Speculation about Friedgen's job after loss

Maryland suffers ninth defeat of season

November 22, 2009|By Jeff Barker | jeff.barker@baltsun.com

COLLEGE PARK — Ralph Friedgen declined to speculate about his future as Maryland football coach on Sunday -- one week before he is expected to meet with athletic director Deborah Yow to assess his performance and the state of the football program.

Friedgen was asked during his weekly media conference call whether he anticipated returning after his worst season at Maryland. The Terps are 2-9 (1-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) and will be trying to avoid the first double-digit-loss season in school history when they host Boston College (7-4, 4-3 ACC) Saturday in their final game.

The Terps' 29-26 loss to Florida State in the game's final minute this weekend was the team's sixth straight. The defeat also made this squad the first Terps team since 1997 to lose nine games in a season.

"I don't even want to get into that right now, and I want to keep the focus on Boston College," Friedgen said.

His lawyer has acknowledged the rising speculation about the coach's job security but said this weekend that Friedgen expects to return next season.

Friedgen is expected to meet with Yow as early as the Sunday after the game to review a host of issues, including his 66-45 record and Byrd Stadium ticket sales over his nine seasons. The coach entered the season ranked eighth all time in career winning percentage by ACC coaches. But his teams had losing records in three of the five years before this one.

Yow plans to address players and staff during the football team's regular meeting this morning.

In an e-mail to The Baltimore Sun, Yow said she asked to attend the meeting only "to thank everyone there for their efforts this season and to encourage them to try as best they can to stay focused on game preparations for [Saturday's Boston College] game."

Yow reiterated in the e-mail what she has said previously: that Friedgen, like all coaches, would be evaluated after the season.

Friedgen, who makes about $2 million a year, has two more seasons remaining on his contract. A half-dozen boosters interviewed by The Sun said they knew of no private efforts to raise money to buy out his contract, but they did not rule out that the university might come up with the funds on its own if Friedgen were let go.

In February, Yow signed a contract promising that the university would pay offensive coordinator James Franklin $1 million if he is not named to succeed Friedgen by early January 2012.

Friedgen said the team, one of the youngest he has been involved with, played better in Saturday's loss to Florida State than in previous weeks.

"I'm just appreciative and proud of them," he said. "I'm proud to be their coach, and I'm proud to be associated with them."

Players said Friedgen is keeping them focused.

"Every week, he's been trying to keep us positive," defensive back Antwine Perez said, "and keep us upbeat and keep pushing."

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