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ACC football kickoff:
Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen
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By Steve DeShazo
GREENSBORO, N.C.--College football coaches are control freaks, which must make the recent rash of agent infiltration all the more frustrating at places like Florida and North Carolina.
But at least those coaches know whom they must answer to. That's not the case with Ralph Friedgen.
The Fridge runs an apparently clean program at Maryland, albeit one that hasn't won much lately. He managed to keep his job at his alma mater despite a 2-10 record last fall, but it came with a caveat: Win seven games this season or lose your job.
That ultimatum, though, came from former athletic director Debbie Yow, who hired Friedgen in 2000. Then Yow left last month to take a similar job at N.C. State. Besides looking for her successor, Maryland is also in the market for a new president after C.D. Mote announced he's retiring on Aug. 31. Those two vacancies will probably need to be filled before Friedgen's job status is even discussed.
Talk about going without a huddle. Uncertainty is the only certainty in College Park these days.
Or is it?
"If I do well the next two years, I think I'll be at Maryland," Friedgen said yesterday. "If I don't, I won't."
It may be just that simple, but it won't be that easy.
Complicating the equation is the agreement Maryland signed with offensive coordinator James Franklin that will pay him $1 million if he isn't named Friedgen's successor after the 2011 season, when the Fridge's $2 million-a-year contract expires. Frankin, 38, is considered a hot young coach, and Yow didn't want to lose him.
But will her successor feel the same way about Friedgen (or Franklin)? No one knows. Most likely, the new president will choose a new AD, who will evaluate Friedgen and his staff after the season.
Friedgen is sure of one thing, though: Winning solves a lot of problems