- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 21, 2000

LAHAINA, Hawaii Terry Bowden said he has no interest in coaching the Maryland football team. The former Auburn coach was believed to be a front-runner for the Terps job after Ron Vanderlinden was fired Sunday.

"I am not going to take any job," Bowden said by phone from his Orlando, Fla., home yesterday. "I have decided to stay in television for the foreseeable future. Nothing is going to change. I am not going to coach next season regardless of the job or the salary."

While one Bowden has taken his name out of consideration, another may be in the running. Jeff Bowden, 41, an assistant at Florida State, is being mentioned as a possible candidate. Other possibilities are Clemson offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez and perhaps Bobby Ross, the one-time Terps coach who resigned from the Detroit Lions earlier this season.

There is also a scenario that could land Georgia coach Jim Donnan in College Park. Donnan is feeling heat despite the No. 19 Bulldogs' 7-3 record. He could become available, perhaps by his own choice, if Georgia falls to 18th-ranked Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Maryland graduate and Georgia Tech offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgan may also be under consideration.

Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow insists the Terps are willing to pay for a proven coach, a difference from the situation four years ago when the department was in the red and confined economically. Yow, who balanced the department's budget in July 1998, said she will consider current coaches as well as prominent assistants.

"I have greater flexibility in the profile of the individual, quite candidly, we can afford to look at," Yow said Sunday. "We will not rule out a successful coordinator in a high profile Division I-A program."

On Sunday Yow created a search committee that she will chair and coaching "headhunter" Bill Carr will advise.

"We do have issues to recruiting, and we would like to salvage our recruiting," said Yow, who gave the process a three-week timetable. "[Carr] already has information which would take a lot of time to gather. The value he adds, you and I might look at someone at a school and think everything's fine they're very happy there, certainly would not be interested in moving. And because he is a headhunter in the industry, if there is something under the surface, he'll know that and be able to share that with us based on his contacts and conversations."

Carr, who runs Carr and Associates in Gainesville, Fla., specializes in assisting universities in selecting new football coaches. Carr, a former University of Houston athletic director and former roommate of Steve Spurrier at Florida, was in the area yesterday but refused to comment on any specifics about the search. Carr also said it was his policy not to speak about other clients unless his clients have named him but said he has worked with some of the largest schools in this process.

"We assist the university in the entire process," Carr said. "We help the university establish contacts, identify and communicate with candidates, evaluate candidates and provide information the institution will find helpful in reaching a decision."

The athletic director said she would be interested in Terry Bowden or Ross when asked directly about those two possibilities. Yow canceled a trip to Hawaii to see the basketball team play in the Maui Invitational to concentrate on the search.

Terry Bowden spurned interest from West Virginia, his alma mater, last week. He said Maryland needs someone to generate interest immediately to help revive the dormant program and said the school should lighten its non-conference schedule so it will be favored at least 60 percent of the time.

Terry Bowden endorsed his brother Jeff, the wide receivers coach for dad Bobby Bowden's Seminoles.

"That's a guy that can go into the ACC and make a run at Florida State and Clemson," said Terry Bowden, who feels Jeff would benefit from recruiting in Florida. "Can you imagine the attention and recruiting benefit that would get? He would put Maryland immediately in the news playing against [Clemson coach Tommy Bowden] and his dad. Plus, another brother would be talking about it every week on national television."

Terry Bowden said his younger brother has spoken with Memphis and Oklahoma State about their coaching vacancies.

Friedgan is one of the more intriguing possibilities. The 1969 Maryland graduate is the architect of Georgia Tech's high-powered offense, which is similar to the spread scheme that turned around ACC teams Clemson and N.C. State in the last few seasons. Friedgan, 53, was considered before Vanderlinden was hired after the 1996 season.

The Yellow Jackets assistant was also on Ross' staff at Maryland from 1982 to 1986.

• Staff writer Brad Marcus contributed to this report.

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