In the same week the school lost their head football coach in waiting (James Franklin) to Vanderbilt, the University of Maryland is reportedly set to buy out the remainder of Ralph Friedgen’s current contract, bringing an end to the Friedgen era in College Park, Maryland. Friedgen would be due $2 million if Maryland opted to fire him
The Washington Post says that new athletic director at Maryland Kevin Anderson declined to guarantee that Friedgen would return for the 2011 season, the final year on his contract, during a teleconference on Friday. One month ago Anderson was on record of saying Friedgen would return next season. “I will sit down and everybody will understand where we are going and how we are moving with the program,” Anderson said on Friday when asked about Friedgen’s future in the program. “At this point in time, I am not going to answer that question.”
Friedgen, the 2010 ACC Coach of the Year, is expected to coach Maryland in the 2010 Military Bowl against East Carolina on December 29 but early reports cannot confirm whether or not Friedgen will accept that offer or not. The school asked him to coach the team through the bowl game.
With no coach in waiting within the program any more there is some early speculation that former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is a leading candidate for the upcoming vacancy. Leach has a relationship with Under Armor founder and significant donor to Maryland’s athletic programs Kevin Plank. Leach’s agent has told reporters he has not been contacted by Maryland yet.
Maryland is expected to officially announce the plans for the future of the football program early next week.