On the left, new Penn State Coach James Franklin. On the right, new Houston Texans Coach Bill O’Brien.
One was Maryland’s wide receivers coach in 2004. One was Maryland’s running backs coach. The Terps finished 5-6 that year, but dang if they didn’t produce some high-powered coaching prospects.
The topic actually was raised during Franklin’s introductory news conference at Penn State. Via the York Daily Record:
Q. Everybody knows you coached with [Bill O’Brien] on the same staff at Maryland. I read somewhere you guys were friends. Have you kept a relationship throughout this time, and especially this past week and the couple weeks leading up here did you maybe bounce some things off him and find some things out?
Franklin: Yeah, me and Billy [O’Brien] were on the same staff. We kind of were brought up in this profession under Ralph Friedgen. Billy was with him at Georgia Tech, and I was with him at the University of Maryland, and we were able to get back together at the University of Maryland. Me and Billy lived in the same neighborhood. Colleen [O’Brien] and my wife are good friends. They’ve spoken this week about the most important thing, which is school districts and houses. I think Billy and Colleen think they’re slick. I think they’re really just trying to get us to buy their house.
But they’re a great resource for us; there is no doubt about it. We know each other very well. He’s got a big job to do. I have a big job to do, so I don’t want to spend too much time bothering him. But it is a tremendous resource for us….
I’ve had a lot of influences. Debbie Yow the athletics director at N.C. State and [Vanderbilt athletics director] David Williams, those two will be mentors and friends for the rest of my life. Ralph Friedgen had a huge impact on me. When I worked for Ralph, Ralph was in Sports Illustrated as the No. 1 mind in College Football. And I remember saying to him, Ralph, everybody says you’re a genius. He goes I’m not a genius, I just outprepare people, and that had a big impact on me.
(Thanks to @DMartinCSN and Reader Danny, who further notes that Maryland’s offensive coordinator back then was Charlie Taaffe, now the offensive coordinator at Central Florida, whose team finished 12-1 and hung 52 points on Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.)