The coach who took his team to a bowl game and is getting the worst deal this season is Ralph Friedgen. Not even two weeks after he was named ACC Coach of the Year, Maryland tossed Fridge aside, amid rumors Craig James had let Mike Leach out of the locked tool shed. I guess they forgot about the bad old Mark Duffner/Ron Vanderlinden days in College Park.
Friedgen will be on the sidelines a week from today for the Military Bowl at RFK Stadium as Maryland faces East Carolina. Proceeds from the game, the third annual bowl game at RFK, will go to the USO — maybe that and Maryland’s alumni will help draw more than the 23,000 and change who watched last year’s Ice Bowl between UCLA and Temple.
Maryland enters at 8-4 and was second in the ACC Atlantic Division. East Carolina, under first-year coach Ruffin McNeill, finished 6-6 in Conference USA East.
Back to 63-year-old Fridge: Turns out the bowl game might not be his last on the sidelines. He’s considering coaching somewhere, in some capacity next year, even though he got a $2 million check to go away. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe back at Byrd Stadium, who knows?” he said at a news conference Wednesday.
I have a hard time seeing another school plucking him as a head coach, but maybe someone in the ACC (cough, Virginia Tech, cough) who would appreciate an offensive wizard and bring him on board?
I’d also love to see what Fridge could do with some of the talent on the Navy sideline — not that Ken Niumatalolo needs any help calling plays. It could spice up the in-state rivalry, though.