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Nine lives

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I have a story in tomorrow’s dead-tree edition that covers a little bit of history I dug up here in the Statcave® here at D1scourse Glen Burnie headquarters this week.

In short, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen – regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s game, and regardless of whether he returns as the Terrapins’ coach next year, which is a great unknown at this point because none of the particulars are determined – is in an interesting situation.

Between 1990 and 2008, 37 coaches at BCS conference schools who were at least four years into their tenure combined for 40 seasons in which their team lost at least nine games. Friedgen and Vanderbilt’s Bobby Johnson have joined that list this year, and Virginia’s Al Groh and Colorado’s Dan Hawkins could with losses this week.

A few nuggets of note before getting to the unwieldy chart that had no prayer of making the dead-tree edition:

* Of the 40 coaches involved, 23 did not return the next season.

* Only one of the coaches with a career winning record at his school was zapped at the end of an awful season – Chuck Amato at N.C. State in 2006. Friedgen enters the season finale at 66-45 in nine seasons.

* Only two coaches on the list had the number of bowl appearances (six) Friedgen had at Maryland. Both Joe Paterno (a whole lot more than six) and Jackie Sherrill (six) were granted the chance to turn things around.

* Two of the coaches who received multiple extra seasons were Kentucky’s Bill Curry and Iowa State’s Dan McCarney – guys who ended long bowl droughts for their programs, much like Friedgen did.

In short, even in an era when patience is short, coaches with a background of success more likely than not receive the benefit of the doubt. Six bowl berths in eight seasons probably qualifies as a background of success.

One last set of number worth noting:

* Of the 23 schools whose coaches who did not return after a nine-loss season so late in their tenure, only 10 reached a bowl game under the successor (though the jury is out in a few places).

* Only seven made multiple bowl games at their next stop: California’s Jeff Tedford (seven), McCarney (five), Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe (four), Northwestern’s Randy Walker (three), Illinois’ Ron Turner (two), South Carolina’s Lou Holtz (two) and North Carolina’s Butch Davis (two). (There’s an assumption of bowl invitations this season for both Tedford and Davis).

Anyway, the full rundown of the chart too tough to tame – or, at least fit into a newspaper.

DID NOT RETURN

Coach (Yrs.)                Year/School                 Record
Dave Kragthorpe (6)    1990 Oregon State       1-10 (17-48-2)
Fred Akers (4)             1990 Purdue                2-9 (12-31-1)
Watson Brown (5)       1990 Vanderbilt                       1-10 (10-45)
Joe Krivak (5)              1991 Maryland                        2-9 (20-34-2)
John Gutekunst (6)      1991 Minnesota                       2-9 (29-37-2)
Jerry Berndt (4)                       1992 Temple               1-10 (11-33)
Jim Walden (8)                        1993 Iowa State                       0-10-1 (28-57-3)
Lou Tepper (6)                        1996 Illinois                2-9 (25-31-2)
Jerry Pettibone (6)       1996 Oregon State       2-9 (13-52-1)
Gary Barnett (7)           1998 Northwestern      3-9 (35-45-1)
Brad Scott (5)              1998 South Carolina    1-10 (23-32-1)
Hal Mumme (4)                       2000 Kentucky                        2-9 (20-26)
Jim Caldwell (8)          2000 Wake Forest        2-9 (26-63)
Tom Holmoe (5)          2001 California                       1-10 (16-39)
Woody Widenhofer (5)           2001 Vanderbilt                       2-9 (15-40)
Kevin Steele (4)           2002 Baylor                 3-9 (9-36)
Jackie Sherrill (13)       2003 Mississippi St.     2-10 (74-76-2)
John Bunting (6)          2006 North Carolina    3-9 (27-45)
Chuck Amato (7)         2006 N.C. State                       3-9 (49-37)
Guy Morriss (5)                       2007 Baylor                 3-9 (18-40)
Ted Roof (4+)              2007 Duke                   1-11 (6-45)
Greg Robinson (4)       2008 Syracuse             3-9 (10-37)
Tyrone Willingham (4)            2008 Washington         0-12 (11-37)

ONE MORE YEAR

Coach (Yrs.)                Year/School                 Record             Next
Francis Peay (5)           1990 Northwestern      2-9 (10-43-2)   3-8
Bill Mallory (12)          1995 Indiana               2-9 (65-70-3)   3-8
Jerry Pettibone (5)       1995 Oregon State       1-10 (11-43-1) 2-9
Ron Dickerson (4)       1996 Temple               1-10 (5-39)      3-8
Fred Goldsmith (4)      1997 Duke                   2-9 (13-32)      4-7
Terry Shea (4)              1999 Rutgers               1-10 (8-36)      3-8
Carl Franks (4)             2002 Duke                   2-10 (5-40)      2-5
Jackie Sherrill (12)       2002 Mississippi St.     3-9 (72-66-2)   2-10
Ron Turner (7)             2003 Illinois                1-11 (32-49)    3-8
Bobby Wallace (7)       2004 Temple               2-9 (19-60)      0-11

TWO+ YEARS

Coach (Yrs.)                Year/School                 Record             Rest (Yrs.)
Pat Jones (8)                1991 Oklahoma State  0-10-1 (52-39-1)          10-21-2 (3)
Bill Curry (5)               1994 Kentucky                        1-10 (18-38)    8-14 (2)
Mike Price (11)                        1999 Washington St.    3-9 (59-66)      24-12 (3)
Randy Walker (4)        2002 Northwestern      3-9 (18-28)      19-18 (3)
Dan McCarney (9)       2003 Iowa State                       2-10 (38-67)    18-18 (3)
Joe Paterno (38)           2003 Penn State                       3-9 (339-109-3)           54-20 (6*)
Bobby Wallace (6)       2003 Temple               1-11 (17-51)    2-20 (2)

Patrick Stevens

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