Ralph Friedgen following Franklin out the door at Maryland?


On the same day former offensive coordinator James Franklin officially became the head coach at Vanderbilt, an even bigger bombshell is brewing in College Park.

Comcast SportsNet’s Chick Hernandez is reporting the University of Maryland has asked Ralph Friedgen to accept a buyout of the final year of his contract, potentially ending his 10-year run as head coach of the Terps.

New athletic director Kevin Anderson previously stated last month that Friedgen would return to coach in 2011, but the departure of Franklin — previously the coach-in-waiting and Maryland’s top recruiter — may have accelerated his desire to make a new mark on a program that’s struggled in recent years despite a successful 8-4 campaign this season. Friedgen was named the 2010 ACC Coach of the Year following a six-game turnaround from a year ago.

In a teleconference regarding Franklin’s exit on Friday afternoon, Anderson would not confirm Friedgen’s return in 2011. The athletic director also said he did not make a counteroffer to persuade Franklin to remain with the Terps, adding fuel to the speculative fire that he’s aiming to clean house.

Maryland will play East Carolina in the Military Bowl on December 29 in a game now looking far more intriguing given this week’s drama and the immediate and long-term future of the program.

Strangely enough, I opined on Tuesday that Anderson was the wild card for the future of Maryland football and could elect to wipe the slate clean to take the struggling program in a new direction. I just never dreamed the shakeup would come so soon.

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