Friedgen: Bowl might not be last game
63-year-old coach says he wants to be on sidelines next season
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- Two days after his ouster at Maryland that is effective after next week's Military Bowl, Ralph Friedgen says he still is eager to coach somewhere next season. Friedgen, whose remaining year on his contract was bought out by athletic director Kevin Anderson, will coach his final game for the Terrapins on Dec. 29 against East Carolina in Washington.
Friedgen, 63, began his news conference Wednesday saying that he wouldn't talk about his future until after next week's game, but relented when questioned about his feelings. "It's been a stressful week -- emotionally more than anything else,'' Friedgen said.
His voice began to crack when he described favorable articles written about him since his dismissal. "For the most part, I've been holding in my emotions pretty good. You all know I'm emotional. It'll be tough.''
It's an unusual setup for a bowl game. Maryland will practice at its nearby home field, Byrd Stadium and stay in a Washington hotel.
During Friedgen's 10 years at his alma mater, he went 74-50. After the Terrapins slipped to 2-10 last year, Friedgen guided the team to an 8-4 record, was named Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year for a second time and earned his seventh postseason appearance.
Friedgen admitted he'd like to coach next season. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe back at Byrd Stadium, who knows?''
Anderson intended to bring back Friedgen for the final year of his contract until Terps offensive coordinator James Franklin accepted the head-coaching job at Vanderbilt on Friday. After signing with the Commodores, Franklin offered jobs to several Maryland assistant coaches, but Friedgen said that all of them would coach in next week's game against the Pirates. He said he wasn't sure who would call the plays.
"The kids have been great,'' Friedgen said. "To be with them last year and to see them grow and then we're right to a point now where I think we're really ready to take off, and that's the toughest thing about this whole thing is I really think this team has a chance to be champions. That's kind of what I was looking for, but the powers that be don't probably think that I'm good enough to do that.''
Quarterback Danny O'Brien, a redshirt freshman, who was voted the ACC Rookie of the Year, said he would not transfer even though he came to College Park to play for Friedgen and Franklin. "It was shocking to me,'' O'Brien said. "Football is a crazy business. The last couple of weeks shows that.''