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Despite recent three-year extension, Edsall fired at Maryland

By Staff | Oct 16, 2015

Maryland and new athletic director Kevin Anderson brought in Randy Edsall to coach football following the firing of mostly popular coach Ralph Friedgen.

Anderson was in College Park following a tenure at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. Edsall had been at Connecticut for some time and had a career record of 74-70 with the Huskies.

In the aftermath of the 2010 season where Friedgen’s last team had gone 9-4 and defeated East Carolina in the Military Bowl, his time at Maryland was over when he was paid about $2 million not to coach the team by the outgoing athletic director who was going back to her alma mater, North Carolina State.

Friedgen had started his years at Maryland with an ACC championship and visit to the Orange Bowl. Before he came to Maryland, the Terps had three coaches whose combined winning percentage was 37 percent. “The Fridge” lost one game his first year and visited bowls in his first three seasons.

Edsall and athletic director Anderson had to get through a 2-10 losing season in 2011. That smudge-filled season was followed by a 4-8 record in 2012. But Anderson had a tall, lean coach with a strong jaw and a close-cropped haircut. He had a ramrod straight carriage and his platitudes to the media were there in place of wins.

Maryland was 7-6 with bowl loss the next year and had the same 7-6 record and a bowl loss last season.

The 2014 season may have set in place a movement of disgruntled people because the Terps lost a regular-season finale to Rutgers after holding a 25-point lead at one time. Ralph Friedgen was the offensive coordinator at Rutgers.

There was no tidal wave of disfavor chasing Edsall’s job. But Anderson saw fit to give the coach with a 20-30 record at the school a three-year contract extension on June 30, 2015.

Friedgen’s .600 winning percentage wasn’t good enough. But Edsall’s .400 winning percentage was worth a three-year extension.

Where Edsall’s ship began taking on too much water was in this season’s second game where Bowling Green State thumped by the Terps by 21 points in College Park.

Following a home-field win against South Florida, Maryland was trounced 45-6 by West Virginia in the Terps’ first road game of the year. Michigan visited Curly Byrd Stadium and applied a 28-0 tourniquet loss to the Edsall offense.

Maryland was made a 35-point underdog in its game at top-ranked Ohio State . . . and word suddenly was all over the media that Edsall might not survive the season . . . might not even accompany the team on its mission to stop the Buckeyes in Columbus.

Edsall did accompany the underdog Terrapins, who saw a close game degenerate into a four-touchdown Ohio State lead before Maryland scored against a complete version of Ohio State reserves to fall, 49-28.

There were those who wrote that Maryland had tried hard against Ohio State. Why would anybody be surprised that a college team with prideful athletes would actually try hard on national television against the No.-1 ranked team in the country? If they didn’t try hard that afternoon, when would they ever try hard?

Edsall was fired on Monday of this week. He is owed about $2.6 million by the Maryland athletic department. Owed money not to coach the team the same as Friedgen, who actually brought the program back from the Prince Georges County graveyard, had been paid not to coach after winning .600 of his games over a 10-year span.

Edsall left with a 22-34 overall record and 2-4 this year with a three-game losing streak and wins over Richmond and South Florida.

His hair is still closely cropped, and his carriage is still straight and upright and he looks the part of someone you might see on the grounds at the U.S. Military Academy (known as “Army” in college football circles) . . . but he couldn’t win enough football games or avoid lopsided losses to West Virginia, Michigan or Ohio State in his last three games as the replacement for portly Ralph Friedgen.