Maryland intends to fire Randy Edsall as its football coach, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to Yahoo Sports on Thursday afternoon. However, the timing for the intended termination is unclear.
The news was first reported Thursday by InsideMDsports.com, the 247 fan site that covers the Terrapins. The website said the firing likely would happen Saturday after Maryland’s game against No. 1 Ohio State.
Yahoo Sports confirmed with a source Maryland’s intention to fire Edsall, but the source could not confirm that the fifth-year coach would be forced out after the game Saturday. The team has a bye week following the Ohio State game, which could provide an easier transition to an interim coach.
In response to the initial report, Maryland spokesman Zack Bolno told The Washington Post on Thursday afternoon, “Randy Edsall is our football coach and he will be on the sideline Saturday for Ohio State."
The Terps are a disappointing 2-3 on the year, with each loss by 21 points or more. Maryland was beaten at home by Bowling Green 48-27, then routed at West Virginia 45-6 and lost again at home last week to Michigan 28-0. Its victories have come against Richmond and South Florida.
Edsall is 22-33 at Maryland. His Big Ten record is 4-5, with all but one of the losses a blowout. The close loss was by three points to Rutgers to end the 2014 regular season, a game in which the Terps blew a 25-point lead at home.
With the move to the Big Ten in 2014, the school undoubtedly is feeling some urgency to upgrade its facilities and on-field competitiveness. Edsall’s tenure appears to be hindering that. InsideMDsports.com reported widespread fan and donor dissatisfaction with Edsall, saying that fundraising for a $155 million football facility was lagging.
The school has a major benefactor in Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, a Maryland alumnus. As Under Armour’s influence continues to spread in college sports – Wisconsin will announce Friday that it is the latest school switching from adidas to Under Armour as its outfitter – Plank could be positioned as something of an East Coast Phil Knight.
In that scenario, Maryland and Plank theoretically could make a run at the coach who took Knight’s alma mater, Oregon, to its greatest heights: Chip Kelly. The coach of the 1-3 Philadelphia Eagles is off to a rocky start in his third season in the NFL, and there has been idle speculation that he could return to the college ranks where he thrived if the Eagles continue to flounder.
Kelly certainly would fit the offensive tactician mold that Maryland would figure to want. Edsall’s teams have been pedestrian offensively, never averaging 30 points or 400 yards per game in his tenure at Maryland. This year’s team is averaging 23.6 points per game (99th in the nation) and 332 yards (114th in the nation).
Whoever is the next coach of the Terrapins, he will enter a Big Ten East Division that is loaded with established coaches and accomplished recruiters: three-time national champion Urban Meyer at Ohio State; potential program savior Jim Harbaugh at Michigan; Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, who has won 11 or more games in four of the last five seasons; and Penn State’s James Franklin, who took perennial Southeastern Conference doormat Vanderbilt to consecutive nine-win seasons.
To compete in that division, Maryland will need a big-time coach. The school apparently reached the decision that Randy Edsall isn’t that coach.