Head-coaching jobs at Colorado, Minnesota and North Texas have already come open, and there will undoubtedly be several more vacancies once the dust of the 2010 regular season settles. However, we now know of at least one school that officially won’t be hanging a “Vacancy” sign outside its coach’s office.
According to a press release issued by the school, Maryland has announced that Ralph Friedgen will return as the Terrapins head coach in 2011. Yes, The Friedge will be back for an 11th season at the school.
“Based largely on the improved performance of our team and student-athletes this season, Coach Friedgen will be our head football coach next year,” athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “Once this season is complete, Ralph and I will sit down to discuss the current state and future of the program. Right now, the team’s focus will be on winning the 2010 ACC championship and a bowl game, which our coaching staff and student-athletes have put themselves in position to do. We hope our fans, students and alums will come out and support us in the effort.”
Based on the rumblings coming into the season — Friedgen was all but fired regardless of what he did this year — the move comes as a surprise. Based on how Friedgen has started righting the football ship, however, it shouldn’t.
After ten games in 2009, the Terps were struggling at 2-8 and it was thought the coach might not make it through the season let alone the offseason (thank you, $4 million buyout). Fast-forward a year, and Friedgen has his team sitting at 7-3, bowl eligible and still with a very legitimate shot at a berth in the ACC title game; if Maryland wins their last two games — home contests against Florida State and North Carolina State — they will represent the Atlantic division in Charlotte come early December.
“I’m excited about the direction of our program,” Friedgen said in his statement. “We have a great of bunch of kids and a tremendous staff. I’m thankful for all the hard work they have put into this season. Right now we’re just concentrating on Florida State.”
Friedgen is 73-45 in ten-plus season with the Terps. This year marks the seventh time his teams have been bowl eligible.