By Danielle Daniels
WASHINGTON DC – Former Maryland head football coach Ralph Friedgen was inducted into the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday. The annual induction ceremony was held at Nationals Park prior to the Nationals-Rangers game. The Class of 2023 includes five new members and one Team of Distinction.
Other members of the Class of 2023 include Jen Adams, Lew Luce, Ken Niumatalolo and Marty West. The Team of Distinction was the 1977-78 Washington Bullets and Phil Chenier was on hand to accept the plaque on behalf of the championship team.
Friedgen, who was also recently named to the 2024 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, restored the Maryland football program to national relevance during his decade tenure as the head coach of the Terrapins from 2001-10.
Friedgen, who ranks third all-time at Maryland with 75 wins, led the Terps to seven bowl games, including a pair of New Year’s Day appearances during his tenure. Under Friedgen’s guidance, the Terps won a school-record five bowl games.
A Maryland lifer who suited up as an offensive guard for the Terrapins from 1966-69, Friedgen came back to his alma mater as an assistant coach under Bobby Ross from 1982-86. He took over as the Terps head man in 2001, fostering an immediate turnaround.
The consensus national coach of the year in 2001, Friedgen led Maryland to its first ACC title in 16 years in his first year as head coach. Maryland won its first seven games and earned the league’s automatic berth in the Bowl Championship Series’ FedEx Orange Bowl. By winning the ACC title that season, Friedgen became the first coach in league history to win the championship in his first year as a head coach.
Following that historic 2001 season, Friedgen led Maryland to six more bowl appearances, 12 wins over top-25 teams and the Terps spent 18 weeks in the AP Top-25 during his tenure. Friedgen ranks fifth all-time in ACC history in bowl victories (five), 15th all-time in wins (75), tied for 14th in ACC victories (43) and stands 12th in games coached (125).
Friedgen recruited and coached some of the largest names etched in Maryland lure, including E.J. Henderson, D’Qwell Jackson, Shawne Merriman, Vernon Davis and Torrey Smith. Eighty players earned All-ACC honors under Friedgen’s direction, 37 were named All-Americans and seven were named ACC Players of the Year.
Twenty-seven of Friedgen’s players at Maryland were drafted in the NFL with many, such as Henderson, Jackson, Merriman, Davis, Smith, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Nick Novak, Adam Podlesh and Josh Wilson having sustained professional careers.
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