Uniforms deal could help Maryland keep Friedgen

Extra $100,000 to $300,000 possible annual reward

College Football

January 10, 2004|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

What Ralph Friedgen has accomplished in his three seasons at the University of Maryland is attracting more than the interest of NFL general managers.

It has also brought the attention of a rising star in the field of sports apparel manufacturing that wants the Terrapins to wear its popular articles.

As discussions continue between Friedgen's representatives and Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow to keep the 56-year old coach at his alma mater, Yow today is expected to announce a new marketing and merchandising deal for the football program.

Earlier this week, The Washington Times reported that Maryland had entered into a business relationship with Under Armour.

The Baltimore-based company is considered the leading manufacturer of sports performance undergarments, and this is believed to be its first venture into uniforms.

Maryland had a previous deal for its football team with Nike, which will continue to outfit the men's basketball team, as well as other teams in College Park. The football team will now have to find another company to sponsor its footwear.

As with many high-profile college coaches whose programs have business relationships with sports apparel companies, Friedgen could profit by the deal with Under Armour. According to The Washington Times, he could make an extra $100,000 to $300,000 annually from the deal.

Neither Friedgen nor Yow could be reached for comment. Kevin Plank, the former Terrapins football player who founded Under Armour, was also unavailable for comment. All are expected to be at the 11 a.m. news conference at Byrd Stadium today.

Friedgen is in the third year of a 10-year contract that pays him a reported $1.2 million annually. After the team's third straight 10-win season - the Terps finished 10-3 after beating West Virginia, 41-7, in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 - Friedgen's name surfaced for a number of NFL head coaching jobs.

Speculation that he was a candidate for the Atlanta Falcons' position after last month's firing of Dan Reeves spurred the talks about a new contract with Maryland.

Friedgen immediately quieted the rumors about coaching the Falcons, only to see his name come up again this week with the Chicago Bears.

Again, he said publicly that he is staying at Maryland.

In a statement made through the school's sports information office, Yow called her recent discussions with Friedgen and his agent, Jack Reale of Atlanta, "productive," and said he coach was "in the midst of considering those discussions."

Yow went on to say that, "I am confident that he understands and appreciates the commitment of the university to him personally and to the continuing development of our football program. Hopefully, the process will be successfully completed soon."

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