College football is a strange business. We will use Ralph Friedgen as just one example. He has served as the head coach for Maryland for the past ten seasons and has produced a record of 74-50. After just completing a season where the Terrapins went 8-4 he was dismissed from his job.
Why? In 2009 his team only posted two victories. It would seem that Friedgen was fired for what his team did in the prior season, and not the one just completed.
What else could it be? The man led a team to the second best turnaround in FBS football this past year. He was named the ACC coach of the year. It is also not like this past season was an aberration and the two win thing more typical. He has posted eight or more wins in six of his ten seasons.
Over his ten year tenure at Maryland Friedgen has won 14 more games than the Terps won in the prior fifteen.
What makes this move so strange? It seems there is a sentiment to replace Friedgen with Mike Leach. Leach was out of college football this past season after he was dismissed by Texas Tech following the 2009 season. His dismissal was brought about over concern of how he treated a player who was suffering from a concussion. The whole issue is currently tied up in litigation between Leach and Texas Tech, but if you are Maryland there are two questions you might want to stop and consider.
First, what actually happened with the player who had the concussion? Second, do you really want a football coach who is in the middle of suing his former employer?
Respect for others is another concern to have regarding Leach. Here is what he had to say following a loss to Texas A&M in 2009: "We failed to make our coaching points more compelling than their fat little girlfriends. Now their fat little girlfriends have some obvious advantages. For one thing, their fat little girlfriends are telling them what they want to hear, like how great you are and how easy it's going to be.”
Really? You want a guy who speaks like this about his players girlfriend’s…or anyone…representing your school? The girlfriends are not the only people he has spoken critically of. Even before the issues that led to his termination Leach was known to criticize the Texas Tech president and fans at times.
It seems there are times in college football when something new and shiny just seems so much better than the present situation a school has. When schools make these types of changes they find more times than not, that they were better off before they decided to go and buy something new and fancy.
If Maryland hires Leach, they might just get a strong dose of reality.