It was a frequently emotional Ralph Friedgen who met with reporters after today’s 19-17 loss to Boston College closed out Maryland’s 2-10 season.
There were certainly no sure-fire answers to come from the session. Well, just about none.
For one thing, Friedgen doesn’t sound like a man who will willingly walk away from the job he’s held for the last nine years.
“They never quit on me. Why would I want to quit on them?” Friedgen said while choking up. “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.”
In fact, it was exactly nine years ago tomorrow when Friedgen was brought in to revive a moribund program, one with a single bowl appearance in 15 years and no more than six wins to show for any of those seasons.
Now, Friedgen is the one facing the questions his predecessors did. He said he’ll meet in the coming days with athletic director Debbie Yow, who might have bolted Friedgen’s press conference upon its conclusion even faster than Friedgen did. Yow has remained mum about Friedgen’s status, deferring to her policy of waiting until the end of a season to evaluate a coach.
Well, the season is now over, and a waiting game begins.
Does Friedgen stay? Does offensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting James Franklin? And how about the rest of the staff?
For his part, Friedgen made sure his team knew how he felt after the game —- but that he intends to be around for a 10th season.
“I told them I expected to be back but if I’m not I wanted to tell them how much I loved them and appreciated their effort this whole year,” Friedgen said. “Sometimes when things happen you don’t get that opportunity. That’s all I said to them. But I do expect to be back.”
The decision, though, might not be his.
—- Patrick Stevens