The Maryland football team’s inaugural season in the Big Ten was already overflowing with story lines, from its first sojourn away from the ACC to a matchup with former offensive coordinator James Franklin at Penn State. On Tuesday evening, another narrative was thrown into the pot and it just might be the juiciest of all.
According to several media reports, citing unnamed sources, former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen is expected to become the new offensive coordinator for Rutgers, the other school officially migrating to the Big Ten on July 1. The Terps host the Scarlet Knights in the regular-season finale at Byrd Stadium, where Friedgen spent 10 seasons, on Nov. 29.
Despite being named the ACC coach of the year and leading Maryland to a 9-4 record, Friedgen was fired following the 2010 season and quickly slid into retirement. The separation was not amicable, as Friedgen told Baltimore radio station WNST in Sept. 2011, “I could care less about Maryland. I’ve burned my diploma. I’m flying a Georgia Tech flag right now.”
Later, in the summer of 2012, Friedgen issued a statement urging Maryland to “[look] forward to the future and [dedicate] their energies to continue to forge ahead as a world-class University and successful football program without demeaning the accomplishments of those who came before.”
Most recently, Friedgen returned to the sidelines in coaching the Medal of Honor Bowl in Charleston, S.C., where several former players like quarterback Danny O’Brien, running back D.J. Adams and linebacker Marcus Whitfield participated in the seniors-only event. In an interview with CBSSports, Friedgen said he still watches every Maryland game and had pondered coaching again.
“I’ve talked to people,” Friedgen told the Web site in late December. “I’ve turned down some situations. If it was something that really excited me, I’d get back into it. I just haven’t really found that yet. There have been a couple of things that my agent thought I should get involved with, but those didn’t just really excite me.”
In his decade in College Park, Friedgen, an alumnus and former offensive lineman in the 1960s, went 75-50 with seven bowl appearances, including the Orange Bowl after the 2001 season. Before he was fired, Maryland lost Franklin, the once-presumed coach-in-waiting, to the head coaching job at Vanderbilt and hired Randy Edsall, who has gone 13-24 in three seasons.
According to CBSSports, Friedgen was first contacted by Rutgers “a week ago to gauge his interest in making his return to coaching.”
Under Coach Kyle Flood, Rutgers is also in the process of selecting a new defensive coordinator. Among the candidates? Former Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden.