There is little doubt that Maryland Coach Randy Edsall’s first season in College Park didn’t go as planned. The Terrapins went from 9-4 in 2010 under former Coach Ralph Friedgen to 2-10 this past year, and dealt with heavy criticism from fans and reporters alike as 24 players decided to leave the program by the beginning of this year’s spring practice.
But the man who brought Edsall to College Park indicated Friday that some of the struggles on-and-off the field were out of the new coach’s control. In an interview on SiriusXM’s “College Football Playbook,” Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson said the handling of Friedgen’s firing left Edsall in a bind.
“The first thing that I must admit is that Randy came in where the circumstances were a no-win situation for him,” Anderson said when co-host Rick Neuheisel asked about supporting Edsall this season. “I had another coach here, and either the fans liked him or didn’t like him, but the way things happened and transpired, whoever I was bringing in here was probably going to have difficulty unless it was Jesus Christ, to be honest with you.”
Anderson then contrasted the situation to the Maryland men’s basketball program when Gary Williams announced his retirement in May 2011. Anderson said he believes Williams’s decision to “endorse” the hiring of Coach Mark Turgeon led to Turgeon being “embraced and loved” by the Terrapins fanbase.
“I don’t think it was fair for Randy from the very beginning. Then we had a difficult season,” Anderson said. “It was unacceptable for both Randy and myself, but the thing is we had some challenges there. We’ve faced them and we’re dealing with them head on.”
Despite Edsall’s rocky start, Anderson believes the program’s recent recruiting success shows Maryland football is on the upswing. Since Edsall brought offensive coordinator Mike Locksley back to College Park, the Terrapins have made notable progress recruiting the Washington area.
“If Randy wasn’t a good coach and people didn’t see where we’re taking this program, I don’t think we would have had the caliber of recruits coming in this year,” Anderson said. “Then we have commits for next year that if Randy wasn’t a good coach and running a good program, I don’t think they’d already be saying, ‘Hey, I want to come be part of this.’ ”