As a reporter, you are taught to keep your opinions out of the stories you write. But the blogosphere has allowed certain freedoms that didn’t exist before.
As someone who has covered and followed University of Maryland athletics since coming to The Baltimore Sun more than 25 years ago, I have the unique perspective of not only comparing coaches but athletic directors as well.
I think it’s too soon to judge Kevin Anderson’s tenure in College Park, but in talking with Anderson for a story that appeared on the Sun’s website Wednesday night and in the newspaper on Thursday, my feelings for the job he has done over the past 18 months have certainly changed. Anderson might have had the toughest job for a Maryland AD since Andy Geiger came in from Stanford in 1990.
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Back in late December, I wrote a fairly scathing blog post about Anderson on the first anniversary of Ralph Friedgen’s forced departure – Anderson said he and The Fridge couldn’t agree on a contract extension, but everyone else believes he was fired – and said Anderson should take the brunt of the criticism for the failings of the football team even more than Randy Edsall.
I still think Mike Leach would have been a better choice than Edsall given what Anderson was looking for in the aftermath of Friedgen’s departure: someone to fire up the fan base, bring people to Byrd Stadium and take the Terps from “good to great,” the terminology Anderson took from Jim Collins’ book of the same name in describing elevating the football program into an ACC power.
But I have a much better understanding of that decision after looking into Collins’ belief that quick fixes don’t work and hearing Anderson talk about it during our interview Monday in his Comcast Center office. I also think I have a much better understanding of what Anderson has gone through after talking with him and others who have come into contact with him during his time at Maryland.
As much as Anderson’s reputation has been helped by the hiring of men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon, his legacy at Maryland will ultimately be tied to Edsall. The decision to cut eight teams had little to do with Anderson; the fate of those sports and the athletes who play them was sealed before Anderson arrived from Army in October 2010 to replace Debbie Yow.
I’ll be interested to hear if your feelings about Anderson have changed, as some of mine have, after reading the story this week.