COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Ralph Friedgen, who restored the Maryland football program to national relevance during his decade tenure as the head coach of the Terrapins from 2001-10, will return to College Park when Maryland hosts No. 13 Penn State on Friday, September 27. Friedgen will be honored on the field during the first half of the game.
Third all-time at Maryland with 75 wins, Friedgen led the Terps to seven bowl games, including a pair of New Year’s Day appearances. Under Friedgen’s guidance, the Terps won a school-record five bowl games.
“We’re going to bring Ralph Friedgen, a guy that has really had a huge impact on my career as a mentor and as a coach, back to College Park for the game next Friday against Penn State,” said head coach Michael Locksley. “I can’t tell you the impact that Ralph has had on the Maryland football community as well as college football. He’s a guy that I have the utmost respect for, that I’ve always looked up to as a guy that loves and has passion for this place like I do. We’re going to bring him back and honor him the right way. I’m excited, as well as our team and our fans. We’re looking forward to having Ralph in College Park.”
A Maryland lifer who suited up as an offensive guard for the Terrapins from 1966-69, Friedgen came back to his alma mater as an assistant coach under Bobby Ross from 1982-86. He took over as the Terps head man in 2001, fostering an immediate turnaround.
The consensus national coach of the year in 2001, Friedgen led Maryland to its first ACC title in 16 years in his first year as head coach. Maryland won its first seven games and earned the league’s automatic berth in the Bowl Championship Series’ FedEx Orange Bowl. By winning the ACC title that season, Friedgen became the first coach in league history to win the championship in his first year as a head coach.
Following that historic 2001 season, Friedgen led Maryland to six more bowl appearances, 12 wins over top-25 teams and the Terps spent 18 weeks in the AP Top-25 during his tenure. Friedgen ranks fifth all-time in ACC history in bowl victories (five), 15th all-time in wins (75), tied for 14th in ACC victories (43) and stands 12th in games coached (125).
Friedgen recruited and coached some of the largest names etched in Maryland lure, including E.J. Henderson, D’Qwell Jackson, Shawne Merriman, Vernon Davis and Torrey Smith. Eighty players earned All-ACC honors under Friedgen’s direction, 37 were named All-Americans and seven were named ACC Players of the Year.
Twenty-seven of Friedgen’s players at Maryland were drafted in the NFL with many, such as Henderson, Jackson, Merriman, Davis, Smith, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Nick Novak, Adam Podlesh and Josh Wilson having sustained professional careers.
Friedgen has deep ties to current Maryland head coach Michael Locksley, who was on his staff in his first two years, 2001-02 as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator.
Ralph and his wife Gloria, have three daughters: Kelley, Kristina and Katie, two of whom graduated from the University of Maryland.