30
Dec
10

Terps send Coach Friedgen out with a blowout win


Coach Ralph Friedgen enjoys the Gatorade shower after his Terps defeated ECU 51-20 in the Military Bowl

By Ben Linton

The Maryland Terrapins Football Team completed their turnaround season with a 51-20 demolishing of the East Carolina Pirates in the Military Bowl on Wednesday. Although the Terps (9-4) started the game sloppy, they finished strong, outscoring the Pirates (6-7) 35 to 17 in the second half. Running Back Da’Rel Scott had a monster day with 202 yards rushing, the majority of it coming on touchdown runs of 61 and 91 yards. The Terrapins sent a message to the college football world, proving that they deserved to be in a better bowl game.

But all of that was overshadowed by the emotions surrounding Head Coach Ralph Freidgen’s last game as coach at the University of Maryland.

In one of the most bizarre moves in the college football season, the Terps fired Coach Friedgen after improving from their 2-10 record last year, which awarded Friedgen the ACC Coach of the Year honor. Friedgen was under contract for one more season, but the University bought out his deal, as they decided to part seperate ways with the man that put this program back on the map.

In his time at Maryland, Friedgen guided his alma mater to seven bowls in ten seasons, and gave the program an ACC Title in 2001, his first season as coach. But since 2005, ticket sales declined, luxury seats were not being filled, and a nationally televised game against NC State in November was not sold out. All of these factors prompted new athletic director Kevin Anderson to get rid of the Fridge. Along with the departure of Friedgen, offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting James Franklin left Maryland for the head coaching position at Vanderbilt, because Anderson would not honor his commitment to the deal that was struck with the old AD in place. This leaves Maryland to start from scratch next year with a new coach and a new philosophy.

I do not agree with the way Maryland treated Coach Friedgen. After all he has done for the program, he should have been able to coach there as long as he wanted. The fact that Maryland had to fire Friedgen instead of him retiring also rubs me the wrong way. It is as if they had to force him out, where one more year would surely not hurt the program. This further confirms the harsh reality that college football is not about the coaches or the players; its all about the money. Frankly, Friedgen was not making enough money for the program and getting people excited about the team, and that ending up being his demise. Is it fair? Absolutely not. But that is just the way it is in college football. Consider a coach like Mike Leach, a possible candidate to replace Friedgen at Maryland. A coach known for controversy and a high powered offense would get the seats filled at Byrd Stadium if he were to be hired.

Whoever the new Maryland coach is, Friedgen left him with a pretty darn good football team. For that we at AllMetro Sports thank you for 10 great years of Maryland Football, Coach Ralph Friedgen.

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