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August 24, 2004

Pay Raise For Maryland Football Coach

FROM THE STATE SURROUNDING THE CHESAPEAKE BAY comes word of proactive steps to keep Maryland’s football program going swimmingly well. The Terrapins are on quite a roll: over the past three years they have amassed 31 victories, two bowls and an ACC championship.

Popular coach Ralph Friedgen has presided over this sustained greatness with intensity and sensitivity. Already handsomely compensated, the coach signed a revised contract that will provide a 20% raise in guaranteed salary (from $1.25 million to $1.5 million).

A significant new provision in the revised contract is a $1 million buyout clause which would require Friedgen to ante up a cool mill if he were to bolt from Maryland before his 8 year contract expires.

Said Friedgen, “I think it’s a fair contract. If it was strictly about the money, it would probably be a lucrative situation to go to the NFL. But I enjoy coaching college kids.”

Good quote.

By most accounts, Friedgen possesses a level of sincerity and family-commitment not often seen among D1A football coaches. Married for 31 years to wife Gloria (they met in 1971 as grad students at Maryland), he is the active—though often absent—father of three girls.

That Friedgen treats his players like family is no idle cliché. Gloria jokes that the coach has “three daughters and 120 sons.”

Thus Maryland has prudently stepped in to protect its investment in quality coaching.

Friedgen’s accomplishments have gone further than football victories. In addition, he has orchestrated a commendable graduation rate among his players. Since his hire in 2000, 58 out of the 66 players (88%) who have exhausted their eligibility have graduated. Not bad.

Consequently, there are graduation bonus incentives written into the contract for graduation rate milestones (topping out at $75,000 if more than three-quarters graduate). Plus a cool $225,000 bonus if Maryland finishes first in the ACC.

Friedgen’s new package puts him in about the top 15 football coaches nationwide.

It’s good to see a good man get a good package.

(this 332 word excerpt—with attendant commentary—was extracted from a 766 word article from the Baltimore Sun of 8-21-04 and a 1830 word article from the Washington Times of 8-6-04)