Baltimore Suns sports writer Jeff Barker recently got 25 pages via Maryland's public records law to see what really went on during the Terp's recent head coaching search (to replace the fired Ralph Friedgen). Barker said "the idea was to examine search-related travel expenses, ask questions and see if there were any surprises."
So what did Barker discover? Well, Maryland officials may (or may not) have contacted then-Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez in Jacksonville, FL while the Wolverines were "preparing" for the Gator Bowl. According to Barker:
"I didn't know about the trip to Jacksonville, which was something of a mystery. It turns out that Michigan was preparing for the Gator Bowl at the time (Dec. 27) Maryland representatives visited Jacksonville. Michigan was then coached by Rich Rodriguez. Do I know for certain that Rodriguez was the target of the Jacksonville trip? Nope. But I do know Rodriguez was contacted by Maryland reps at some point during the search."
So what really happened? The MZone has obtained this exclusive transcript of a phone call that took place in the office of Maryland AD Kevin Anderson on Sunday, January 2nd.
The Terp AD meets with with his staff. Several names of coaches are up on a big dry erase board: Randy Edsall, Rich Rodriguez, Mike Leach, Gus Malzahn.
Kevin Anderson: "It's crunch time, folks. We need to hire a football coach asap or we're going to start losing verbal commits. We have four candidates--" (Anderson stops, walks over to the board and erases Rich Rod's name) "--Make that three candidates. Jesus, did you see the Gator Bowl yesterday? We dodged a bullet the size of Friedgen's waist size there. Whew!"
As everyone else nods in agreement, the phone rings.
Kevin Anderson (answering the phone): "Kevin Anderson."
Rich Rodriguez: "Hey, Kevin. It's Rich."
KA (covers phone, to the others in his office): "Shit. It's Rodriguez."
Everybody else in the office moans.
KA (uncovers phone): "What's up, Rich?"
RR: "You see the game yesterday?"
KA: "Yeah, that, uh, that, you played 'em tough..." (covers the phone, to the others in his office) "...for about half a quarter!"
Everybody in the room stifles their laughter. Anderson holds his finger to his lips - Shhh!
RR: "Listen, Kevin, I really enjoyed meeting you guys when you were down here on the 27th and I just wanted to tell you I'm interested in the Maryland job."
KA: "Gee, that's, uh, great, Rich. But if Dave Brandon hasn't made a move yet, don't you think he's going to keep you?"
Kevin looks at the others in the room and shakes his head - no fucking way.
RR: "Maybe. But I've gotten a pretty bad shake here. You know, the cupboards were bare and the previous coach, Lloyd Carr--"
KA: "I know, I know. You mentioned Carr and the cupboards when we met -- 846 times. How it was everyone else's fault."
RR: "So, should I have my agent call you then?
KA: "Uh, you know... "(Anderson grabs a piece of paper off his desk and starts crunching it up next to the phone) "...Gee, you're really hard to hear, Rich. Got no reception. Damn AT&T."
RR: "I thought this was your office number?"
KA: "Say what? You're gonna fish this summer? Good for you, Rich.
RR: "No, I said--"
Anderson quickly hangs up the phone.
Anderson reaches down and yanks the phone cord out of the wall.
KA (to his staff): "Okay, where were we?"
(HT: Angelique's Chengelis's Twitter feed)