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Morning Commute: Ralph Friedgen Coaches The Final Game Of His Maryland Career

Today is finally the day where the Ralph Friedgen era ends in Maryland. Friedgen will participate in his final game as the Terps' head coach when Maryland takes on East Carolina later this afternoon in the Military Bowl. It's a sad day for many, including Friedgen, who is be frustrated and angry that his Maryland career is ending this way.

How do I know? Well, he indicated to Mike Wise that he's pretty upset at new athletic director Kevin Anderson

"The guy's been here a couple months," Friedgen added. "I don't know if he understands our culture, what we're about. Maryland is a different situation than a lot of schools. Every kid is not going to Maryland from around here.

"Do I wish I did a better job of bringing some alumni in? Yeah. But it's so tough to get them involved. Someone should tell Kevin: 'You're going to have to change a lot of things here other than coaches. So many things.' "

Friedgen's feelings are understandable, and yes, his firing was handled awkwardly. But there's a part of me that can't get behind all these eulogies. It's an unfortunate ending for a good man, but the truth is that the program stagnated. This 8-4 season was great, but it came thanks in part to an easy schedule. There were a couple 5-6 seasons, a 6-7 season and last year's 2-10 debacle in there too, and the team never approached their banner 2001 season again. With a lagging fanbase that pushed Maryland to the Military Bowl, I can't blame Anderson if he felt it was time for a change. Maybe it is, especially now that James Franklin is at Vanderbilt.

All I'm saying is, let's consider multiple angles here. Ralph Friedgen may be a good man that was a successful coach, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's the right person to lead Maryland into a new era.

Today's must-reads from around the SB Nation network:


  • Testudo Times also takes issue with the Wise/Friedgen article and makes some really good counterpoints.
  • Testudo Times also has a guide to today's Military Bowl matchup against East Carolina.
  • Georgetown's conference season begins tonight against Notre Dame, so Casual Hoya hands out some non-conference awards.
  • This was in the Starting Lineup, but here's a really good read from Hogs Haven on why the end of the season matters for the Redskins, even though they're out of playoff contention.
  • Japers Rink recaps a big Capitals win over the team that knocked them out in the first round.
Today on SB Nation D.C.: Martin Shatzer writes that Friedgen's real legacy is that his arrival kickstarted a golden age across all Maryland sports. Also, keep it here for Military Bowl and HBO 24/7 Capitals-Penguins coverage.