Maryland president C.D. “Dan” Mote will retire on Aug. 31.
Athletic director Debbie Yow on Friday announced she is leaving to take the same position at NC State.
Both of those moves leave coach Ralph Friedgen’s contract and the Terps’ coach-in-waiting plan as stable as a rickety ride at the county fair.
A new administration means new ideas, new expectations and the potential for new personnel. Yow -- who, in an outdated yet economical show of loyalty decided to retain Friedgen after an embarrassing 2-10 season -- is no longer there to defend him, his contract, or the coach-in-waiting plan that will name offensive coordinator James Franklin as Friedgen's successor.
Friedgen was Yow’s hire. She wanted to see it work, and their prior good relationship was another reason she was willing to give him the chance to make it work. Franklin was Yow’s pick, and he is guaranteed $1 million if the deal is broken -- an option that became more affordable because there was no buyout for Friedgen last fall.
Now, a new administration won’t be -- and shouldn’t be -- afraid to make sweeping changes in College Park -- the kind of changes that should have the Fridge sweating even more heading into the fall. Maryland’s search for an athletic director will take a few months, but whomever the university hires might not be as tolerant as Yow was. Yow received a fair share of criticism during her tenure at Maryland -- most of it unfounded -- but she excelled at both balancing the Terps’ budgets and two biggest egos. Friedgen’s next superior might not be as diplomatic with a coach who won just one conference game in 2009 and had four losing seasons with two bowl wins in the past six years.
In regards to the immediate future and this season, nothing has changed for Friedgen. He still needs to win, and he needs to do it quickly -- starting with the season opener against Navy. He needs to go at least 3-1 against his nonconference schedule to have the best chance at becoming bowl eligible. Maryland has enough talent and motivation to accomplish a six-win season. Those within the program are working hard to get back into contention in the Atlantic Division.
A mere bowl appearance, though, might not be enough to satisfy his next boss. Mediocrity has become the norm at Maryland under Friedgen, and expectations aren’t much higher than that for his 2010 team, which will be under the direction of a new quarterback.
The administration will change, though, and so should expectations for Maryland.