He's rested, relaxed and ready to go. Mike Leach could be the next coach at Maryland.
Terrapin athletic director Kevin Anderson is expected to announce early next week the fate of Ralph Friedgen and reports indicate that the school is leaning toward buying out the last year of the coach's contract.
The move to possibly jettison Friedgen started a day after Maryland lost coach-in-waiting James Franklin to Vanderbilt. Anderson told reporters that Maryland did not make a counteroffer in an attempt to keep Franklin, who was named coach in waiting in February 2009 by former athletic director Debbie Yow. Yow is now athletic director at North Carolina State.
Even though Friedgen guided the Terrapins to an 8-4 record and was named Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year, the team has had trouble selling tickets. Maryland fell $500,000 short of season ticket sales projections in each of the past two seasons and has been unable to sell all the suites at remodeled Tyser Tower, part of Byrd Stadium. That is a source of irritation to Anderson, who told the Baltimore Sun in October that leasing the suites needed to be a top priority.
That brings us to Leach, whose unconventional approach would likely reignite the Terrapin fan base.
Leach, who was contacted Friday night by the Washington Post, said he has not been contacted by Maryland.
Reports indicate Maryland might also consider former Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington coach Tyrone Willingham and current New Mexico coach Mike Locksley.
But let's get real. You're going to brush aside the Fridge to bring in Locksley, who is 2-22 in two seasons with the Lobos? That's not going to fill the suites. New Mexico would gladly pay Locksley's moving expenses at this point. The only reason Locksley wasn't ousted this season is because his buyout was $1.4 million. That drops to $1 million next season, still a sizable sum for New Mexico.
Just try selling that one on your alums, Maryland.
The Wiz actually likes Willingham, but running the Fridge to replace him with Tyrone makes little sense.
Thus, it likely comes down to Leach. If he says yes, Friedgen is a goner. If Maryland goes in another direction, they're a bunch of idiots, the exception being Terrapin alum Norman Chad, of course.