Because I've gotten a few e-mails on the topic, I thought I'd go ahead and provide some quotes from Debbie Yow's appearance on 106.7 The Fan's Mike Wise Show today. If you're pressed for time, here's an executive summary. Or, you can listen here, depending on your level of bravery.
Wise: "Lastly Debbie, here's a slightly awkward and gently rambling question concerning how much I hate Internet rumors, but how I have to ask you about just this one, because Maryland fans are curious."
Yow: "You know Mike, here's an awkward response that literally will have your listeners cringing, folding their bodies in half and praying for it all to end soon."
Wise: "Thank you. And here's a follow-up joke."
Ok, as for the specifics, here ya go.
Wise: "How close were you to having a conversation with Dr. Mote about whether or not Gary was going to remain?''
Yow: "I think those are odd questions, to be candid with you. I'm telling you that I remember in 1998, I've extended his contract seven times in 15 years, and the one in 1998 was the one that occurred when we hadn't yet gotten past the sweet 16. And I got pummeled with e-mail--you know, 'You're an idiot, you don't know what you're doing, he's never gonna be able to win it, you're crazy, you're the problem.' And of course then we go ahead and we go to the Final Four in '01 and then we win it in '02....
Wise: "So wait, you didn't answer the question. So you didn't go to Dr. Mote's office or you did?"
Yow: "So how is your day going, Bill?"
Wise: "No, but this is one of those crazy rumors Debbie."
Yow: "I can't respond to crazy rumors, because there's too many of them. And what happens is, you start justifying them and then you kind of spend your life trying to respond to them, and then you wouldn't be able to do your real job...."
Wise: "Lastly, I just think that people, when they think of sort of the holy trifecta of people with power in the Maryland athletic department world, they think of you, Ralph and Gary, and all the politics and money and bruised ego that come about. Is it as we see it from outside, or do you think there's some fences that have been mended. I mean, how's your relationship with Gary right now?"
Yow: "I don't know how you see it from outside. I think Gary's a terrific coach. I love my coaches. I extended his contract seven times. He's doing pretty well now, making a couple of million a year. I think those things speak louder than anything else. And I hired Ralph, and I'm proud of him and want this to work, and I'm glad I hired him. I think he did an awesome job, especially the first three years, and we're gonna try to get back on track here this weekend."
Wise: "In hindsight would you have not given James Franklin the coordinator, a million-dollar bonus to become the head coach, based on things that have transpired?"
Yow: "Well first of all, that's a small bonus. You've got to compare it to the Florida State commitment of $5 million. It's 20 percent of what theirs is. I think I did a pretty good job in the negotiation. The second thing is, it wasn't a me, it was an us. James was gonna go to the NFL, and I said to Coach Friedgen, 'Just tell me, do you or do you not want him to stay? I'm up for it if you want him to stay.' And he said, 'I need him to stay, he's valuable to me, he's important.' And I said, 'Good, let's go do it then.' And we did. And how do I feel about it? We're just playing along here. I don't evaluate stuff in the middle of seasons. I see the big picture and the long-term picture. And there come times when you do that, but this is not that. It just isn't."
Wise: "Could you guarantee on our program Coach Friedgen's job after this season."
Yow: [Three-second pause] "What I can pretty much guarantee is I probably won't be back on this show."
Wise: "Debbie, that's not like an insensitive, tasteless question."
Yow: "You're asking me like an evaluative thing. Ralph has a contract for two more years, not one."
Wise: "Ok, I'm gonna play nice now, I can say that this is not a decision that's been made and you will evaluate this after the season, is that correct?"
Yow: "Like we do all 27 [coaches]. We have this conversation at the end of every season, we look back, we say what do we think about this, tell me what you think about it, we share information and generally we move on from there."
Here are a few more of Yow's quotes from earlier in the segment, when things were only moderately awkward.
On whether the football stadium expansion was too much too fast: "It took six years to get it done. The timing is interesting for building in a state system. Ralph took us to the Orange Bowl and the ACC Championship. And then we went to the Peach Bowl and crushed Tennessee. And then we went to the Gator Bowl, and not that I remember it well, but we beat West Virginia 41-7. And then he said to me the thing he wanted the most and he thought we needed the most was that expansion. So I made the commitment in the spring of 2004....The commitment was made when we were finishing in the top 20 at that point in time."
On whether she's satisfied with the direction of the football program: "I'll tell you what I tell everybody, because this is the way it really is. I'm not an AD who talks about those kind of things generally during the year. We've got 27 sports, and at the end of every season, we sit down and we talk. And I've always done that with Coach Friedgen. I do the same thing with Coach Williams or with Brenda or with anyone. And we're in the season, and of course we'd like to win more. I don't think you're gonna see Ralph or me, either one of us, say yeah we're satisfied. Of course we're not. So far the season has been a disappointment, but the season's not over. Remember, I was a coach first, before I was an administrator, so I know the most important thing right now is the next game. And we've got to keep our focus on that game, and if we do, we'll have a shot at it."
On keeping Maryland football stars in state: "I think that's a question for the head coach, not the athletic director."
On empty suites: "Of course we're concerned....What we'd love to do is sell them all, of course, but we're fighters. Remember, we're still the group that inherited the $51 million debts and we're balancing our budgets and we're still making it. So without sounding like Pollyana, I'm always the glass half full [type]. It's not half-empty, it's half-full, and we'll just figure out how to fill it up."
(The glass, not the stadium. I think.)
On her own job status: "No, I'm not worried. I have a boss. His name is Dr. Dan Mote. He'll let me know if he's pleased with my performance."