“Randy Edsall is our football coach and he will be on the sideline Saturday for Ohio State,” spokesman Zack Bolno said by telephone.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also indicated that the fifth-year coach may be losing support in his locker room. No players have publicly denounced Edsall, but questions of dissent arose after the Terrapins held a players-only meeting without Edsall’s knowledge three days after a 45-6 loss to West Virginia on Sept. 26.
On a brief conference call Thursday, Edsall deflected a question about his job security.
“The only reaction that I have to anything is what I said on Tuesday. My whole focus and concern is working with our student-athletes to making them the best people, the best students, the best athletes that they can be,” Edsall said. “That’s all I’m worried about. I don’t read anything, see anything and I’m just more worried about playing Ohio State.”
Criticism among fans and donors has been building as the team has struggled to a 2-3 record with losses by 21, 39 and 28 points. One high-level donor, who spoke under the condition of anonymity earlier this week, said he was among a group of boosters who have threatened to cancel their season tickets should Edsall remain the coach. That donor notified Athletic Director Kevin Anderson of his intent to pull funding after the team’s 48-27 loss to Bowling Green last month.
While Edsall maintained powerful support from several boosters before the blowout loss to West Virginia, another high-level booster, who spoke under a condition of anonymity, said this week that it has become more difficult for the administration to solicit donations for the renovation of Cole Field House with Edsall remaining on the sideline. The $155 million project, introduced last fall and slated to be completed by 2017, would make Maryland the last Big Ten football program to have an indoor football facility.
Edsall is just four months removed from signing a three-year contract extension that guarantees him only $500,000 upon the expiration of his initial deal with the school, which runs through January 2017. In order to terminate Edsall’s contract, Maryland would have to pay the fifth-year coach the remaining $2.1 million on his contract for this season, plus a buyout of $2.6 million — his base pay for next season plus the guaranteed portion of his extension.
The extension was given in part to allow Edsall to maintain a talented 2016 recruiting class. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins, a four-star recruit from the Bullis School in Maryland who committed in May and is considered the centerpiece of the class, reaffirmed his commitment to the university on Thursday.
Tino Ellis, a four-star receiver at high school power DeMatha, also tweeted in support of “The Movement,” a label Edsall helped craft to help lure homegrown talent to Maryland. The Terrapins have four local four-star recruits as part of the 2016 class, which according to ESPN is the 35th best in the country. Neither Haskins nor Ellis referenced Edsall in their tweets on Thursday.
247Sports.com reported Thursday that Maryland athletic officials are likely to move forward with a plan to fire Edsall following Saturday’s game, barring a last-minute reversal.
Maryland has been outscored 73-6 by West Virginia and Michigan the past two weeks and enters Saturday’s game against No. 1 Ohio State as a 33-point underdog. The Terrapins entered the season having shown some improvement under Edsall, coming off with the program’s first back-to-back winning years since 2002. But Edsall, who inherited a team that went 9-4 the year before he took over, has not recorded more than seven victories in a season and is yet to win a bowl game in his College Park tenure. He has a 22-33 overall record with the Terrapins.
Maryland’s attendance has also dipped dramatically. A year after the program enjoyed a 30 percent increase in season ticket sales in its inaugural season in the Big Ten, Maryland has suffered one of the five largest year-over-year attendance decreases among Power Five conference schools this season, according to an analysis conducted by CBSSports.com. Maryland has endured a 13 percent drop in attendance.