Coach Meyer: Terps Had to Fire Friedgen
With Ron Meyer
THE TIME HAD COME AT MARYLAND TO END THE FRIEDGEN ERA
I always feel badly for coaches who have to endure embarrassing endings to their tenure. Even if an unqualified coach is fired because he just wasn't good enough, I know how hard he was working...how much he cared...how he lived and breathed for the sport that I love.
It's been really tough the past few years for veteran coaches who are just kind of "there." They're not so bad that it's obvious they should be fired. They're not so great that it's obvious they should be given a lifetime contract. If a man stays in limbo like that for many years, it becomes harder and harder to fire him because he's given so much to the university. He's been loyal. Now the administration looks like the bad guys for ending his tenure.
Bobby Bowden stayed on too long at Florida State. Now everyone's glad me left when he did (except for Bowden, who's STILL complaining!). Dave Wannstedt left Pittsburgh on his own terms because the was about to be asked to leave on somebody else's terms! Friedgen was given the same option as Wannstedt at Maryland apparently. He didn't want to go graciously. He wanted to let everyone know he was being forced out when he didn't want to leave.
Here's why Friedgen's tenure should have ended:
Maryland wants to be a national player in this sport, not somebody who becomes bowl eligible half the time but stays home the other half. That's a seven-year record of 43-42, which isn't going to wow anybody. Sure, Friedgen once represented the "cutting edge" of college football offenses. That was in 2001-2003. Defenses caught up, and he had nothing left up his sleeve.
I should also mention that Maryland usually schedules pretty soft in non-ACC play. They weren't as good as that seven-year record suggests. Let's look only at conference records:
That's an ACC record of 24-32...way below .500 in a conference that is competitive, but not winning national championships.
That's not enough for a program like Maryland that expects to compete for ACC championships and go to a bowl every year. And, it's not like Friedgen was about to develop a new revolutionary offense that was going to turn his fortunes around. That boat had already sailed.
Most importantly to me, there was a good chance for Maryland to lure Mike Leach into the position because of business relationships the school has with sponsors. Leach would be a GREAT hire at a place like Maryland. He would immediately rejuvenate the fan base and excite potential recruits.
A sense of urgency was added to the process when a key Maryland assistant took the Vanderbilt job, and immediately offered jobs to other Maryland assistants. 2011 was about to be a disaster for the Terps. There really was no other decision.
Friedgen will be allowed to coach Maryland's bowl game December 29th against East Carolina. I'll be watching media coverage of the preliminaries very closely. If the players get fired up to send Friedgen out in style, they may win big. If an attitude takes hold that Friedgen doesn't matter any more, and NEXT year is when things are going to get exciting...then underdog East Carolina may have a surprisingly easy time of it.
I told you before the bowls started that coaching storylines would play a huge role in how late December and early January would unfold. That's been the case so far...and the bowls are just beginning!
I think it's VITAL that you have a coach helping you pick games on a nightly basis through the bowl season. If you're losing on your own, I can make you a winner. If you're a winner, I can help you WIN MORE! I understand the dynamics involved here better than any other handicapper because I'm the only man in the industry who's been on the sidelines and in the locker rooms. Oddsmakers have their Power Ratings. Stat guys have their computer programs. I KNOW WHAT REALLY WINS AND LOSES BIG FOOTBALL GAMES!
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Don't settle for mediocre results because you knew how to pick winners back in 2002. It's time for YOU to put A COACH IN YOUR CORNER!
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