Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen will remain in place for a 10th season, a school source said this morning.
Friedgen met with athletic director Debbie Yow over the last few days to discuss the entirety of the program. The Terrapins completed a 2-10 season that ended with a 19-17 loss to Boston College on Saturday.
Friedgen said after the game he intended to come back to continue on the job at his alma mater.
“They never quit on me. Why would I want to quit on them?” Friedgen said while referencing his players. “I want to be there when we’re good, so we can think about these times and laugh about them. They were even talking about that in the locker room afterward.”
The program’s direction was not promising for much of this fall, when the Terps set a school record for losses in a season and dropped their final seven games.
More significantly, attendance tumbled —- the attendance for the Boston College game was the school’s lowest since the final game for Friedgen’s predecessor, Ron Vanderlinden —- and Maryland was unable to sell long-term leases on a third of the suites it opened this fall as part of a Byrd Stadium renovation that cost $50 million.
Despite those issues, finances likely played a part in Friedgen’s return as well. The coach is owed $4 million over the final two years of his contract, and that provided a counterweight to the 35-38 mark the Terps have rolled up in the last six seasons.
Overall, though, Friedgen is 66-46 in his nine seasons, and has led Maryland to six bowl games. In the 15 years before he arrived, the Terps played in just one postseason game.
Yet all the past success was easy to gloss over this fall as the losses piled up for Maryland. The Terps were beset by inexperience in a number of places, notably an offensive line that reflected the program’s recruiting failures in the middle of the decade.
The offense sputtered behind that patchwork unit, and quarterback Chris Turner absorbed a beating for much of the early part of the season. Meanwhile, the defense slowly adapted to new coordinator Don Brown‘s scheme before improving by midseason.
All along, Friedgen insisted his youthful outfit —- only 12 of the 83 scholarship players were seniors —- was one of his favorites because their work ethic. This was in spite of their record, seemingly a paradox even the ultra-competitive Friedgen acknowledged was “weird.”
He also spoke about the improvements he saw on a day-to-day basis, and it was clear throughout the season and especially Saturday he hoped to have the chance to see everything through.
Now he has it.
—- Patrick Stevens