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For those of us that weren't involved in the Maryland coaching, let's go with meltdown, it seems like it escalated rather abruptly and out of no where. But according to Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun, the wheels of this divorce had been set in motion over a month ago. Barker describes a dinner that Friedgen attended with Kevin Anderson a few weeks ago.
"We talked (at the dinner) about philosophy and everything else, and then he talked about a contract extension," Anderson said. "He told me at that time that he didn't want to be a lame duck. I told him I wasn't prepared to talk about or to offer him an extension."
Once Anderson expressed that he would be unwilling to give Friedgen an extension, and Friedgen reiterated that he did want to coach as a lame duck, they had reached the point of no return. Once James Franklin left to coach at Vanderbilt the whole situation became much more of a priority. As for the way this whole thing played out, it wasn't exactly like Anderson may have wanted.
"I tried very hard not to have this happen, and it's unfortunate," Anderson told The Baltimore Sun Monday. "This was not my intent for it to go down this way."
You can try as hard as you want to, but if you want a guy to go away and he doesn't want to, it's bound to get ugly.
The University of Maryland held a press conference today to confirm all the speculation that head coach Ralph Friedgen has been bought out of his contract and will no longer coach the team past this bowl game. Athletic Director Kevin Anderson said that the University made the decision to change course after offensive coordinator James Franklin departed to become Vanderbilt's coach, taking several assistants with him. Once that happened, Anderson made what he called a "strategic business decision" to buy out Friedgen's contract.
"He's raised the bar for our expectations. He leaves Maryland as he entered, as ACC COY and returning us to a Bowl Game," Anderson said. "Today, however, MD has made a 'strategic business decision' to buy out the the final year of his contract, effective January 2, 2011," he said.
Anderson said Franklin's decision to leave forced his hand, because it would have been very difficult to replace several coaches and because Friedgen "expressed concerns" about being a "lame duck coach." When asked, Anderson said he was not willing to give Friedgen the long-term extension he desired.
"I wasn't prepared and I wasn't willing to do that," he said. "I was looking to move the program in a different direction, and I wasn't willing to give him a contract extension."
Anderson said the decision to part ways was a mutual one with Friedgen initially. As of last Wednesday, they were set to meet and discuss how to part ways amicably. But that meeting never materialized, explaining why the buyout happened this way.
"He told me and he looked me in the eye and said he understood. That was Wednesday. Friday, we'd determine what kind of exit strategy we'd have. Somewhere between Wed and Fri, that never materialized. I can't tell you what happened, but I gather he had a change of heart."
Anderson said the program will move forward with a search starting as soon as tonight, and hopes to have a new coach by January 4. He definitively said that nobody has been contacted, but did admit that Mike Leach, who was reported to become the program's next coach over the weekend, was on his list. He did not confirm any other names.
University President Wallace Loh gave a statement as well in which he stood by Anderson's decision.
"When he told me that the best thing is to think long-term strategically, b/c of unexpected change, to move towards a buyout, I said that is proceeding accountably even though it's a very hard decision to make. I admire Mr. Anderson for making that principled decision even though it pained him and it pained me."
Both Anderson and Loh confirmed that Friedgen will receive the full amount of his $2 million contract for next season.
(Video via CSN Washington)
We've received more details on what it means for Ralph Friedgen that he and Maryland could not agree on a buyout of the last year of his contract. According to Steve Yanda of the Washington Post, Friedgen will be fired, but will still receive his full $2 million salary in 2011.
Athletic Director Kevin Anderson was only briefly involved in the buyout discussions, the source said. Anderson handed off talks to university legal counsel Susan Bayly after a discussion with Friedgen's attorney did not go well, according to the source.
Because he would not agreed to retire, the remainder of Friedgen's contract -- worth roughly $2 million -- will be paid in full.
Apparently, the talks were pretty heated. Maryland tried to soften the blow by offering Friedgen a spot in the Ring of Honor, but Friedgen said no. Eventually, talks stopped at around 10 a.m., once it became clear that Friedgen wasn't changing his mind. Therefore, the Terps will have to pay his salary in 2011.
Considering the way he's been pushed out after such a great season, it's not a surprise that Friedgen was in no mood to talk about a buyout. Maybe he won't get that spot on the Ring of Honor, but people will understand his impact on the prgram anyway.
In what should be a shock to nobody, considering the abruptness of athletic director Kevin Anderson's change of heart, Ralph Friedgen is not going out quietly as Maryland's head coach. It looked like the two sides would be able to agree on a buyout, but that has changed. According to different reports, the two sides were unable to agree on a buyout, forcing the Terps to fire Friedgen.
No buyout agreement could be reached between Friedgen and Maryland. Thus, after the bowl game, Friedgen will be fired.
Friedgen was slated to make $2 million next season. Had the two sides agreed on a buyout, he may not have received all of that money. Friedgen will still coach the Terps in the 2010 Military Bowl on December 29, but he's expected to then be fired and have the road paved for Mike Leach.
The Terps will hold a 3 p.m. news conference on Monday to discuss the future of their program.
As quickly as the Ralph Friegen era ended, that's about as quickly as the Mike Leach era may begin.
According to Bryan Fisher of Yahoo Sports, it would appear Leach is a sure bet to be the new Maryland football coach:
Leach already calling recruits. RT @Scott_Schrader: Serra QB heard from Mike Leach last night. He will likely be Maryland's next head coach.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhoneBryan Fischer
If the Leach hire is indeed imminent, it would complete a stunning turn of events for the Maryland football program. Not only did they force their longtime coach to resign, they would have managed to bring in his replacement in less than 24 hours.
Although Friegen was able to lead his Terps to an 8-4 record (a 6 game improvement from the previous year), it would appear that athletic director Kevin Anderson had seen enough to make a decision on Fridge's future.
And apparently in Anderson's eyes, it seems as though Leach could be the right man to take over.
Leach, the former Texas Tech coach, led the Red Raiders to 10 consecutive winning seasons before being fired over a year ago. He compiled a 84-43 record at Tech, and the most wins by a coach in school history.
It appears that the Ralph Friegen era may finally be over at The University of Maryland, according to a report from Jeff Errman of InsideMDSports.
The report states that Friegen has verbally agreed to accept a buyout on his contract, marking this his final season as Maryland head football coach:
Friedgen, 63, first learned of athletic director Kevin Anderson's intentions to buy him out early this week. Sources close to the situation say Anderson gave Friedgen a choice: he could coach the final year of his contract with no extension, or accept the buyout.
The sudden nature of this decision has to be a shock to the program. Friegen had a successful season in 2010, finishing 8-4 and won ACC Coach of the Year. It seemed as though he would be granted to play out the final year of his contract, but AD Kevin Anderson clearly had other ideas.
According to the report, Friegen took the news hard and is now considering whether or not to return to Maryland with an administrative job, or look for other coaching opportunities.
As for the Maryland football team, Mike Leach, the former coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, appears to be the leading candidate to take the job.
The most immediate question in the wake of the news that Maryland will ask Ralph Friedgen to take a buyout and retire after the season is this: who will coach the Terps in their bowl game? Maryland is headed to the Military Bowl at RFK Stadium on December 29, where they'll play East Carolina, but with offensive coordinator James Franklin headed to become Vanderbilt's coach and Friedgen headed toward unemployment, who is left to coach them?
As it turns out, the answer is, well, Friedgen. According to CSN's Chick Hernandez, Friedgen will coach the bowl game, despite being cast aside.
Despite being forced out Ralph Friegden WILL coach his Terps in the Military Bowl.
This seems pretty amazing on the surface, but it might simply be by necessity. Franklin is gone, and he's taking several assistants with him, so Friedgen's really the only option. That presents an interesting scenario, with Friedgen coaching a team that's played hard for him in front of very few local fans in his final game on the job.
Testudo Times is all over this story here.
According to Eric Prisbell and Steve Yanda of the Washington Post, the University is likely to ask Ralph Friedgen to retire, and Kevin Anderson implied that an announcement will be made as to the coach's future next week.
A source close to the Maryland athletic department said Franklin's departure "helped set wheels in motion with a focus on pursuing Mike Leach. Essentially the thought is now is the time to strike. You somehow work with Ralph to quote-unquote retire."
Chick Hernandez of Comcast SportsNet confirmed that Fridgen is getting bought out earlier tonight.
As Heather Dinich of ESPN's ACC Blog points out, its not Friedgen who is the real loser in all of this. It's his players.
Earlier today, offensive coordinator James Franklin left to be Vanderbilt's head coach, and he reportedly plans to take several assistants with him. Sources said that Friedgen left the office today without talking to any staff members about the situation, and everyone was left wondering about their futures. The assistants, their families, and the players are the ones who have been hurt the most by the upheaval at Maryland - not Friedgen. He'll get a cool $2 million out of the deal.
As for the top candidate to replace Friedgen, Mike Leach told the Washington Post that he has not been contacted by Maryland about the position.
In what has to be the craziest day in D.C. sports in recent memory, we now have a shocking turn of events at the University of Maryland.
Joe Schad of ESPN was the first to report earlier that Maryland may seek to buyout the remaining year on head coach Ralph Friedgen's contract. Now Schad is also speculating on potential replacements for the 10-year coach.
If Ralph Friedgen does not return to Md. in '11, potential names include Mike Leach, Tyrone Willingham and Mike Locksley
Schad went on to suggest that Leach could be attractive to the program due to his close relationship with Under Armour, that Willingham could be the guy because he was at California with Kevin Anderson previously, and that Locksley could be targeted because he is a D.C. native.
Leach had a 84-43 record as head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders before getting fired for locking a player in a dark shed. Leach can brag to the fact that one of his quarterbacks (Tim Couch) was once selected first overall in the NFL Draft. This doesn't seem to bode well for Danny O'Brien.
Willingham has been a head coach at Stanford, Notre Dame, and Washington with a career record of 76-88-1. Willingham's most recent experience saw him fired as coach of the Huskies for going 0-12 in 2008, making that the first winless season for Washington in 119 years.
Locksley has an interesting past that includes a suspension for punching an assistant coach, and he may also have an interesting future if he stays put at New Mexico, but he's also well-known as an excellent recruiter.
Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson made some interesting comments earlier Friday, declining to guarantee that Ralph Friedgen would return in 2011. Now, we might know why. The program is "strongly considering" asking Friedgen to retire and accept a buyout, according to ESPN's Joe Schad.
Maryland is strongly considering asking coach Ralph Friedgen to retire and accept a buyout, according to multiple sources. Maryland is strongly considering asking coach Ralph Friedgen to retire and accept a buyout, according to multiple sources.
Anderson had affirmed that Friedgen would return next year back in November, but went back on that earlier today after offensive coordinator James Franklin bolted to become the head coach at Vanderbilt. According to Schad, he's taken some assistants with him.
At least three Maryland assistant coaches are aware of the likelihood Friedgen will not return for next season and have committed to follow Franklin to Vanderbilt.
Friedgen has been the Terps' head coach since 2001. He's compiled a 74-50 record in his time in Maryland, including an 8-4 mark this year after a 2-10 mark in 2009. It's still not clear whether Friedgen will actually be fired, as Schad's report is speculative, but this is still not good news for Friedgen.
For more, visit Testudo Times.
Maryland just lost their offensive coordinator and former coach-in waiting when James Franklin bolted to become Vanderbilt's coach. Will they also lose their head coach? It would seem hard to believe, considering the school announced that Ralph Friedgen would return, but in a conference call with reporters today, Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson declined to guarantee Friedgen's return.
Anderson was asked directly if Ralph would definitely be back in 2011. "I'll sit down & everybody will understand where we're going ... w/the program. At this point, I'm not going to answer that question"
That's a really odd answer, considering Anderson said this in a University press release back on November 18.
"Based largely on the improved performance of our team and student-athletes this season, Coach Friedgen will be our head football coach next year," Anderson said.
What could have changed between now and then, besides Franklin leaving? Maybe nothing, but either way, it's an odd answer. All we know is that the two will have a meeting soon and an announcement is expected next week, according to Eric Prisbell of the Washington Post.
If Friedgen does leave, Pete Thamel of the New York Times speculates that the team could go after former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, though that seems like conjecture right now.
After finishing the 2010 season with an 8-2 record and winning the ACC Coach of the Year award, Maryland Football coach Ralph Friedgen has remained quiet about his contract status. But his representatives haven't.
Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun spoke to Friedgen's attorney Jack Reale today, and Reale didn't hold back.
"To me, an extension is absolutely in order ... I think he has earned it."
Reale went on to recall how "loyal alums, players and fans stood up and supported Ralph and were instrumental" in convincing former Athletic Director Debbie Yow to bring back Friedgen after Maryland's unfortunate 2-10 record last season. These individuals may be a key asset in earning Friedgen an extension as well. His contract is currently set to expire on Jan. 2, 2012.
SB Nation's Terrapins blog Testudo Times isn't quite as convinced as Reale that Friedgen should be extended.
But the next question is whether or not Fridge has earned an extension, to which I say, "Uh, no." Do it next year and we'll talk, but 2-10 is just as bad as 8-4 is good. Now, next season looks like a potential ACC championship type of year, at which point extending him would be the only logical thing to do. He just needs to do it first.
The Terrapins will find out which bowl game they will be playing in later this weekend. Athletic Director will need to make a decision on Friedgen soon after.
All season long, the Maryland football team has had to play amid speculation about coach Ralph Friedgen's future. Despite that, they have thrust themselves into the ACC title picture, winning seven games already with two big games to go.
"Based largely on the improved performance of our team and student-athletes this season, Coach Friedgen will be our head football coach next year," Anderson said. "Once this season is complete, Ralph and I will sit down to discuss the current state and future of the program. Right now, the team's focus will be on winning the 2010 ACC Championship and a bowl game, which our coaching staff and student-athletes have put themselves in position to do. We hope our fans, students, and alums will come out and support us in the effort."
Anderson had previously been non-committal about Friedgen's future with the University. After the team's win over Virigina, Anderson was asked about Friedgen's future, and simply said "looking for that eighth win." However, changing coaches would have cost the University $3 million, when you also account for offensive coordinator James Franklin's $1 million roster bonus if he does not become the head coach.
For more, visit Testudo Times.
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