The University of Maryland has fired head football coach Randy Edsall, it announced Sunday.
Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley has been named the program's interim head coach. Assistant head coach Lyndon Johnson has been relieved of his duties along with Edsall.
"Having spent more than a decade with the Maryland football program over the course of his career, I feel Mike is best suited to effectively guide our program through the remainder of the 2015 season," athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a news release. "Mike has previous head coaching experience and is well-respected both locally and nationally."
Maryland will pay Edsall about $2.6 million to walk away – $2.1 million in salary this season, plus a $500,000 buyout negotiated as part of a three-year extension Edsall signed in June.
"We appreciate Randy's tireless commitment to the University of Maryland," Anderson said. "This was a difficult decision, but ultimately this is the best course of action for our football program moving forward."
Edsall's dismissal brings a close to an overall disappointing tenure of four-and-a-half seasons. Edsall's record was 22-34, and Maryland never got beyond mediocrity after a 2-10 opening campaign in 2011. Edsall was 0-12 against ranked teams at Maryland, with most of those losses – and a few more – coming by way of blowouts. The most recent were a 28-0 thrashing against Michigan last weekend at Byrd Stadium and Saturday's loss to Ohio State.
Some - though not all - donors had grown increasingly disillusioned with Edsall's performance on the job, said one department benefactor. He said workers in other fields don't get five years to succeed, and Edsall shouldn't, either.
The donor said he has left four box seats unused at every Maryland football game this year and has been urged by family to stop giving. He said he likes Maryland's athletic director, Kevin Anderson, but blamed him for overpaying.
"I think these coaches make way too much money," he said.
A dearth of quality quarterback play marred Edsall's reign as the head coach. In 2012, a spate of injuries forced him to start a freshman linebacker under center for a third of the season (Maryland went 0-4.). After mild improvement in 2013, C.J. Brown struggled badly in 2014, and Maryland's quarterback play so far this year had been historically bad. The next Maryland coach, whoever he is, shouldn't have that problem: Four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins reaffirmed his commitment to the Terps after word came out about Edsall's firing on Thursday.
Jeff Ermann of Inside Maryland Sports broke the news Thursday morning that Maryland was "likely" to fire Edsall around the time of Saturday's game at Ohio State. That set off a whirlwind day of reporting, which apparently forced Maryland into acting on Edsall's future sooner than initially planned. The Washington Post, ESPN and Yahoo Sports all left an open timetable for Maryland to officially fire its coach, and that timeline was clearly a short one.