What was Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson thinking?
Boss Terp fired Ralph Friedgen for someone essentially just like him? Not the smartest move if Anderson is looking to increase attendance and exposure.
Nothing against Randy Edsall, who comes from Connecticut with virtually the same resume as Friedgen, but the Terps would have been better off re-signing Friedgen for another three years if their "strategic business plan" essentially was to win eight games and go to a bowl annually.
There's nothing wrong with 8-4 and a Weed Eater bowl invite. Most schools can't do it. But Anderson was talking of competing for a top-25 ranking annually and a BCS bowl. That means choosing former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, not someone who chugged along at UConn.
Leach was the smarter choice. His "Air Raid" offense went to 10 straight bowls. It would have filled Byrd Stadium and attracted affluent alumni. Instead, Terps fans are yawning over Edsall.
Maryland is sandwiched between two NFL teams and will never be the big dog of the market. At best, Leach could have infused short-term interest like Friedgen did by winning 31 games over his first three years. But Edsall won't get that bump because fans know Friedgen could have delivered the same results next year with a promising young team that just went 9-4.
Edsall is a disciple of New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin's coaching tree. Not a bad thing given Coughlin has been a solid pro coach and has two Super Bowl rings. But college coaching is equally about recruiting and alumni relations, so Edsall better talk much better than Coughlin's POW act.
Anderson tipped his thinking when he announced his coaching search for someone who wanted to be at Maryland long-term. That wasn't Leach, who saw College Park as a springboard to a bigger program and might have left within three years. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, most coaches secretly feel the same way. Friedgen was close to leaving after his third season for a more lucrative Tampa Bay job before deciding his alma mater was home. You can't find that loyalty too often.
Edsall, 52, may be a long-term fit for the Terps. He spent 12 years at Connecticut, so the stability Anderson wants is there. Maryland is a jump up for Edsall, so he won't be looking for the next job.
As for recruiting, Edsall has much the same reputation as Friedgen -- a lot of two-star kids who grow into NFL prospects. Friedgen's staff rarely landed a blue-chipper. Their strength was improving decent prep players. The same goes for Edsall.
All in all, Maryland made a lateral move. Not a step back but probably not a step forward. Makes you wonder why it changed partners.
Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more at TheRickSniderReport.com and on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or e-mail email@example.com