Randy Edsall on his time at Maryland: 'We made the program better'
By Desmond Conner
Dec 15, 2015 | 1:29 PM
Randy Edsall has always been pretty good about moving on.
It was his choice, of course, when he left the University of Connecticut, but not so this year when he was fired midway through the season at Maryland.
He might not be coaching any longer, but a quick glance at Edsall's Facebook page shows little worry. He seems at peace, spending some time golfing in Aruba.
"This has been good for me to sit back and really analyze, think about the direction I want to go with in my future in regards to coaching and my life," Edsall said. "I'm going to look at all the options that could come available."
Edsall, 57, can certainly afford to contemplate life; Maryland owes him about $3 million.
But what happened at Maryland, where Edsall coached from 2011 through the sixth game of the 2015 season?
Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson said after Edsall's dismissal that "Over the past two years, we had shown improvement and gone on to two bowl games. But over the last six games, we have a significant setback, and that's why I made my decision."
The Terrapins went 2-10 in Edsall's first season, 4-8 the next, 7-6 and into a bowl game (Military) in 2013. That 2013 season included a 4-0 start that pushed Maryland into the Top 25 at No.25 and the Terps would go on and beat a very good Virginia Tech team that was eyeing the ACC title on its home turf, where the Terps hadn't won since 1949.
It was off to the Big Ten in 2014. Maryland finished third in the East half of the division, again was 7-6, and again made a bowl game (Foster Farms). The Terps lost a bowl game for the second year in a row, though.
Off the field, the team was scoring well. Maryland had lost scholarships because of poor APR (Academic Progress Rate) scores before Edsall arrived but had achieved its highest scores in program history under Edsall.
"We made the program better," Edsall said. "I stuck to my guns in terms of doing what I thought was right in terms of developing kids, graduating kids and having kids go out and work and play to the best of their ability. We didn't win enough games. So be it. But I wasn't going to compromise what I thought the college model should be in terms of graduating your kids, developing the kids and getting them ready for the real world because less than one percent of them are going to the NFL. That's what I did and I wasn't going to compromise that. I was going to work within the framework of the institution."
Edsall's final record at Maryland was 22-34 and this season the Terps went 2-4 when he was fired with losses to Bowling Green, West Virginia, Michigan and Ohio State by a combined margin of 170-71. Maryland got no better after he left, finishing 3-9, 1-7 on the Big Ten.
From Glen Rock, Pa., Edsall has always said that old school roots and values, doing things this way, not that way, were planted in his soul by his parents, Barbara and Dick, when he was a boy.
"I'm not about winning at all costs," Edsall said. "I'm about doing it the right way, graduating kids, holding them accountable so that when they go out into the real world they're going to know how to handle it. They're not going to be enabled, and they're not going to be entitled."
That sense of entitlement in some cases has happened before a player even meets the head coach, an issue that starting burning Edsall's bottom while he was at UConn, too, but college football is hardly the same as when Edsall played at Syracuse (1976-79).
"I think the collegiate model is no longer in place anymore," Edsall said. "It's a pro model in a college game. The Ivy League is probably the purest in terms of what it's all about, getting an education and participating in extracurricular activities but the college model ... look at it from a recruiting standpoint. You're offering scholarships to kids when they're a freshman in high school when you don't even know their academics."
So Edsall isn't all that anxious to put down the golf clubs, but in the right situation he would.
"I might take a look to see if there's an opportunity to get back in the NFL [he was assistant coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1994-97], maybe look at a possibility of something in broadcasting or just sit back and take a year and travel and enjoy more time with Eileen [his wife]. I'd say I'm in the evaluation mode right now."