The Washington Times - September 17, 2008, 09:26AM

Obviously, a story on jersey numbers wasn’t going to be complete without asking Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen about his.

He has a framed No. 61 jersey in his office from the Terrapins’ Orange Bowl season, and there’s one of those staged 1960s “action” photos in the media guide of him wearing 61 that always makes me laugh. (To be fair, the old staged photo of Chuck Amato in the N.C. State media guide a few years back is even more hilarious).

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Back on point. I asked Friedgen during camp about his numbers. And before he got into a discussion about his policy on numbers – which I found exceptionally detailed for what I thought was a goofy question – he did offer up a classic tale of his numbers.

“I had more numbers,” Friedgen said. “I had 61, 76, 17, 31. I played a lot of different positions. My number in high school was 17.

“I got married on June 17, that’s so I wouldn’t forget. I keep forgetting my wife’s birthday because she was born in November, in the middle of football season. Who the hell ever gets born in the middle of football season? I always say 7-11, but it’s 11-7 and I forget it every time. I take her out for dinner in the summer and I say ‘This is for your birthday that I’m going to forget in November. Happy birthday.’”

Friedgen was laughing almost the entire way through the story, so it’s really clear this is a running gag. But I’ll bet I never hear of even a joking connection between a jersey number and a wedding date ever again.

Patrick Stevens