Friedgen: Naming-Rights Deal a Major Step

Byrd Stadium
The University's football stadium will be known as Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium beginning this season. (Jonathan Newton - The Washington Post)
By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 25, 2006

Moments after being called a blue-chip recruit by university president C. Daniel Mote Jr., Chevy Chase Bank chief executive B. Francis Saul II smiled and accepted a red Maryland football jersey.

An audience of bank and school officials, joined by Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., looked on as Saul inspected the large No. 1 and his last name emblazoned on the back of the gift.

"We'll get you in the game," Terrapins Coach Ralph Friedgen joked. "You've earned that right."

Saul and Friedgen helped formally announce a 25-year, $20 million stadium naming-rights deal between Chevy Chase Bank and the university.

The windfall from the agreement, along with $35 million borrowed from the state, will provide the funding needed for a long-planned expansion project that will add 66 luxury suites and other amenities to the newly renamed Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium.

Officials said a search has started for an architect for the $50 million project. Athletic officials hope construction begins after the 2007 season and will be completed in 2009.

Friedgen called the deal a major step in building a national championship-caliber football program.

"This is going to send a message about where we're going -- not just as a football program, but as a school," he said. "There are going to be a lot of recruits listening to this who now know where we're going. That goal is still to win a national championship. I'm not backing down from that."

Large signs representing Chevy Chase Bank will be displayed in several major parts of the stadium, including both scoreboards, the Tyser Tower press box and on both sidelines. The name change also will be reflected in highway signage, said Brian Ullmann, associate athletic director for external operations.

"It's a big price tag," said Pat Clancy, Chevy Chase's executive vice president. "But the benefits are long-term and the benefits are to the community."

As part of the deal, the bank will be given a luxury suite at the stadium. Ullmann said the athletic department could also create promotional deals for Chevy Chase account holders.

Terrapins Notes: The kicking situation has taken another turn, with Friedgen declaring the race a dead heat. Incumbent Dan Ennis, who fell behind Obi Egekeze, connected on his only attempt from 42 yards during yesterday's scrimmage. Egekeze, who pulled ahead in the competition for the job earlier this week, hit a 43-yarder early in the scrimmage but later missed from 37. . . .

Quarterbacks Sam Hollenbach and Jordan Steffy turned in productive scrimmages. Hollenbach went 14 for 20 for 124 yards while Steffy finished 10 for 13 with 115 yards and a touchdown. . . .

Bobby Sheahin, who had been the team's No. 3 quarterback, didn't play in the scrimmage because of a shoulder injury suffered last week. Friedgen said the third-string job has fallen to redshirt freshman Chris Turner. . . .

Cornerback Isaiah Gardner (shoulder) and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (shoulder) sat out the scrimmage with injuries. Friedgen also held out linebacker Erin Henderson (knee) as a precaution.

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