Maryland hires Edsall

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Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 3, 2011

Two weeks ago, Kevin Anderson, Maryland's first-year athletic director, explained his decision to fire Ralph Friedgen as the school's football coach in part by stating that he no longer believed Friedgen could take the Terrapins program from "good to great."

On Monday, Anderson will introduce Randy Edsall of Connecticut as the 34th head football coach in Maryland history, a decision that struck a significant portion of the program's fan base - including many prominent athletic department donors - as the antithesis of the athletic director's stated goal.

Edsall met briefly Sunday night with the holdovers from Friedgen's coaching staff and informed them he planned to bring three members of his staff at Connecticut - offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, running backs coach Terry Richardson and special teams coordinator Lyndon Johnson - with him to College Park, according to a person with knowledge of the discussion.

The source said Edsall told the Maryland coaches he would keep an open mind in regard to keeping the rest of them on board. Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown has interviewed for the same position at Vanderbilt, as well as for the head coaching position at Elon, according to the source.

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach was considered a front-runner until late last week but his chances diminished considerably within the past 48 hours, according to four individuals with knowledge of the situation. Three of the sources are close to the Maryland athletic department; one is close to Leach.

Regarding Leach, one person with knowledge of the school's search for a new head football coach said Maryland "got cold feet."

"They wanted to make the conservative, safe, non-confrontational hire," this individual said. "That's the bottom line."

The source and others contacted for this story did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly on behalf of Maryland, Edsall or Leach.

Edsall, 52, compiled a 74-70 record in 12 seasons at Connecticut, including five bowl appearances and a share of two Big East titles.

The Huskies concluded an 8-5 campaign with a 48-20 loss Saturday in the Fiesta Bowl, their first Bowl Championship Series berth in program history.

The 2010 Big East coach of the year, Edsall stands as the winningest coach in Connecticut program history and the one who guided the Huskies through the transition from division I-AA status. He was 1-16 against ranked opponents during his time at Connecticut.

Edsall, who signed a five-year contract with the Huskies in February 2008, will owe Connecticut a $400,000 buyout. His base salary for the past season was $350,000.


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