Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin is the school’s designated successor to coach Ralph Friedgen, the school announced Friday.
The 37-year-old Franklin worked at Maryland from 2000 to 2004, then returned to the school last season as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach.
“I always dreamed of this opportunity,” Franklin said. “I think I have a pretty unique perspective on the university and what it’s going to take to be successful here. Really our plan and our discussion was about continuing to build off the foundation Ralph has laid here and continue to build this program into one of the elite programs in the country.”
Between stints at Maryland, Franklin was the wide receivers coach for the Green Bay Packers (2005) and Kansas State’s offensive coordinator (2006-07).
Friedgen is entering his ninth season with the Terps. The 61-year-old owns a career record of 64-36 and has three seasons remaining on his contract. It is uncertain how long he will remain on the job, but the succession plan lends continuity to the program.
“I’m going to coach as long as I feel like coaching and as long as it’s enjoyable,” Friedgen said. “I’m 61. That day will come. That’s one of things I feel good about. James has been such a big part of our success here, and to me it’s kind of an honor and a legacy to have one of your coaches be able to follow you.”
The coach-in-waiting concept has become more popular in recent seasons as schools look for stability. Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez named Bret Bielema as his successor in July 2005 when he announced he would focus on his athletic director duties after the ‘05 season.
In the years since, Florida State, Kentucky, Oregon, Purdue and Texas have also announced such plans, though Purdue (replacing the retiring Joe Tiller with Danny Hope after last fall) is the only additional school to go through the transition.
The most comparable school to Maryland in the bunch is probably Kentucky, which like Maryland won a national title in the 1950s. Neither school is a titan in its respective conference, but a framework of succession provides a valuable piece of stability to continue moving programs closer to challenging for league titles.
Franklin agreed to a three-year deal when he returned to Maryland, and Friedgen promised at the time to include Franklin in several facets of a head coach’s life. For example, when Friedgen was on vacation in the summer, Franklin sat in for him in meetings related to the expansion of Byrd Stadium.
Athletic director Debbie Yow said Franklin’s contract is synched up with Friedgen’s, meaning there’s a chance no transition could occur until after the 2011 season.
“I haven’t made up my mind whether I’m going to coach after that,” Friedgen said. “James has been a tremendous contributor, both prior to him coming back. Now, I guess I even appreciate him even more because he makes my job a lot easier.”
The Terps went 8-5 last fall, capping the season with a 42-35 defeat of Nevada in the Humanitarian Bowl. The offense was up and down throughout the season, a reflection of team-wide inconsistency. However, Maryland did defeat four ranked teams (California, Clemson, Wake Forest and North Carolina).
Friedgen has not discussed retirement, though he endured criticism as the program slid from three 10-win seasons earlier this decade to a 33-28 mark over the last five seasons. However, the Terps have reached three consecutive bowl games and now have some certainty for the future.
“Both [Friedgen] and I want to ensure that Maryland football loses no ground at all in recruiting or staff continuity,” Yow said. “Coach Friedgen has already established a foundation these last eight years, and that foundation is going to be protected.”
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
A carefully guided tour through the confusing world of modern bookselling and publishing.
Empowering mind/body/spirit and health dialogue along with cutting-edge, conscious social, political, and world commentary with Adam Omkara. Join the Evolution!
A politically conservative and morally liberal Hebrew alpha male hunts left-wing viper
World's Ugliest Dog Contest
Spelling Bee finale
Marines train Afghan soldiers
Rolling Thunder 2013
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal