Well, I picked an awesome time to step away from my computer for the first time since 2:00 today.
As it so happens, Maryland just sent out a press release, stating that Randy Edsall is officially their man. The press conference is tomorrow.
Edsall isn't a perfect hire. No one was. He's a solid program guy that will provide stability to a locker room that now needs some. He's done very well at UConn, taking them from an FCS program to a BCS bowl in about 10 years, and that's extremely difficult. He's a solid recruiter, a straight-forward personality, and won't alienate anyone. Maryland's in a good spot, and he won't get in the way of the momentum built up.
He's not a sonic leap from Ralph Friedgen. Despite what people are saying, that wasn't the intent of the move. We've said it before: the firing of Ralph Friedgen had a lot more to do with Anderson's hand being forced than it did the "strategic business decision," which is how he had to sell it. Quite frankly, giving a 63-year-old head coach who has shown inconsistency in program-building is questionable at best. Even if Edsall isn't a sonic leap, and he isn't, he's younger, more active, and a better recruiter.
People will call for Leach. And I understand that, but what's done is done. Edsall's a fine hire, an upgrade from Ralph, and he has a good future here. Don't let what could have been cloud what is. Leach was a gamble, and one that Anderson, Kirwan, or someone else, did not find palatable. They are not alone in the football world.
There are two things I need to happen with this hire: he needs a modest salary (ie, around $2.5mil or so) and Maryland needs to keep the support of Kevin Plank and Under Armour. Plank seemingly wanted Leach, and alienating him would be a terrible idea.
Edsall's success or failure will likely depend upon his coordinators. Retain Don Brown, get Mike Locksley aboard, and all will be well. Let Brown go, don't get Locks or Larry Johnson, and things are a little more questionable.
This decision wasn't made for the short-term, clearly, even if they will have short-term success. Maryland's team is extremely talented and, because Edsall won't shake things up, they should be a legitimate contender in the ACC. Any coach worth his salt could get Maryland to eight wins next year with this team, barring some unforeseen circumstances. He'll be successful if he can sustain that success, and his recruiting and ties to the area indicate that maybe he can.
The circumstances are going to piss people off. Being "misled" by Anderson is going to piss people off. Edsall's happy dance will probably piss people off. Calm down and wait it out: he's done incredible at UConn given what he's working with, he's certainly not a step in the wrong direction, and he has a relatively high floor.
I'm waiting this one out to come to an official conclusion. But he's not the disaster hire that some have made it out to be. Press release, via Maryland's official site, below:
Randy Edsall, who spent the last 12 years taking the University of Connecticut from Division I-AA status (now FCS) to five bowl games, including a BCS contest, has been named Maryland's head football coach, director of athletics Kevin Anderson announced Sunday evening.
Edsall, who will be introduced Monday during a news conference, guided the Huskies to a pair of BIG EAST Conference titles (2007, 2010) and postseason appearances in each of the last four seasons, including the 2011 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
The 2010 BIG EAST Coach of the Year has led the Huskies to eight or more wins in each of the last four seasons as the Huskies successfully made the ascent from Division I-AA.
Prior to his stint in Storrs, Conn., Edsall, a native of Glen Rock, Pa., spent one season (1998) as the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech and four years (1994-97) as a defensive backs coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars who went from expansion team to the AFC Championship game during his tenure.
Maryland Athletics will comment on the hiring during Monday's news conference (2 p.m.) which can be viewed through Terps TV