the year.

Posted by: aviscardo | December 17, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Can anybody tell me if Ralph is a good head coach? He started well with someone else's recruits. I don't know if Ralph is a good coach or has benefited from the skills of others. Franklin was his recruiter for his current team and now he is gone and maybe the rest of the staff. I am sad that Maryland seems to to consistently be behind the power curve. Who has ideas of how to get this team back on a consistent track. We will need a head coach who like Franklin is young and good to build a program. Any constructive ideas--anyone??? JSG, Maryland-1965 grad

Posted by: eagle13356 | December 17, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Can anybody tell me if Ralph is a good head coach? He started well with someone else's recruits. I don't know if Ralph is a good coach or has benefited from the skills of others. Franklin was his recruiter for his current team and now he is gone and maybe the rest of the staff. I am sad that Maryland seems to to consistently be behind the power curve. Who has ideas of how to get this team back on a consistent track. We will need a head coach who like Franklin is young and good to build a program. Any constructive ideas--anyone??? JSG, Maryland-1965 grad

Posted by: eagle13356 | December 17, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I wish Coach Franklin well, although 2, 2, 7, 5, 4, 5, 2, 2, 2, and 2 3 wins these past 10 years does not bode well for him. Getting waxed year after year in the SEC will take its toll on his career IMHO.

Posted by: terptek | December 17, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I wish Coach Franklin well, although 2, 2, 7, 5, 4, 5, 2, 2, 2, and 2 wins these past 10 years does not bode well for him. Getting waxed year after year in the SEC will take its toll on his career IMHO.

Posted by: terptek | December 17, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Ralph won COY of the ACC, but that is not like COY of the SEC. The driving factor in all of this is that Ralph has a half empty stadium, pissed off local high school coaches, and worn out his welcome with big boosters. Will that sell seats next year? If not, change is needed so for now the safest option is to extend 2 years with a nominal payout. No offense to Ralph, it's the nature of the business these days.

Posted by: NFTerps | December 17, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

What needs to happen is to get a young, successful offensive co-ordinator with a passion for recruiting to come in for next year(oh yeah, we had that already) and make him a deal to become the HC in 2012. No head coach-in waiting deal, he will be the head coach. Tell Ralph seeya, thanks for the memories, appreciate the success you have had here but we don't think you are the guy to have us compete year in and year out for the ACC title.

Posted by: kaptainterp | December 17, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"Can anybody tell me if Ralph is a good head coach? He started well with someone else's recruits."

How many times do people have to be proven wrong on this absolutely idiotic myth to stop repeating it?

Scott McBrien
Josh Allen
Dominique Foxworth
Shawn Merriman
D'Qwell Jackson
Randy Starks
Adam Podlesh
Vernon Davis
Stephen Heyer
Andrew Crummey
Joe Condo
Rich Parson
Josh Wilson
Madieu Williams
Derrick Miller
Wesley Jefferson
Dre Moore

Ralph Friedgen won with THESE guys his first 3 seasons. NONE of whom were signed by Vanderlinden. Nearly all of them made it to the NFL. This does not even include many great recruits from 2004-present.

But go ahead, keep repeating the lie that Fridge won only because of Vanderlinden's recruits. Eventually some people will believe it.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 17, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Eagle...

For the final time: At least someone won with Vanderlinden's "talent".

Ralph has sent more recruits to the NFL than Vanderlinden. MD is tied with FSU for second in the ACC with most former players on NFL opening day rosters. I think MD has 39 in the NFL.

Something tells me many of those were Ralph's players not Vanderlinden's. I mean, Ralph's only been here 10 years.

Is he a good coach. Yes. One of the best in MD history and ranks in the Top 10 in ACC wins on the all-time ACC coaching wins list. 2X ACC COY and 1X National COY.

Extend him 3 years. If he wins next year and beyond, the financial situation improves and MD has the ability to buy him if things turn bad. My guess is Ralph coaches 3 years and retires (announced at the start of the 3rd year). DOB is gonna win Ralph many games.

Posted by: WheelsRI | December 17, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

And obviously Friedgen should be extended a minimum of 3 years. He'll get his extension in the upcoming days and the morons who called for him to be fired will finally shut up.

Here are the facts:

-Ralph Friedgen's teams have gone 74-50 while the three previous Terps coaches went a combined 45-98.

-Friedgen has a .640 winning percentage in his first 100 games as coach while the previous 3 coaches went .360 over 13 years.

-Since Fridge took over we have gone to 6 bowls including several major bowls, and gone 4-2 in those games including Fridge's teams winning 4 out of the last 5 w/ a combined score of 151-73 favoring MARYLAND.

-Before Fridge got here, Maryland had been to just 1 bowl in the previous 15 years, and had won just 4 of their last 14 bowl appearances.

-Attendance has skyrocketed since Friedgen's arrival, with 20 of the top 25 crowds in Byrd Stadium history occurring on his watch. The Terps stadium has been totally revamped with a $50,000,000 expansion thanks to Fridge's success, the field naming rights sold for $20,000,000, and 8,000 additional seats.

-Since Friedgen arrived, there are 27 former Terps currently playing in the NFL. This is good for second in the ACC, surpassed only by Miami (which should not even be included in this stat since they joined the ACC only a few years ago).

-Friedgen has won 2 ACC COY awards and was the consensus National COY. He placed in the top 3 in COY awards a whopping 5 times in his 10 years at Maryland.

But yeah, he hasn't earned an extension...right? Baaahahahaha!

I can't wait to see what the idiot haters have to say when Fridge gets extended.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 17, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, he has gone to 7 bowls in 10 years, not 6. And before people claim that's only because of the proliferation of bowls in recent years, that is not why we have gone to 7 bowls. The only questionably bowl year was 2007 (when we beat 2 top 10 teams and shut out Nc State 37-0 on their field to claim bowl eligibility)...the rest would have been bowl years in the 90s as well.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 17, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Fargo, Ralpho, Garo making his own case... for mediocrity. Glad he isn't the AD.

By the way, Fargo, the term "hater" applies to you. It is defined as those who cast personal dispersions at others and behave as if their own opinions are the only worthy opinions. They have an addiction to Koolaid.

3 years? That would be crazy but I wouldn't put it past our administration. 1 Year we could live with...

Posted by: petecard | December 17, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The 1st question you have to ask is who else is out there? You can also ask, whose out there that wants to coach at MD? For MD to really put football on the map they'll need to do 3 things.
1. Upgrade the facilities, you want to compete with the big boys, you need to look like them, not a D-II school.

2. Get the alumni on board. All major programs have deep pockets.

3. Once you have done 1 & 2, then you can go for a big name coach or a top assistant with a real offer.

Once you have done those 3 steps, you can start acting like a major program, until then, MD is a basketball school.

Posted by: Toochilled | December 17, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

First off, I don't think our AD got "snookered" in any bowl decisions. AD's don't have any say in how the bowls choose teams. It was just an unfortunate set of circumstances and the perception that Terps fans won't travel.

Ralph won COY as the CEO of MD Football. That doesn't mean he himself can still be an effective head coach. He was this year, with the current staff.

If I were in charge I'd look into the entire state of the program.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | December 17, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Seems like to me that Friedgen is a lot better than the Post makes him out to be.

Franklin worked out fine, but nobody should be losing any sleep over his departure. He's more of a sales guy than anything else. They'll be needing a real coach at Vandy.

Posted by: Benson | December 17, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Pete...do you work for a living? Are you a manager? Do you understand strategic planning at all? You've got such a micro view that you miss the big picture.

Without an extension, Ralph can't get a good OC. He can't recruit. The whole system shuts down. MD will start losing next year if there's no stability in the program, and that starts with the HC. It starts a reinforcing cycle of negative outcomes. Do you not see that, or are you too in the grips of your sniping at Barno that you won't concede the obvious?

As someone stated above, if you don't extend him now, you might as well fire him now. Otherwise, you're making sure he won't succeed next or beyond. It's a pretty easy decision from financial, coaching, and recruiting perspectives.

Man up and stop clinging to your point just because you want to "beat" Barno. I'm beginning to think you don't want MD to succeed.

Posted by: WheelsRI | December 17, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"Whoops, he has gone to 7 bowls in 10 years, not 6. And before people claim that's only because of the proliferation of bowls in recent years, that is not why we have gone to 7 bowls. The only questionably bowl year was 2007 (when we beat 2 top 10 teams and shut out Nc State 37-0 on their field to claim bowl eligibility)...the rest would have been bowl years in the 90s as well.

Posted by: Barno1"

Barno - u da man - many looking for a school that pays mid-range dollars to its coaches for a revenue PRODUCING football program to produce top 20 results year in, year out are delusional. If Fridge was not an alumnus, he would have been scooped up by another big BCS school years ago - do not kid yourselves fans. Fridge needs AD Anderson's support to find extra booster dollars to get a high quality OC. Get it done new AD, new Prez, and State of MD! Stop cutting the school's budget!

Posted by: terptek | December 17, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

WheelsRI - new Prez Loh and new AD Anderson better connect on strategic planning by getting the dollars for Fridge to hire a top up and coming coach for OC. And yes, I agree with your support of the extend now or buy out now. No good leaving our Alum Fridge hanging at this point. Barno's provided stats warrant at least a two year extension IMHO. AD and Admin - And take care of Frdige's remaining staff a little bit better while you're at it too, or else you risk letting the entire football "house" fall - You Must Protect Our House!

Posted by: terptek | December 17, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Wheels...In all fairness, I think it is your view that is shortsighted and overly concerned about next years recruiting...to be fair, at some point in the next 10 years we are going to face "Ralphs last year", and all the ramifications that come with it, correct?

A strategic thinker looks out over the next 5 , 10 years and plans how to build and incrementally improve a program with a coaching staff...If he feels Fridge is that long term guy then fine...but if not, and you have Fridges contract expiring next year, why not use that as an opportunity to make a change and get on the new track??

Clearly nobody on here knows what is going on in Andersons head, and some folks have pointed out some of the good things over Fridges 10 years (and to be fair, there have been many)...on the other side there are also concerns about Fridge too which may make it likely that he is not Andersons long terms choice.... In the end it will come down to Andersons view of Fridge and if he is really growing/improving the program or just treading water....either way, what happens with next years recruiting class will be down the list

Posted by: TerpfanMA | December 17, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"If I were in charge I'd look into the entire state of the program."
Posted by: BrokenClipboard

-Good Point Clipboard. Let's look at the entire program from the past 30 years. I will not belabor the stats and history (we all SHOULD know them to speak on a somewhat educated level), but a close look shows what Barno supported with the stats. Keep our Loyal Alum Fridge (who could have gone elsewhere after his first 3 years at UMD) for at least a 2 year extension w/o a crazy buyout (thereby maintaining some resemblence of continuity), and then evaluate where the program is at two years from now. If this happens, I have a hunch many skeptical fans will be surprised and impressed. I like how our team looks, and with a finally healthy OL, some non-bad luck injuries like 2 years ago, our guys may again surprise.

I will never count Fridge out. I'm a former Westchester guy like him :)

Posted by: terptek | December 17, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

If Fridge was not an alumnus, he would have been scooped up by another big BCS school years ago - do not kid yourselves fans.
-Terptek
________________________________________

Now this is actually funny (and humor is the best part of this board)!!!!!


What does being an alumnus have to do with him not getting picked up by another school....this man went almost 40 years before he got a single head coaching offer..and there is no doubt that if any more were coming, being an alum would not stop them...do you think Fridge himself would stay at CP if there were a better offer on the table? Heck NO!

In fact, early in his career he created a ruckus by almost leaving for a job in FL...and on top of that, he wanted to bail on UMD as a player for cryin out loud...the only thing that kept him here was that his dad told him he couldnt come home....no, this man is all about self promotion and self enrichment...he signed the HCIW agreement with JF basically putting the school on the hook for $1M if he didnt retire and 3 weeks ago, knowing full well that he would force UMD to pay out starting floating demands for a contract extension....if there was a better offer on the table, he would take it in a heartbeat so you can be sure there are none out there

Posted by: TerpfanMA | December 17, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"Clearly nobody on here knows what is going on in Andersons head, and some folks have pointed out some of the good things over Fridges 10 years (and to be fair, there have been many)...on the other side there are also concerns about Fridge too which may make it likely that he is not Andersons long terms choice.... In the end it will come down to Andersons view of Fridge and if he is really growing/improving the program or just treading water....either way, what happens with next years recruiting class will be down the list"

Posted by: TerpfanMA

some good points TerpFanMA - my main point concerning this whole "big picture strategic thinking" issue is this - the school does not have the coin needed to get someone of Fridge's caliber in here! There are more budget cuts coming and new AD Anderson will have his hands full trying to come up with the cash needed to get someone as good or better than Fridge. Good luck to him if he pulls the buyout trigger - paying out 2 Mil to Fridge plus big coin to a new coach is a tall order that the State Budget cannot support. Those in the know know these facts.

Posted by: terptek | December 17, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

TTek,

I dont think the buyout trigger is likely and I wouldnt do that either if I were in Andersons place....what I would do is table any talk of an extension at this point and see how next season plays out (realizing that it may impact recruiting)...I think there is ample reason to ascribe some of the sliding attendance and unsold box $$ to Fridges program and I would be careful about signing him to an extension until I felt more comfortable that he was "The Guy"...Personally, I wouldnt have that comfort level until I saw next year (or at least a good part of it)...that may impact some recruits but so be it if I am concerned about the long term program

Posted by: TerpfanMA | December 17, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

WheelsRI, actually I do strategic consulting in the credit card and payments industry. My view as to what to do with Ralph next year is to give him a shot. Now if he loses many of his existing staff, Anderson might have to bite the bullet and let him go. If Anderson thinks Ralph offers a good chance to succeed next year than maybe he will extend him. Sorry, but I have trouble believing that next year will be a disaster because the coach has one year left. I will concede that it will be very difficult (or impossible) to hire a top OC in the current situation. That may not be necessary if he keeps the defensive staff in tact. After all, Ralph is known as an offense guy. I doubt that anyone that comments on this site knows what Anderson will do. I just hope he doesn't give Ralph more than a 1 year extension.

Posted by: petecard | December 17, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

What does being an alumnus have to do with him not getting picked up by another school....this man went almost 40 years before he got a single head coaching offer..and there is no doubt that if any more were coming, being an alum would not stop them...do you think Fridge himself would stay at CP if there were a better offer on the table? Heck NO!
TerpFanMA
_____________________

UMD gave Fridge more money after the team's BCS Orange Bowl bid and his continued success after that. That is public record. If you claim to know so much, are you saying UMD did not pay Fridge more to jkeep him from getting other offers? Some of what you say is true, but other parts (self promotion, Fridge "orchestrating the HCIW - he doesn't sign the contracts and paychecks or else his staff would be better compensated) are merely your opinion. Do you have a "bat phone" up in MA telling you all these supposed nuggets? And PS- being an Alum does matter - other schools know they have to exceed contracts of coaches at their alma mater more than normal if the coach has it good at their school. If you think otherwise, your knowledge of that situation is laughable becuz u do not know what you're talking about. Go and ask Gary or Fridge yourself...

Posted by: terptek | December 17, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

What I am saying Ttek is that IF another school wanted him, the fact that he is a UMD alum would not keep them from offering or as evidence suggests, from him accepting, period! He spent a significant amount of his coaching career at schools other than UMD and there is nothing to suggest that he has anything more than a passing loyalty to this school...nothing that $$ would not take care of.


And I did NOT say he orchestrated the HCIW, I said he SIGNED it, thereby obligating his alma mater to a significant penalty if he took his current course...that,along with the other instances I mentioned, prove to me that he puts himself first at the expense of UMD (I am not saying that this is unreasonable, but I am saying that UMD should be equally objective when it comes to dealing with him)

Posted by: TerpfanMA | December 17, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

TerpMA

With your last comment, I see what you meant to say more clearly. But I was saying that an offer cannot merely be a little bit higher to pry away an alum from a coaching gig they enjoy. But yes, if the dollars were much higher in a good situation, most would take it. I still think we do not know the full story regarding the HCIW behind the scenes decisions.

And yes, both Fridge and UMD should be objective with their evaluations.

On another topic, i hope Fridge promotes John Donovan to OC, and mentors him these next (hopefully) 3 years. IMHO, Donovan may have potential to develop into a quality OC and maybe, gasp, future HC (although maybe not here immediately).

Posted by: terptek | December 17, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

When Friedgen arrived he was one of the highest paid assistants in the country. He expressed that a condition precedent for him to be hired was a commitment from the school pay top dollar to get the top assistants in the US. He brought in Taffe and Blackney. 3 ten win seasons followed.

I fear that this commitment has long expired in College Park. Cosh and Brown are the latest examples. Bud Foster they are NOT. We let Franklin get away, now what? Offense just got headed in the right direction. 2011 is a critical year. We must distance ourselves from the 1-7 ACC showing of 2009 + build excitement to broaden the declining season ticket base.

Posted by: terpcentral1 | December 17, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Seriously were talking about ACC Football! lol
Were talking about Maryland vs Ohio State,Penn,USC,ect.

If i were a kid there next to last on my list to go to and that seems to be the case when it comes to recruitment.

Atleast Fridgen been to a Super Bowl.

He can't help it when kids are invited to the big schools see there campus and facilities they fall in love.

Posted by: shamken | December 17, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The 1st question you have to ask is who else is out there? You can also ask, whose out there that wants to coach at MD? For MD to really put football on the map they'll need to do 3 things.

1. Upgrade the facilities, you want to compete with the big boys, you need to look like them, not a D-II school.

2. Get the alumni on board. All major programs have deep pockets.

3. Once you have done 1 & 2, then you can go for a big name coach or a top assistant with a real offer.

Once you have done those 3 steps, you can start acting like a major program, until then, MD is a basketball school.

Posted by: Toochilled | December 17, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Toochilled has some good points. You must get the Alumni on board and upgrade the facilities.

Look at Florida's weight room. It is 3 times the size of Maryland's and stocked with top of the line equipment. Look at Oklahoma State's weight room!

This area can supply the Terps with BCS talent every year if you hire a big time coach and put a fence up areound the state of Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia.

Virginia Tech does it every year by recruiting the State of Virginia mainly. They get the 2 and 3 star kids to stay in the state and they coach them up.

James Madison stole the Tech blue print and beat Tech this season. Maryland has the athletes that leave to play at WV, Pitt, Penn State, Alabama etc.

Furthermore, does Maryland really want to get in bed with a coach that will sue them if the fire him? At some point you have to let him go and he has shown that he won't go without a fight.

Larry Johnson (Penn State) is home grown and has earned at leat an interview. He is a top notch recruiter who could possibly get Loxeley to come back to his staff.

The two of them alone would lock down the DMV's top players and keep them home. If you are not going to do it right do not do it at all.

Posted by: phibetas373 | December 20, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

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