WASHINGTON — Quarterback Danny O'Brien — the Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year — said Wednesday that he will remain at Maryland despite the ouster of head coach Ralph Friedgen.
O'Brien, a redshirt freshman, was close not only with Friedgen but with offensive coordinator James Franklin, who left last week to become the head coach at Vanderbilt. There was speculation that O'Brien might wait to see who Maryland hired next before committing to returning.
"I'm going to stay," O'Brien said. "I came to Maryland to graduate from Maryland. That's still my primary goal."
O'Brien completed 179 of 315 passes for 2,257 yards and 21 touchdowns — the most touchdown passes by a Terps quarterback since Scott Milanovich with 26 in 1993. After the events of the past week, O'Brien said he was happy to be practicing again as the team prepares for the Military Bowl against East Carolina next Wednesday.
"I think the easiest part was being back on the field," he said. "Just doing the regular weekly preparation was the most calming thing. We want to send coach Friedgen out with a win."
Also on Wednesday, former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said he has not yet been contacted by Maryland about replacing Friedgen.
Leach, who says he wants to return to coaching, is on Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson's list of candidates.
Asked by the Baltimore Sun if he had been contacted by Maryland, Leach texted back early Wednesday evening: "Not yet."
Maryland announced the hiring of DHR International, a large executive search firm with a growing sports practice, to aid in its search to replace Friedgen.
Pat Richter, former athletic director at the University of Wisconsin, is DHR's lead consultant on the search, according to a news release.
Senior associate athletic director and chief financial officer Randy Eaton will serve as chairman of the search committee.