Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen will be asked to take a buyout, a source familiar with the program said tonight.
Friedgen's ouster comes just hours after athletic director Kevin Anderson declined to say Friedgen would return for 2011 and on the same day offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting James Franklin accepted the head coaching position at Vanderbilt.
The source also said defensive coordinator Don Brown, running backs coach John Donovan and wide receivers coach Lee Hull were invited to join Franklin's staff and are possibilities to do so.
Friedgen, the ACC's coach of the year after an 8-4 year, is 74-50 in 10 seasons with the Terrapins. He led Maryland to seven bowl games, including the Dec. 29 Military Bowl at RFK Stadium against East Carolina. Friedgen is the third winningest coach in Maryland history, behind Curley Byrd (122) and Jerry Claiborne (77).
It is uncertain who will coach Maryland in the bowl game.
Friedgen has one year remaining on his contract, with a salary of about $2 million. His ouster comes almost exactly a month after athletic director Kevin Anderson announced Friedgen would remain at Maryland in 2011.
But Franklin's departure --- and the future uncertainty it creates in terms of the direction of the program and the team's recruiting efforts --- appears to have changed the equation.
Anderson was directly asked if Friedgen would return in 2011, and opted to defer an answer to next week.
"I will sit down and everybody will understand where we're going and how we're moving forward with the program," Anderson said in an afternoon teleconference with reporters. "At this point in time, I'm not going to answer that question."
Franklin was contractually slated to take over for Friedgen after the 2011 season, with an assurance of $1 million if he did not receive the job.
Rather than wait until next year, the 38-year-old took over the program at the Southeastern Conference's lone private school, a team that has one winning season and bowl appearance in the last 28 years.
Friedgen appears to have outlasted Franklin in College Park by hours --- rather than months or years.
Anderson, who was hired in September to replace Debbie Yow, was asked if Franklin's departure created more flexibility going forward and offered a reply that, in retrospect, perhaps hinted at a possible change.
"Here's how I look at it," Anderson said. "We proved this year we're very competitive in the ACC. We were a couple victories away from competing for the conference championship. My expectation for this program is continue to grow and for us to continue to compete at that high level and be a national presence in football. One of the things I'm looking at is to make sure we put the best possible staff together so we can move ahead and be consistently good if not great in the years to come."