Quotes from Kevin Anderson, Wallace D. Loh
Dec. 20, 2010
Maryland Athletics Director Kevin Anderson
"First, I want to take this opportunity to thank and commend our head coach Ralph Friedgen, a Maryland football alumnus who cares deeply about his alma mater and the student-athletes. He took a struggling football program and turned it into a good one. He has raised the bar for our expectations. What's more is that Ralph's final season as our head football coach was a good one. He leaves Maryland as he entered - ACC Coach of the Year and returning us to a bowl game. Today, however, Maryland athletics has made a strategic business decision to buy out the final year of Coach Friedgen's contract, effective January 2nd, 2011. The buyout will cover all of the approximately $2 million in guaranteed compensation and benefits owed to Friedgen through January 2nd, 2012. Coach Friedgen will remain under contract through the Military Bowl and he will coach this team through that game. The moneys necessary to fulfill Ralph's and his current coaches' contracts will be paid entirely by the department of athletics. We are a self-supported unit of the university. As with all operational and salary expenses, Maryland athletics will cover the necessary costs through revenue-generation, private fund-raising and strategic business decisions. It is important to underscore and understand that there will not be any state taxpayers' money used to pay this buyout. Again, there will not be any state tax money to pay this buyout.
"That said, even in this difficult economic time the state, university and athletic department are currently facing, I no longer believe allowing a head coach to enter the final year of his contract was the best financial decision for our department or for moving our football program from good to great. In the speculation of reporting surrounding the decision to buy out Coach Friedgen's contract, some have referred back to my comments earlier this fall indicating that Coach Friedgen will finish out his contract year. Even then, Coach Friedgen expressed concerns to me that entering the final year of his contract for the 2011 season would not serve the program well.
"Last week our former offensive coordinator and assistant head coach James Franklin accepted the head football coach position at Vanderbilt University. We wish James well in that new challenge but that decision changed our coaching and recruiting infrastructure. With no offensive coordinator and chief recruiter, the likelihood that several assistant coaches would be leaving our staff and with Coach Friedgen's contract likely coming to an end, it became clear that we needed to make a well thought-out business decision about the long-term direction and success of the football program at the University of Maryland. Having the head coach entering the final year of his contract would have made it impossible to recruit high-level assistant coaches and student-athletes to our program in the short term.
"The decision I reached this weekend is about our vision forward as well as solidifying our football coaching staff and our recruiting efforts for the long term. Some of the decisions that lay ahead for athletic department will not be easy. But as athletic director, I had to make a decision for what I believe is in the best interest of the University of Maryland's long-term success, not just for next year or even the year after. We owe it to our students, our student-athletes, parents, alumni and to our loyal fan base. To this then, we will immediately begin a national search to recruit a new head coach who has the experience and the successful track record to deliver a top-25 program that is consistently competitive at the highest level, who will make the commitment to the program's long-term success and who will energize our fan base. Let me emphasize that the search for our new head coach begins immediately and I expect to have a search committee formed and a search firm hired by the end of the day. The search is an open one and national in scope. Despite the reports of the contrary, no candidate has been contacted by me or by my staff.
"To conclude, I believe that this is a change for the best interest of the University of Maryland football program and the student athletes who come out every day, practice hard every day and compete hard in every contest each and every day. They return in the classroom and they work hard, working towards graduation. That is what we are looking for from our student athletes and we're looking for a coach who is going to promote those same values."
On when he came to the decision to buy out Friedgen's contract:
On his decision not to give Friedgen a contract extension:
On whether Under Armour Founder/CEO Kevin Plank is involved in the search for a successor:
On what he is telling recruits during this transition period:
On what prevented him from hiring James Franklin to be the next head coach:
On whether the rest of the coaching staff will stay through the bowl game:
On whether any current assistant coaches will stay on staff:
On President Wallace D. Loh's involvement in the decision-making process:
University President Wallace D. Loh
"As the new president of the University of Maryland, I do want to say publicly I'm very, very grateful for the years of service and dedication of Coach Friedgen and his wife, Gloria Friedgen. Not only has he turned the program around, compared to when he arrived, he has given his heart and soul to this program. They are loyal Terps and for all he has given to this university, we shall be forever grateful. And for the legacy that he leaves behind, I hope they can be forever proud.
"As to Kevin Anderson, he is the first person I've hired as president. In our initial conversations, I mentioned that the strategic plan of this university is entitled: Transforming Maryland, Higher Expectations. What that means is we are pursuing transformative excellence in every aspect of this university, in academics, in athletics and in the arts. We are going to take good programs to a higher level and high programs to the highest level. What impressed me about Mr. Anderson is his passion and his commitment to transformative excellence in every aspect of our athletic program because that is the strategic mission of this university. We are a great university; we are going to move to an even higher level in all areas of what we do.
"I chose Kevin Anderson not only because of his commitment to transformative excellence in athletics, but above all, because of his values. We talked a lot about what he believed in, his principles. Throughout this long process, my job is not to micromanage. He's the person in charge of athletics. I want you to know that he reported to me and told me what he was going to do, and that is the value that we discussed two or three months ago. Values of proceeding honorably, of proceeding accountably and proceeding with integrity. When he told me that he would like Coach Friedgen to complete the final year of his contract, I thought that was the honorable thing to do for a coach who has given ten years of his life to this institution. Later, when it turned out that the assistant coach, Mr. Franklin, was going to depart and might take several assistant coaches with him, Mr. Anderson said we need to think long term and we might have to buy out his contract. As he explained to me, there is no way that we can go out and hire an offensive coordinator and several assistant coaches for just one year.
"With the coaching infrastructure suddenly changing, the second principle that we talked about was accountability. We are stewards of this institution and we have a fiduciary duty to perform in the best interests of the institution, of the program and above all, the students. When he told me that the best thing to do was to think long term, strategically, not just one or two years, because of this unexpected change to move towards a buyout, I said that is proceeding accountably, even though it was a hard decision to make. I admire Mr. Anderson even though that decision pained him and it pained me. And finally he said we will pay him the amount of two million dollars. It is going to be hard and financially challenging, but that is what he negotiated, that is part of his contract and we should honor it. I said to myself that is the person I hired and that is the right thing to do. It is going to be hard but we honor his contract.
"Thank you Kevin for being our athletic director and thank you for being here today."