WASHINGTON --- One more self-promotional link to another site this evening, since in a lot of ways it covers what needs to be said about Maryland's 51-20 rout of East Carolina in the Military Bowl.
That would be my Ralph Friedgen analysis for AOL FanHouse.
Ultimately, Friedgen went out as he came in --- with a win. He had 73 more of those sandwiched into his 125 games as Maryland's coach.
Only two men (Curley Byrd and Jerry Claiborne) had decade-long runs with the Terps. Only Byrd coached in more games.
Ultimately, Friedgen leaves Maryland's program in better shape than he found it. He wasn't perfect, but his program often operated under less-than-ideal conditions. The single best question of Friedgen's final press conference (and it wasn't asked by me) was to get him to assess just how good of a job Maryland is.
There will be time to do just that in the coming days, but his answer was candid and illuminating:
"I will tell you this: It's not an easy job," Friedgen said. "There's a lot of things that really have to change to help it reach its potential. To be honest with you, I don't know if the university is willing to do that. You kind of have to know that going in. I did, and I think that was a benefit to me. What I think happens to a lot of coaches who come to Maryland is they think it's like every other place and after their third year, they realize it isn't and then they're stuck. It's just tough to sustain. Just go back and look at the history."
One of the phrases Friedgen so often turned to in his early years at Maryland was "we're only scratching the surface of our potential." The great curiosity of the next few years will be determining whether Maryland finds someone who can drill a bit deeper into those possibilities --- or if it's even possible.
Overall, Friedgen fared well --- certainly better than most of the men who preceded him. It remains to be seen if his ouster simply serves as the inevitable end of a solid run, or an example of the best being the enemy of the better as it so often is in many things in sports and life in general.