Franklin to Replace Friedgen (Eventually)

2/6/2009 3:44:54 PM I just finished listening to the Maryland Football press conference where it was announced that Offensive Coordinator James Franklin will be the next head coach for the Terps when Ralph Friedgen retires.  Fridge's contract runs through the next 3 seasons and he said he intends to see it through and then make a decision.

The word of the day from Debbie Yow and both Franklin and Fridge was 'continuity'.  Yow said that Franklin wants to be there and it was a good time to get this done.  When asked why it was done, they said this will solve negative recruiting that was going on in past years.  Fridge said that Penn state or BC told a recent recruit that Fridge was going to retire in an attempt to keep him from picking the Terps.

Yow was also asked "Why now?".  She said recruiting continuity and coaching continuity.  She also said it was discussed a year ago before they re-hired Franklin.  It was not put in writing at the time, but they brought it up when another school was interested in hiring him.  Also, Franklin had another opporunity in the NFL  recently and they decided now was the time to lock him up.

Yow said there is nothing wrong with Fridge's health and he has several more years in him, but they must protect that foundation that Fridge helped build.

In an amusing anecdote, Yow says she was working on Franklin's contract when Fridge called.  When she called Fridge back, she called him James by mistake, to which Fridge responded, "no, not yet!" 

As for Franklin, he said he couldn't be more excited.  He has dreamed of his opportunity and wants to build on the foundation that is here in order to become an elite program.  He called Fridge a tremendous mentor and said "I guarantee I won't let you down."

In this new contract, it was announced that if Fridge receives a contract extension after 3 years, Franklin will have the opportunity to leave if he chooses, and probably with a nice bonus.

Franklin showed a great attitude.  He said all the right things, but it remains to be seen just how good a coach he'll be, but we won't know that until he takes over. 

The issue of race was brought up (if hired today, Franklin would be just the 2nd African-American head coach in division 1 or whatever they are calling it now).  Franklin said he wished for a day where it would not be brought up, but does not underestimate what it means.

I think it's a great move for all the reason's they discussed above and Franklin seems to have a passion for the University, saying he can't think of another school that can offer all the things Maryland can offer a student-athlete.  Will that be enough to get the blue chip recruits?  It hasn't so far, but with the class we just got and this 'continuity' announced today, perhaps we can take that next step.

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