Now I wasn’t really planning on writing a post about this but I figured since it’s the big news in our home state and is being pretty widely talked about I can give my take (that is the purpose of a blog after all). I have worked at several major universities, University of Maryland being one of them, and I actually worked in athletics there for about a year and a half from 2006-07. So I have a little bit of insight into this, just a little. And now that I’ve read up on this whole thing it makes sense.
So here’s my take on this whole firing/buy out: Debbie Yow, the former Athletic Director, wanted Ralph Friedgen gone. I think just about everyone on campus knew that but for whatever reason she wasn’t able to make it happen. Yow goes home to NC State and Kevin Anderson is hired to replace her. Anderson was the athletic director for the Army and I sense that he did not like how Fridge had been handling things, at the very least. Coupled with the fact that UMD recently hired a new president, Wallace Loh, a new regime began. The heir apparent to coach Terps football, James Franklin, left for Vanderbilt right before Fridge entered the final year of his contract. The stars aligned.
Here’s what I know: A majority of the football players hated Fridge and I mean HATED him! Yes, I have heard that this can be the coach’s approach and it works for some. I don’t think it worked there. It was clear that there was a lot of discontent and quite a few kids had a falling out with him. I don’t think that’s the culture you want among your squad, but that’s just me. Also…dude was lazy! He just was. I was so happy to hear of all that weight he lost but while I was there I only saw him leave his office once or twice. Plus, he had a golf cart right outside his office door that he would use to travel around campus. That had to carry over into his work at some point. And I just got the feeling that he didn’t care and I wasn’t even a student! Lastly, recruiting needed improvement. I don’t think the really serious Terp fans will ever forget the decision to pass on Steve Slaton for Morgan Green (no offense Morgan, I like the dude but the numbers don’t lie).
Now I’m not denying Fridge’s contributions, along with his wife, to the University. They both are graduates of UMD. His wife, Gloria, is a huge asset to the University community and actually works on campus. Fridge has taken the Terps to several bowl games in his ten year career at Maryland and has previously won ACC Coach of the Year honors, among many others. I definitely do think it sucks he was axed after winning ACC Coach of the Year for the second time. Unfortunately, it is time to bid adieu to Fridge but I am definitely thankful for all that he and his wife have done for the University and athletics. I am a little scared of what Mike Leach (if hired) means for the Terps, he seems like a crazy mofo at times, but I am hopeful and wishful that great times are ahead for the Terps.
Fear the Turtle!