As we await the expected arrival of a pirate in Maryland, there’s still the little matter of the captain currently in place to consider.
And, by all appearances, he isn’t ready to willingly abandon ship just yet.
With rumors coming fast and furious that Ralph Friedgen has been told he would not be back in 2011, and that Mike Leach will become the Terrapins’ next head coach, the Baltimore Sun is reporting that the current head coach has yet to agree with the school’s “suggestion” that he retire. Friedgen, we’ve been told, will likely not retire and will instead force the school to buy him out the final year of his contract.
In yet another sign that Friedgen is all but out the door, the Washington Post reports that athletic director Kevin Anderson told Friedgen’s assistants Saturday that the school would honor the remainder of their contracts regardless of whether or not they were retained by the next head coach. Of course, Anderson is also the same person who released a statement last month very emphatically proclaiming that Friedgen would be the Terps’ head coach in 2011, so the assistants in question might want to take note of the size of Anderson’s nose pre- and post-pledge.
Speaking of Anderson and how he’s managed to so very publicly trip over his own junk while simultaneously stabbing a loyal alum — and reigning ACC Coach of the Year — in the back, one of Friedgen’s coaching peers is none too pleased with how this is being handled.
“This shouldn’t be about who the next guy is. This should be about what they’re doing to Ralph,” Frank Beamer, the Virginia Tech head coach who’s a long-time friend of Friedgen, told the Sun. “When you’ve got a guy who’s a loyal alum, who’s a tremendous football coach and who is responsible for bringing Maryland football back to where it is, something like this should not happen.”
And, as is usually the case, Beamer is 100-percent correct.
Listen, I understand wanting Leach. I get that the fan base was ambivalent to the Terps despite their six-win turnaround in 2010, and that Leach would certainly reenergize the entire football program. I really get all of that.
But, there had to have been a better way for Anderson to handle this. In fact, there could’ve been no worse way for him to handle it. Friedgen has done absolutely nothing to warrant the treatment currently taking place. Nothing, other than bringing Maryland football back to respectability. And then to be allowed to so very publicly twist in the wind? Relatively speaking, it’s heinous.
Anderson should be ashamed of how he’s handled this. “Classless” doesn’t even begin to encompass it. And the university should be embarrassed that the new guy they hired is treating one of their own in such a despicable manner.
Fire Friedgen? Please. Cut the cord on the most powerful person in the athletic department if this is how he’s going to operate.
How can you look your student-athletes in the face and tell them how they should act on and off the field, when the supposed adults in the equation are pulling crap like this? Answer? You can’t.
Anderson has created an absolute and utter mess in College Park, and he’d better hope that Leach can come in and clean it up. Not that Anderson would ever deserve that type of validation for the way he went about it, of course.