Maryland fires football coach Randy Edsall
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Randy Edsall was fired as Maryland’s football coach Sunday, less than 24 hours after the team’s third straight lopsided defeat.
The dismissal comes in the middle of Edsall’s fifth season with the Terrapins. He is 22-34 since taking over in 2011.
Maryland (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten) has been outscored 122-34 during its three-game losing streak. Including an earlier defeat against Bowling Green, Maryland’s four losses have come by an average of four touchdowns.
”We appreciate Randy’s tireless commitment to the University of Maryland,” athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a statement. ”This was a difficult decision, but ultimately this is the best course of action for our football program moving forward.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will take over on an interim basis. Maryland has a bye this week before facing Penn State in Baltimore on Oct. 24.
Locksley played college football at Towson University in Maryland from 1988-91 and later coached at Towson. He was a running backs coach at Maryland and also served as a recruiting coordinator.
He was head coach at New Mexico from 2009-11, going 2-26, before returning to Maryland to 2012.
”Having spent more than a decade with the Maryland football program over the course of his career, I feel Mike is best suited to effectively guide our program through the remainder of the 2015 season,” Anderson said. ”Mike has previous head coaching experience and is well-respected both locally and nationally.”
Edsall, 57, replaced Ralph Friedgen at Maryland after going 74-70 in 12 years at Connecticut.
Rumors of Edsall’s dismissal began last week, shortly before Maryland lost 49-28 to No. 1 Ohio State on Saturday. The defeat followed a 45-6 loss at West Virginia and a 28-0 embarrassment at home against Michigan.
Maryland played in two straight bowl games after going 2-10 and 4-8 in Edsall’s first two seasons. The Terrapins finished 7-6 in 2014, including 4-4 in their first season in the Big Ten.
Last June, Edsall received a contract extension that was to begin in January 2017 and was worth up to $7.5 million – though only $500,000 was guaranteed.
But Maryland regressed this year, in part because of an unsettled quarterback situation. Edsall used three players at the position, none of whom performed effectively.
The Terrapins opened the season with a win over Richmond before falling to Bowling Green 48-27 at home. After beating South Florida, they offered little resistance at West Virginia before getting off to an 0-2 start in the Big Ten.
Maryland’s lackluster performance under Edsall created rumblings among many of the alumni and boosters who are being counted on to help fund a new indoor football facility that will cost a projected $155 million to build.
After becoming the 34th coach in Maryland football history, Edsall immediately instituted a strict regimen of rules at the school – including the banning of ball caps, do-rags and earrings in the football house. He also ordered that names be removed from the back of game-day jerseys.
He backed off after a difficult first season in which Maryland lost its final eight games and went 1-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Although the Terrapins have struggled on the field under Edsall, their performance in the classroom improved dramatically. The football program’s Athletic Progress Rate reached an all-time high in 2013-14, and 21 players earned a place on the All-Big Ten Academic Team last year.
Edsall replaced the popular Friedgen after taking Connecticut to the Fiesta Bowl in 2011. That culminated a successful run in which Edsall took the Huskies from the NCAA Division I-AA level to Division I-A. He has the most wins for a head football coach in Connecticut history.
Less than two weeks before hiring Edsall, Anderson said on Dec. 20, 2010: ”This was a good football team, and I believe it can be great. So we’re going to bring the best person in here to get to that greatness and to sustain it.”