In a season many thought would be his last in College Park, Ralph Friedgen has led the Terps to a surprising 7-3 record and the precipice of the Atlantic Division crown with wins in their final two games.
And that was good enough for new athletic director Kevin Anderson.
In a statement released by the University of Maryland Thursday, Anderson announced Friedgen would return for his 11th season as Terrapins coach in 2011.
“Based largely on the improved performance of our team and student-athletes this season, Coach Friedgen will be our head football coach next year,” Anderson said. “Once this season is complete, [Friedgen] and I will sit down to discuss the current state and future of the program. Right now, the team’s focus will be on winning the 2010 ACC Championship and a bowl game, which our coaching staff and student-athletes have put themselves in position to do. We hope our fans, students, and alums will come out and support us in the effort.”
The near $2 million owed to Friedgen in the final year of his contract played a major part in the decision, as the school has made no secret about the program’s financial programs with unsold suites in the recently-renovated Tyser Tower and poor attendance in recent seasons. His contract expires on Jan. 2, 2012, the same date current offensive coordinator James Franklin will become head coach or receive $1 million from the school.
The Terps became bowl-eligible in a 62-14 victory over Wake Forest on Oct. 30 and clinched a winning season with a 42-23 win at Virginia last Saturday. Maryland will advance to the ACC title game with wins over Florida State and N.C. State in their final two games of the regular season, both at Byrd Stadium.
“I’m excited about the direction of our program,” Friedgen said in a statement. “We have a great bunch of kids and a tremendous staff. I’m thankful for all the hard work they have put into this season. Right now, we’re just concentrating on Florida State.”
The Terps will host Florida State 8 p.m. Saturday night in a game televised regionally on ABC.