Remember Ralph Friedgen? You know, the guy who was the head football coach at Maryland from 2001 to 2010. He had some interesting things to say during an interview with Baltimore radio station WNST (AM-1570) and host Glenn Clark this afternoon.
(The full interview can be heard here; Friedgen discusses how happy he is for the success of Torrey Smith and LaQuan Williams before getting into other matters around the eight-minute mark).
Clark: I think the one thing everyone wants to know is what are you up to right now?
Friedgen: Well, right now, I’m sitting on my deck looking over the marsh into the – reading a USA Today.
Clark: Not a bad life.
Friedgen: No, I’m enjoying it very much. I do miss our players. I don’t miss all the other stuff, but I do miss the players. I miss the interaction with them. I miss dealing with them. I’m a little bit surprised I don’t miss all the stuff that goes around.
Clark: Well, you did it –
Friedgen: Forty-three years. I may get back into it. I may have a couple other things that pop up. I may be back, so we’ll see.
Clark: Is it tough for you to watch? Have you sat down and watched any Maryland games or is it tough for you to do that. I know you love the kids, but I also know you’re a Maryland alum, and it’s got to be a little painful.
Friedgen: Well, it’s not painful because I watch it for the kids. I could care less about Maryland. I’ve burned my diploma. I’m flying a Georgia Tech flag right now.
Clark: [laughing] That’s hurtful coach. I don’t want to hear that. I’m a Maryland alum.
Friedgen: Well, they talk about Maryland pride. They didn’t show me a whole lot of Maryland pride, either getting the job or getting fired.
Friedgen: I had a unique experience. I couldn’t get the game last week so I had to go to a sports bar to watch it. I never knew all that stuff went on, people cheering for all this stuff. It was a whole new experience. My daughter came down this week. I went fishing with her. I’ve never done these things with my kids. She caught a 28-inch redfish. She was ecstatic. I never experienced some of this stuff. It’s like my whole life has changed. I’m kind of catching up on some things I probably should have done a lot earlier in my life but haven’t been able to do it.
There’s a lot that could be said, but as was so often the case during his decade as Maryland’s head coach, Friedgen said most of it on his own.
And you know what? It’s tough to blame the man for being rankled after being jettisoned after producing a 75-50 record that included seven bowl appearances (not to mention not-so-subtly being blamed without being named for problems that have surfaced since he was fired in December).
In any case, the entire interview was classic Friedgen – candid, emotional, wry. It’s definitely worth a listen to hear a guy who, despite some bumpy times, played a large role in pulling Maryland out of a decade and a half of total irrelevance.