Thursday, December 30, 2010

Put The Fridge Out On The Porch, This Party Is Really Over

MARYLAND 51, East Carolina (Pirates, 20,974 students, Greenville, NC)20 – AP - Ralph Friedgen soaked in the chants and fought back a few more tears. He gave a parting gift to his alma mater—the highest point total Maryland has ever posted in a bowl game—then followed it with a parting shot at the administration that fired him.

Already the ACC coach of the year, already the engineer of the second-biggest regular season turnaround in the country, Friedgen ended his 10-year run with the Terrapins on Wednesday with an impressive victory over East Carolina in the Military Bowl.

“It’s been real surreal,” Friedgen said. “To be honest with you, I’m a little bit overwhelmed by it. I really had no idea that people even thought that much of me.”

Patrolling the Maryland sideline one last time, holding his customary playsheet and wearing a white cap with the word “Terps” in red, Friedgen wound up a 9-4 season and a 75-50 Maryland decade that includes a 5-2 record in bowl games. Fans held up signs and banners proclaiming “Thanks Ralph” and chanted his name through much of the second half. He got the customary ice-bucket bath from his players with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game.

“If you have to go out,” Friedgen said, “this is the best way to do it.”

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