Cosh comes to Terps' defense

K-State aide returns to UM as coordinator

College football


Former Kansas State assistant coach Chris Cosh has been hired as Maryland's new defensive coordinator, coach Ralph Friedgen announced yesterday.

Cosh, a native of Washington and a graduate of Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, will replace Gary Blackney, who retired at the end of the Terps' 5-6 season.

"It's good to be back home," said Cosh, who coached Maryland's linebackers in 1997. "It's a thrill for me and my family. It's not too often you come back home twice in a career."

Friedgen said he had not known Cosh, who called him about the job, and athletics director Debbie Yow "vaguely remembered him" from his one-year stint as an assistant. Cosh is the first coordinator Friedgen has hired in his five seasons as head coach.

"I went through a pretty extensive search the last two weeks and met Chris a week ago and was very impressed with him," Friedgen said. "I think he has a wealth of knowledge. He's from this area. He's been very well-received from the high school coaches in this area. I look for him to help with recruiting, and I know he'll do a tremendous job with our defense."

Cosh, 46, has coached at nine different schools - including Maryland - where he was also recruiting coordinator. He will coach the Terps' inside linebackers next season, and assistant Tim Banks, a former cornerback, will head the secondary.

Friedgen said he interviewed three candidates and was going to see a fourth but decided on Cosh first. He would not disclose the terms of the contract.

Cosh spent the past two seasons coaching linebackers at Kansas State, where a school spokesman said he was not retained by the recently hired Ron Prince. Like the Terps, K-State finished 5-6 this season. Its defense ranked 32nd nationally, allowing 128.9 yards per game.

Friedgen said he had considered hiring somebody from within, but liked Cosh's experience as a defensive coordinator. He most recently held the position at South Carolina in 2003. In his first and only season leading Lou Holtz's defense, Cosh ran a 4-3 scheme and the Gamecocks allowed opponents 368 yards per game. Cosh and three other assistants were fired following a 63-17 loss to Clemson in the season finale.

Still, Friedgen said he spoke with Holtz, who gave Cosh a favorable recommendation.

"I told Chris I was trying to find someone who would give him a bad report, but I couldn't find one," Friedgen said.

Cosh also served as Nick Saban's defensive coordinator at Michigan State in 1998, and was in charge of defense at Illinois during the 1995-96 season.

He said he will structure Maryland's defense to match its personnel.

"We're going to be an attacking, aggressive style defense and it's going to be based on people, fundamentals, pursuit and toughness," Cosh said in a teleconference yesterday.

Cosh, a former linebacker at Virginia Tech, graduated in 1983. He has two sons and a wife, Mary, who will stay with them in Manhattan, Kan., until the school year is over.

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