This time last season, Ralph Friedgen was living a nightmare. The Terps just finished the season 2-10, and the longtime support of the administration and fans was all but gone. His fate with the school was in doubt. Luckily he survived.
Despite the results on the field in 2009, Friedgen deserved to keep his job. Better yet, he earned the right to rebuild the team.
The Terps were dreadful before his arrival, and in nine seasons, Friedgen was 66-46, with six bowl games and one BCS appearance.
It is debatable whether or not the program should be more consistent ten years into his tenure, but there is no question that Friedgen is a good coach who made Maryland a respectable program again.
Having patience paid off for Maryland officials. The Terps finished the regular season 8-4, and they are in prime position to play in an upper tier bowl game for the first time since 2006.
For his efforts, Friedgen was named Coach of the Year in the ACC. This is not enough. Friedgen deserves National Coach of the Year. Here are a few reasons why:
First, Friedgen and his staff spent the off season desperately trying to restore the confidence in the young team. The dramatic win against Navy in the opening game proved it worked, and the team never let him down the rest of the year.
Second, the Terps went from 84th in total defense in 2009 to 48th this year, they went from 101st in scoring defense to 38th and they went from 93rd in turnovers to seventh.
Third, his development of redshirt freshman QB Danny O’Brien has been incredible. O’Brien passed for almost 2300 yards with 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
Lastly, the Terps went 5-1 at home. Good seasons are earned by winning home games, and the Terps got back to “Protecting” their house.
Sustaining this success will largely depend on Friedgen’s ability to recruit and keep the best talent in the DC metro area which is something he has failed to do in recent years. If he is committed to doing this as much as he was to rebuilding the program this year, Friedgen will not longer have to worry about losing seasons.
Runner Up Candidates: