As the University of Maryland begins the search for a new football coach, there’s fresh evidence that the Terps are looking to follow the model that Oregon and Nike established out west.
Just like the Ducks did in Nike’s Phil Knight, Maryland already has an alum who built a massive sportswear company that’s willing to give back in the form of big money for new facilities. In Maryland’s case, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank founded his company while on the football team, and recently agreed to pony up $25 million for a new athletic facility.
But there’s another piece required for a winning program: the head coach. The Terps dropped Randy Edsall midway through the season this week. In an interview the Baltimore Sun’s editorial board, University President Wallace Loh said the coach needs to be larger-than-life if the team is going to have massive success.
“You have to have an outsized personality here. It’s not just knowing the X’s and O’s. That’s why you have the Jim Harbaughs, the Urban Meyers. But, my sense is that when people see that we’re in the Big Ten, we’re in the big leagues now, and it’s about football.
It’s also about money. Loh said the school’s athletic director now has the “tools” (read: dollars) to attract a top-flight head coach as a result of the school’s membership in the power conference.
Loh even mentioned former Oregon coach Chip Kelly, but only played up the rivalry by saying that he is currently struggling with the Philadelphia Eagles. In the search for a head coach, Loh said the team would tout the “potential of this being another Oregon.”
With the season already ongoing, the Terps will probably want to find someone fast. But they won’t be the only ones looking, as the two USCs in Southern California and South Carolina also just lost head coaches in the same weekend.
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