After largely remaining quiet since being fired by Maryland after the 2010 season, former Terrapins football coach Ralph Friedgen sent a statement to reporters Tuesday defending his accomplishments during 10 years leading the program and ended it by taking aim at the administrators that forced him out.
“We would appreciate the current administration looking forward to the future and dedicating their energies to continue to forge ahead as a world-class University and successful football program without demeaning the accomplishments of those who came before,” Friedgen wrote in an e-mail to the Baltimore Sun.
“People need to move on. I’m not there to throw under the bus,” Friedgen later told The Washington Post’s Steve Yanda when reached by telephone. “I put in a lot of hard years at Maryland and gave it everything I had. It’s just time to let it go.”
Friedgen led Maryland to a 9-4 mark in 2010 and was named the ACC’s coach of the year, but Athletic Director Kevin Anderson fired him before the Terrapins played in the Military Bowl when Friedgen refused to retire following the 2011 season. Anderson had previously indicated Friedgen would return for 2011.
Friedgen amassed a 75-50 overall record after returning to his alma mater in 2001 and led the Terrapins to an ACC title and seven bowl games.
“I can tell you right now that people made choices, and everybody that was involved in that made a choice,” Anderson said in reference to Friedgen’s firing last week in a radio interview.
Anderson hired Randy Edsall to replace Friedgen, and during a season that featured sloppy play on the field and locker room unrest off it, Maryland saw its record fall to 2-10. The Terrapins have seen a significant number of players leave the program since Edsall arrived and were picked to finish last in the ACC’s Atlantic Division at the conference’s annual kickoff event this week.
Edsall criticized his predecessor at times last season by calling into question the “accountability” within the program after his arrival. He also had to deal with the loss of scholarships and practice time because of poor academic performance and self-reported secondary violations during the end of Friedgen’s tenure.
Friedgen addressed some of those issues in his statement, calling Maryland’s academic support staff “short-handed” and lauding his players’off-field achievements.
Friedgen also pointed to his personal and financial support of the university over the years and listed the various awards and accolades former Maryland players have earned since coming through his program.
“My only regret was to not have the opportunity to coach the fine young men of the 2011 team to the end of their college careers,” Friedgen wrote.