Feb. 6, 2009
Director of Athletics Deborah A. Yow
On naming offensive coordinator/assistant head coach James Franklin as the successor to Ralph Friedgen:
"This is such a special day for Maryland Athletics. Coach (James) Franklin will be offered the position of our next head football coach at the time that Coach (Ralph) Friedgen steps down. This idea is not a new one. It's something that Coach Friedgen and I talked about with James about a year ago, when he made the decision to come back to Maryland. This was well thought out and well discussed among us. We think he shares our values, and that has been particularly important consideration for Coach Friedgen and me.
"One of the best parts of today for me, as Maryland's athletic director, is the collaboration with Coach Friedgen over this decision. Both he and I want to make sure that Maryland football loses no ground at all in recruiting or in staff continuity in the coming years. Coach Friedgen has already established a foundation these last eight years and that foundation is going to be protected. Whether we're talking about recruits or high school coaches, people will know who will be succeeding him. I think James is a winner in every sense of the word. He's smart, passionate about being a Terp and loves working for Coach Friedgen and considers him his mentor. It doesn't get any better than this in working in collaboration. We plan on this being a seamless transition."
"Coach Friedgen and I talked about this a year ago before he ever approached James about coming back home. We knew that was going to be part of the reason because a very large football institution at that time had offered James the offensive coordinator position. Coach Friedgen and I alluded to him about this possibility, without putting anything in writing, to solidify his position here. The great thing was that James said `I want to be a Terp and you don't have to put anything in writing for me - that is where I want to be.' Of course, both Coach Friedgen and I loved that and it spoke volumes of his desire to be here. I now want to solidify those plans that we made a year ago. James recently had yet another opportunity and it was an excellent one in the NFL, and Coach Friedgen and I both felt that he might take it. We talked with Ralph about it and he felt more comfortable with James than when he first came back, and it just seemed like the natural time to do it."
On the position of head coach in waiting:
"I was told that seven times, including us, a head coach in waiting has been named. It is a good common sense approach to name the next head coach. The foundation that Ralph (Friedgen) built cannot be protected in the same way unless there is a person who is going to be given the opportunity to succeed him. It is impossible with recruiting these days."
On having discussions with other schools regarding the position of head coach in waiting:
"I did not consult with any of the other athletic directors that had done this before, but we were able to secure a contract of one of the head coach in waiting to look at how it was written. As it turns out, it is very different, depending on the individuals involved."
On the future of Ralph Fridgen with Maryland football:
"Ralph Friedgen came home [to Maryland] and built a foundation, and he is not finished. He has several years in front of him to continue to make a terrific impact on Maryland Athletics and on the institution."
On having a minority head coach in waiting like James Franklin:
"When the time comes when you find an ethnic minority who is the total package, as Coach (Ralph) Friedgen has alluded to with James (Franklin), I think that it is icing on the cake. I think it is a good thing because James is the right person."
On James Franklin eventually taking over for him:
"It's a tremendous transition. My contract runs (through the 2011 season), and I haven't made up my mind whether I'm going to continue after that. James has been a contributor to this program, and he has made my life easier with his contribution this past year. I think this is a point in time when we've found a person who fits our profile and our philosophy and our values of where we want this program to go and continue to grow. I feel like the transition, not only for our recruits but also for our staff and trying to keep the quality of coaches here and them knowing the future, will help Maryland. The other thing that is important is that James wants to be here. This is something that both Debbie (Yow) and I value tremendously. He's taken a lot of pride in what he's done here, even before I was here. I'm sure he wants to see that continue. I'm proud of James and what he's accomplished."
On signaling the eventual end of his coaching career:
"I know that you'd want me to be like (Penn State head coach) Joe Paterno, but I don't think I'm going to be. I'm going to coach as long as I feel like coaching and it's enjoyable. When you are 61, that day is coming. That's why I feel good about this. I feel like James has been such a big part of our success here, and to me it's been an honor to have the legacy to have one of your coaches follow you. The fact that James has been in my office and in the meetings will really help him continue the success at Maryland. That's really what I want. I've put in eight long years here and hopefully we'll have more, but this is not an easy job."
On recruits' concerns about his retirement and the stability of the program:
"It is getting to that point where people are questioning how long I'm going to be coaching. This is a problem that continuity can answer. Whether it's three years or five years from now, we'll have a guy in place that's going to take over, and that'll help the stability of this program. It's going to help us stay in the direction that we want to go, and I think it's going to answer all of those questions."
On knowing that James Franklin will be the next head coach at Maryland:
"It is pretty comforting with the right person. Obviously, I wouldn't have agreed to this if I didn't feel James was the right person."
On similarities between himself and James Franklin:
"It is almost eerie at times when in a game, I am thinking of a play and James will call it, or if we are in a staff meeting and I will go to say something, and he will say it. We are a bit on the same wavelength."
On his future as head coach:
"Today, I feel like I am going to go at least to the end of my contract. I am like anybody else. I enjoy what I am doing. I have never felt better. The rumors out there, they are not true. I feel good and I am excited about what we are doing here, and I am excited for James (Franklin). I like what I do. I was born to be a coach and until that changes, I plan on coaching."
On James Franklin's relationship with the program's other coaches:
"I think James being the head coach in waiting can help with the other coaches because the coaches now have an idea of what is ahead in the future."
Offensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach James Franklin
On becoming the next head football coach at the University of Maryland:
"I want to say what an unbelievable opportunity it is to be the next head coach of the University of Maryland. The two people sitting next to me [Ralph Friedgen and Deborah Yow] have been instrumental in my career and my opportunity to be able to stay here and continue my development with them. [They are] two people who are so respected in their fields, and I couldn't be more excited. From the time I came to the University of Maryland, I always dreamed of this opportunity. I think I have a unique perspective on this university and what it will take to be successful here. The plan in our discussions is to build off the foundation that Ralph has laid here and continue to build this program into one of the elite programs in the country. I want to thank everyone for this opportunity, and I can guarantee that I won't let you down."
On having Ralph Friedgen as a mentor:
"Ralph has been unbelievable since I've been back, allowing me to be involved in certain discussions. He's been a tremendous mentor for me my entire career, and I hope that continues. I spoke with [Coach Friedgen] today about the possibility five or 10 years from now to pick up the phone and use him as a resource."
"First of all, my foundation in coaching comes from Ralph Friedgen. I was a young coach looking for an opportunity to make my first big break. I came to Maryland and then was retained by Coach Friedgen. A lot of my core values in coaching, my X's and O's and knowledge of the game and foundation, come from Coach Friedgen. I knew that going away, gaining the experience and having the opportunity for growth that I could come back and help him. We had an honest dialogue before I came back about what his expectations were, and I panned out exactly the way I thought. He's been unbelievably supportive. Everybody would ask if he was calling the plays. Coach made one suggestion all year long. For someone who has made his career off coaching offensive football, went to a Super Bowl, and won a national championship, to hand that over to somebody showed a lot of respect for me. I really appreciate that he believes in me. I called that one play that he suggested and it worked out pretty good, and I hope he calls a few more next year."
On his connections with the University of Maryland:
"The location plays a factor, like we tell recruits all the time. I'm from Philadelphia, and I have family that lives in this area. It's great for my family. It really couldn't work out any better. I grew up coming down for Thanksgiving every year to the University of Maryland. My aunt actually worked in admissions, so I have a long history of connections to the university."
On staff stability and its impact on recruiting:
"In recruiting...the duration of the coach and how long he is going to be there always comes up. This will solve some of those issues when there is some stability and a plan. There are some people, when they leave a business or institution; they really want that organization to fall apart, so that it can't survive without them. That's not what Coach Friedgen is all about. He's built this program the right way with a great foundation that he wants to continue on being successful. That goes along with coach being an alumnus of the university. He takes a lot of pride in the University of Maryland."
On being one of the younger head coaches in football:
"Looking around the NFL these days, I don't know if that is necessarily true. The guy they just hired in Tampa [Raheem Morris] is one of my best friends, and he looks like he is about 17 years old. ...But I realize how fortunate I am, and how blessed I am. I think I have been able to surround myself with some really good people who have helped me get this opportunity a little quicker that some people. Obviously, Ralph Friedgen had big impact on that."
On interest in coaching in the NFL:
"I think a lot of people get into this business and they are captivated by the NFL. They feel like they haven't been a success unless they have coached in the NFL. I love coaching football. I love interacting with kids and making an impact on their lives. The NFL is not the end-all and be-all with me."
On his career goals:
"My goal was to be the head coach at one of the premier institutions, academically as well as athletically, in the country. Having this opportunity with Maryland really resonated with me and is important to me. I love to coach the game and interacting with people, but more than anything I like making an impact on these young men."
On having a different approach than that of Ralph Friedgen:
"Although our foundation is similar, obviously with Ralph being 61 years old and me at 37 years old, we have a different approach at times. I think we view the game the same way and we have the same core values and beliefs, but sometimes our approach is different."
On what the University of Maryland provides student-athletes:
"I don't know if there is a better school in the country that can offer as many things as we can, with location, academics and athletics, to a student-athlete and their family to their future success."
On his relationship with the program's other coaches:
"I don't plan on my relationship with the other coaches changing one bit. My role is to be the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and when I can coach in some other responsibilities, I will do that. My time in this new role will come when Coach Fridgen decides to step down. Until then, my job is to be best offensive coordinator that I can for the University of Maryland and support Ralph Friedgen in every possible way."
On being an African-American head coach:
"I hope that we get to the point where this is no longer a discussion. People won't have to talk about the lack of people of color in coaching positions. On the same hand, I appreciate the magnitude of this opportunity. The most important thing is that we get to a point in time where race is no longer a discussion."