Page 2 of 3   <       >

Fired Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen deserved better from his alma mater

But they just couldn't see fit to keep a guy who had taken them to seven bowls in 10 years after Maryland had been to 17 bowls in, yes, 108 years before his arrival.

It would be one thing to remove him after 2-10, his career nadir, last season. But after a rebound season of 8-4 with relatively the same players, a team that was a red-zone score against Florida State away from a chance to play for the ACC title and a spot in the Orange Bowl?

And after originally being told by the new athletic director he would return for 2011, the man who made the Terrapins an actual part of the national college football conversation again has to find out via ESPN, before he can even tell his own players? If that's how the Terps treat alumni, no wonder so many former graduates don't want to fork over big dollars to ensure no kid ever leaves the state for Happy Valley or Blacksburg.

"Pretty insensitive," said Friedgen of the way in which his ouster was handled.

Asked if any university officials have stopped by this week to either offer condolences or congratulations, he said, "Haven't seen a one."

On the guy who officially axed him, Kevin Anderson, the former athletic director at Army who was named the head of Maryland athletics in September: "Basically he's telling me he doesn't think I can do the job, but what has he done?

"The guy's been here a couple months," Friedgen added. "I don't know if he understands our culture, what we're about. Maryland is a different situation than a lot of schools. Every kid is not going to Maryland from around here.

"Do I wish I did a better job of bringing some alumni in? Yeah. But it's so tough to get them involved. Someone should tell Kevin: 'You're going to have to change a lot of things here other than coaches. So many things.' "

Friedgen isn't prepared to buy the theory that another Kevin is really running the athletic department, Under Armour's Kevin Plank, the former Maryland special-teams captain who now spearheads the athletic apparel giant. But, the coach added, if it came out that Under Armour funds were used to buy out the remaining year of Friedgen's contract, "I'd be disappointed."

"If they are involved, I'm pretty disappointed in it," said Friedgen, who has exchanged messages with Plank but has yet to speak with him. "I consider Kevin a friend. I was behind him from the beginning. Made one of his first commercials. So, yeah, I'd be disappointed."

Friedgen also knows what's done is done. Wherever the money came from, Mr. "You Must Protect This House" has been asked to vacate his office at the Gossett Team House, leave the only place where he really wanted to play or coach college football.

The players asked him to attend the team banquet, which he acknowledges might be complicated for the new coach. But he wants to be there.

<       2        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company