Friedgen Fit As a Fiddle... Almost

Max RooseveltContributor IAugust 15, 2009

COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 13:  Head coach Ralph Friedgen of the Maryland Terrapins watches player warm-ups prior to the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers on September 13, 2007 at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

That mound of man is Ralph Friedgen, head coach of the Maryland Terrapins football team and now a former member of the 400+ pound club.

That's right folks. In what has been a lengthy effort and hard-fought battle of the bulge, Coach Fridge, as fans have affectionately referred to him for years,  managed to drop just about 100 pounds without the help of scalpels and needles.

Fridge picked up some healthy eating habits and, according to his players, is far more energized than he has been in prior years.

The x's and o's of his winning strategy have been drawn up by Medifast, a company in nearby Owings Mills, Md. They advised Friedgen to eat small and healthy foods often. Mini-meals stock-piled with low-calorie, high fiber, high protein items every three hours kept the Fridge running.

He says that he feels full on less than 1,000 calories per day, roughly one-quarter of what his old-self would need to inhale to maintain weight.

It would appear that football's large-and-in-charge around the coutry are all hopping on the weight-loss express. Notre Dame's Charlie Weis (gastric bypass, circa 2002) has dropped a ton of weight and so has Philadelphia Eagles' Coach Andy Reid (using a diet similar to Fridge's).

For a man who has to write the word "Fried" each time he signs his name, Friedgen has done an exceptional job. He aims to lose 150 pounds all together and seems to be on the right track.

"I'd like to lose 150, but I don't know if I can do it," Friedgen said. "It gets harder now, but I'm going to keep on this thing. My age right now, I'm 62; I want to try to get this thing down so I can have a good life."

His efforts will certainly be noted by his players and hopefully his new-found enthusiasm and exuberance will show itself on the sidelines come September.

Terrapins fans can only hope that Fridge's appetite suppression will not hinder his devouring of competition.