Several outlets are reporting The ACC has announced that Maryland head football coach Ralph Friedgen is the ACC Coach of the Year. , although an official announcement hasn't come from the ACC at this time. Fridge received 29 votes, beating out Va. Tech's Frank Beamer, who received 19.
I think it's well deserved considering where Maryland was this time last year, looking at the program's first double-digit loss season and wondering if he'd be back to coach in 2010. That's a lot of pressure to work under, especially with a coach-in-waiting breathing down your neck.
It was obvious that a lot of things didn't go Maryland's way last season. Every bounce of the ball seemed to go against them. But they bounced back this year and when excuses stared them in the face, they responded and overcame them (think DeSouza accident earlier this season) rather than let them define and impede the team's ability to progress. That is credit you have to give to Ralph and his staff. He had to convince these guys they weren't 2-10 bad, but possible ACC Champion good. And the players believed and bought into that message.
The biggest reason for Maryland's turnaround is the emergence of Danny O'Brien, the redshirt freshman QB who is a lock for the ACC Rookie of the Year award. Ralph and his staff saw his potential in both recruiting him to Maryland and in sticking with him even after Jamarr recovered from his injury. You have to think that Maryland wouldn't find themselves at 8-4 had Ralph decided to go back to Jamarr once he was again healthy.
I know people have questioned some decisions that Ralph and his staff have made throughout the season, but I do think he did the best coaching job this year in the ACC. The question that is now on the horizon, and one which I'll address in a story about the future of the football team later this week, is what does this mean for the future of Ralph Friedgen as Maryland's head football coach? Assuming he wants to keep coaching, do you give him a contract extension? Do you buy out Franklin and keep Ralph? Do you not renew Ralph's contract and give the reigns to Franklin? Maryland's AD Kevin Anderson has some important decisions to make and those decisions will likely have a profound affect on Maryland's football program moving into the future.
As an aside, we have now won both the 2010 Football and Basketball ACC Coach of the Year award. Sweet.