Ralph Friedgen won a total of 75 games during his ten years at Maryland as the head coach, including an ACC title and a 5-2 bowl record with the Terps. In five of those seasons, Friedgen won at least 9 games. The man can flat out coach.
Those kind of accomplishments make an impression in the coaching community. So much so in fact that even three years after Maryland he was still getting calls from some major college football programs, before eventually landing with on his feet at Rutgers, a place where he had never met the head coach (Kyle Flood), and knew no one on staff.
The Big Ten Network’s Tom Dinehart sat down with Friedgen to talk about other coaching opportunities he interviewed for, his three years away from the game, and what he missed most about being away from coaching.
Speaking of opportunities that came up while away from the coaching profession, perhaps the most interesting note in the piece was the Friedgen interviewed with Will Muschamp for the Gator’s offensive coordinator job. “I interviewed with Will Muschamp for the Florida offensive coordinator job; didn’t get it.” Friedgen noted of the experience. “He had called me a couple times and told me to come down for two-a-days.”
When asked how he spent his time away from college football, Friedgen explained, “I played a lot of golf. I fished a lot. I read a lot. I watched college football a lot. I enjoyed myself, if you want to know the truth.”
While he certainly enjoyed himself, he noted that the biggest thing he missed was the interaction with the players, and coaches and their families. It’s a part of the profession that every coach who has been away from the game (for any period of time) can sympathize with.
“I missed the interaction with the players. Not just on the field, but off the field, too. That always has been the hook for me as a coach. I also missed the relationships with the coaches and the players’ families, too. I have gotten close to a lot of players. When I came back, I was surprised so many people reached out to me with emails, texts, calls, letters to say how happy they were that I was back.
“I must have touched a lot of people. I was surprised.”