Former Maryland quarterback Frank Reich, who as a college and pro passer engineered two of the greatest comebacks in football history, could be put in charge of orchestrating another: the return to prominence of the downtrodden program at his alma mater.
Reich, now offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers, was interviewed to be the Terps' new football coach this weekend in Jacksonville. Fla., according to 247Sports. The Chargers beat the Jacksonville Jaguars there on Sunday.
Reich is one of several coaches who are reportedly candidates for Maryland's open football coach job. Scott Milanovich, of the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts, is also a candidate, according to CFL News. The Baltimore Sun has attempted to contact Reich and Milanovich.
The sports blog ajerseyguy.com reported Sunday that Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin will be in College Park on Monday and is expected to sign a contract, but a Maryland athletic department spokesman said Sunday he has no knowledge of that being true. Yahoo Sports reported last week that Durkin had been interviewed for the job.
Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson said after Saturday's men's basketball game that he hoped to have a decision on the new football coach sometime this week. Interviews are expected to begin on campus Monday. Anderson declined to comment on any of the candidates.
Among other candidates being mentioned for the opening to replace Randy Edsall, who was fired in mid-October, are Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen and former Indianapolis Colts and Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.
Reich, who will turn 54 this week, has never been a coach at the college level. After retiring following a 14-year NFL career in 1998, Reich was out of football for a decade while involved in business and getting his master's in divinity. Reich is about same age Ralph Friedgen was when he was named Maryland head coach in 2001.
During his career in College Park, Reich was the backup quarterback to Stan Gelbaugh in 1984 when the Terps fell behind on the road, 31-0, to the University of Miami at halftime. Reich took over in the second half and led the Terps to a wild 42-40 victory over the Hurricanes
It is known at Maryland as "The Miracle in Miami."
Reich was also part of the largest comeback in NFL history. With the Buffalo Bills trailing the Houston Oilers, 35-3, early in the second half of a playoff game in January 1993, Reich replaced All-Pro quarterbackl Jim Kelly and led the Bills to a 41-38 victory.
It is still simply called "The Comeback."
Reich would present an interesting possibility for the Terps.
Though he has only coached in the NFL, Reich's ties to the glory days of Maryland football under Bobby Ross in the mid-1980s would help bring old Terps fans back in the fold, while a resume that includes coaching both Philip Rivers in San Diego and Peyton Manning with the Colts could appeal to high school quarterback prospects.
Four-star recruit Dwayne Haskins Jr., who orally committed last spring to Maryland, announced after Edsall was fired on Oct. 11 that he still planned to join the program.
A lot of that was based on his allegiance to interim head coach Mike Locksley, who won his first game as a head coach in more than five years with Maryland's 46-41 comeback win at Rutgers.
The Terps, who had lost six straight games going in, finished the seaon 3-8. Locksley is expected to get an interview Monday, 247Sports reported.
The Chargers are 3-7 after beating the Jaguars, 31-25, but were ranked fifth in the NFL in overall offense and third in passing offense enter Sunday's games.
Bringing in someone with Reich's offensive pedigree could serve to "fire up" the fan base, as Anderson and university president Wallace Loh promised at the time of Edsall's dismissal. It also might allow Maryland to keep Locksley on as offensive coodinator, if he wants, in order to keep Haskins and other top recruits. Haskins visited Florida over the weekend.