Friedgen's fate as Terps' coach is unclear

Maryland is conducting a wide-ranging review of the football program

December 01, 2009|By Jeff Barker | jeff.barker@baltsun.com

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen met with athletic director Deborah Yow for a second day Monday with no announcement on whether he will return for his 10th season.

Yow is believed to be conducting a wide-ranging review of the football program, including an assessment of the team's wins and losses, ticket sales and coaching staff.

There was no indication that any of Friedgen's assistants had been notified of their job status Monday.

An announcement on Friedgen's status could come as early as today.

Friedgen began meeting with Yow on Sunday, the day after Maryland fell, 19-17, to Boston College to complete its first 10-loss season. Friedgen said after the game that he and Yow would meet to "talk about the whole program." He said he told his players he expected to return.

Friedgen, 62, has had four losing seasons in the past six years. Maryland is 66-46 in nine seasons under Friedgen and has been to six bowl games.

The jobs of Friedgen's assistants are also believed to be on the line. Asked about his assistants, Yow replied in an e-mail on Sunday that Friedgen "is the person you should talk to about any potential staff changes, since those choice(s) belong to the respective head coach in each of our 27" sports.

Friedgen could not be reached for comment. Yow did not respond to e-mail questions about Friedgen and his staff Monday night. Brian Ullmann, a senior associate athletics director, could not be reached..

Friedgen's contract gives him a limited right to hire and fire his assistants. "The coach shall have the right to select and retain nine assistant coaches, subject to the approval of the athletic director," the contract says.

The contract, which ends Jan. 2, 2012, is worth about $2 million a year, including a base salary and payments for radio and television appearances, personal appearances and fundraising. Unless Friedgen were fired for cause, the university would need to buy out the balance of his contract if he were let go.

Friedgen's uncertain status has left players and their families waiting and watching for developments.

Al Wujciak, the father of star Maryland linebacker Alex Wujciak, said he has been reading newspapers and trying to get the latest information on the coach. The younger Wujciak was Maryland's only selection on the All-ACC football team announced Monday by the Atlantic Coast Conference Sports Media Association.

"I like Coach Friedgen," the elder Wujciak said. "As far as I know, everybody's happy. Whether he comes back or not is not my decision. It's in someone else's hands."

In February, the university signed an agreement promising to pay $1 million to offensive coordinator James Franklin if he is not elevated to head coach by Jan. 2, 2012.

Franklin's offensive coordinator contract was due to end June 30, 2011. But it was amended in February and now extends until Jan. 2, 2012 - the same day Friedgen's ends. The idea was for Maryland to have a smooth transition from one coach to the next.

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