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Top candidates for the open Maryland football head coaching job

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Top candidates for the open Maryland football head coaching job

The Maryland Terrapins wrapped up their football season with a 5-7 record following Saturday’s 38-3 loss at Penn State. For the third time in four years, the Terps will not be playing in a bowl game.

Now, the attention turns to the sidelines and who will be tabbed the new leader of the football program. The two Power Five jobs that have been filled to this point, were not filled by potential candidates for the Maryland vacancy. North Carolina hired former Texas and UNC head coach Mack Brown and Kansas went with former LSU head coach Les Miles. 

In addition to Maryland, the other comparable jobs available are Texas Tech, Colorado, and Louisville. 

Atop Louisville’s wish-list is Purdue head coach and Louisville alum Jeff Brohm. Brohm, however, said “I’m the coach at Purdue. This is where I want to be and I like it here.”

So who should be on Maryland’s coaching wish-list?

Matt Canada, Interim Head Coach, Maryland

If Maryland had reached a bowl this season, it feels like Canada would keep the position. The four-game losing streak to end the season might make it a bit tougher. 

All things considered, Canada did an impressive job after everything all that unfolded off the field. The biggest question is if Maryland will go after a candidate with prior head coaching experience. 

Unlike Mike Locksley in 2015, Canada got a full-season as interim head coach under his belt at Maryland. 

One would assume that Canada will be among the final candidates for the position. 

Mike Locksley, Offensive Coordinator, Alabama

A familiar name, Locksley is expected to be one of the top candidates for Maryland.

Locksley spent six years at Maryland (1997-2002) as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator before departing for Florida in 2003. He returned to Maryland in 2012 as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Randy Edsall. Locksley took over as the interim head coach following Edsall’s dismissal. Locksley led the Terps to a 1-5 record. 

After the hiring of DJ Durkin, Locksley joined forces with Nick Saban down at Alabama. He was promoted to offensive coordinator prior to this season and has excelled in that role.

Locksley is a tremendous recruiter but record as a head coach is troublesome. In two-plus seasons at New Mexico, the Lobos were just 2-26. The program also had some off the field issues

All of these factors need to be weighed when considering Locksley as the next head coach.

Dino Babers, Head Coach, Syracuse

Babers would be an ideal fit for Maryland. His innovative system could help mask the lack of athletes (compared to Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State) Maryland has. He is an incredible leader and has turned around a Syracuse program. The Orange’s nine wins this season are their most since 2001. 

But why would Babers want to leave Syracuse for Maryland? At this point, it would seem like a lateral move.

Ken Niumatalolo, Head Coach, Navy

Not the sexiest name considering Navy’s 3-9 record this season, but Niumatalolo has had incredible success in Annapolis since taking over for Paul Johnson. In 11 seasons, Niumatalolo has a record of 87-57, led Navy to nine bowl games, and defeated Notre Dame three times (Navy lost 43 straight games to Notre Dame from 1964-2006). Considering the recruiting challenges, those are some impressive credentials.

But, does Maryland want to become a triple option team?

Does Coach Ken want to leave Navy for Maryland?

Those two questions, make it an unlikely marriage.

Mike Norvell, Head Coach, Memphis

For a second straight year, Memphis will play in the American Athletic Conference championship game. Norvell is just 37-years-old and a very bright offensive mind. 

Norvell signed a five-year, $13 million dollar extension last December, making him the highest-paid Group of Five coach in the country. 

Will Maryland be able pony up enough cash to entice Norvell to leave?

Mel Tucker, Defensive Coordinator, Georgia

Outside of five games as the Jaguars interim head coach,Tucker does not have head coaching experience. Tucker is a defensive guru and has enjoyed plenty of success in his last two stops (Alabama & Georgia). 

Tucker is one of the highest paid defensive coordinators in the country so he can be picky.

Ryan Day, Offensive Coordinator, Ohio State

Day is a disciple of Chip Kelly. He has spent the past two years as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio St. Day led the Buckeyes to a 3-0 record while serving as their acting head coach this season. 

Day, 39, is one of the top coordinators in the country and will likely be very selective when it comes to his first head coaching gig.

Luke Fickell, Head Coach, Cincinnati 

According to Matt Zenitz of, Maryland is interested in the Bearcats head coach. In his second season at Cincinnati, Fickell has done a tremdous job turning around the program. The Bearcats finished up the regular season with a 10-2 record after going 4-8 in 2016. The 10-win season is Cincinnati's first since 2012.

Fickell signed a six-year, $13.4 million contract when he was hired in December of 2016.

An Ohio State alum, Fickell is no stranger to the Big Ten East. He played nose guard in Columbus from 1993-96 then joined the Buckeyes' coaching staff in 2002. Fickell remained on the staff until he left for Cincinatti. He was promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2005 then served as the interim head coach in 2011 following Jim Tressel's dismissal. He was retained when Urban Meyer was hired and served as the co-DC and linebackers coach again from 2012-16.

Lance Leipold, Head Coach, Buffalo


That was Leipold’s head coaching record at Wisconsin-Whitewater. In eight years, he led UWW to six DIII National Championships. Six in eight years!

In his fourth season at Buffalo, he led the Bulls to a 10-win season and an appearance in the MAC Championship (plays Northern Illinois on Nov. 30). Since joining the FBS ranks in 2006, Buffalo has played in just one MAC title game and never won more than eight games in a season.

Geoff Collins, Head Coach, Temple

A great defensive mind, Collins has enjoyed a good amount of success in his first two years as the head coach of Temple. Collins took over for Matt Rhule, who left for Baylor, and went 7-6 in his first season with a win in Bad Boys Mower Gasparilla Bowl (Yes, that is a real bowl game).

Collins' squad is currently 8-4 and finished 7-1 in American Athletic Conference play. Their lone AAC loss was in a thriller to unbeaten UCF, 52-40. The Owls also crushed Maryland, 35-14, back in September.

Prior to his arrival in Philadelphia, Collins served as the defensive coordinator at Florida (2015-16), Mississippi State (2011-14), and Florida International (2010).

Scott Satterfield, Head Coach, Appalachian State

Appalachian State jumped from the FCS to the FBS in 2014. The Mountaineers have never had a losing record and have won nine or more games in each of the last four seasons. Appalachian State will host Louisiana on Dec. 1 in the inaugural Sun Belt Championship game. 

Satterfield has a 50-24 record as a head coach. Thanks to UNC hiring Mack Brown, Satterfield is still available. He would be a solid hire for Maryland but would he want to leave his alma mater for College Park?

Neal Brown, Head Coach, Troy

Similar to Satterfield, Brown has had tremendous success at a Sun Belt school. Brown led Troy to a conference championship last season and has compiled a record of 34-16 in four years at Troy and that includes a 4-8 initial campaign.

Brown was the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech from 2010-12, will he be high on the Red Raiders radar to replace Kliff Kingsbury?

Bill Clark, Head Coach, UAB

After one season as the head coach of the Blazers, UAB’s football program was eliminated. Seven months later, the program was reinstated. Clark stuck around and has performed a miracle in Alabama. UAB went 8-5 in 2017 and this season, the Blazers will play in the Conference USA Championship game on Dec. 1 against Middle Tennessee St.

If he can turn a program around that was eliminated, just imagine what he could do with the Terps?

Randy Edsall, Head Coach, UConn

Just Kidding.


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Sean Payton looks back on his short stint as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland

Sean Payton looks back on his short stint as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland

Before he was a Super Bowl coach, before he was even an NFL coach, Saints coach Sean Payton was a Maryland Terrapin coach.

For a few months in the offseason at least. 

Maryland coach Mike Locksley hosted Payton on "Late Night With Locks" and remembered that when starting in College Park for the first time, he was told his job depended on what Payton picked - running backs or receivers. Payton, then-Terps head coach Ron Vanderlinden knew at the time, was an up-and-coming star in the coaching ranks who had coached Marshall Faulk at San Diego State and had spent the year before as the quarterbacks coach at Illinois. (Click here to see the press release from when he was hired). 


"When I got hired at Maryland in '97," Locksley remembered, "I was told it would be either running backs or receivers. It all depends what Sean Payton wants to do. Sean Payton was a coach here from December through Signing Day of '97 and then went out to the Combine and got offered a quality control job with the Eagles and as your moving truck was coming to College Park to drop off a bunch of other stuff ... the moving truck just kept going."

Payton remembered the tumultuous time for the Terps as well. He came to College Park with former Illinois coach Lou Tepper, who was hired as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. "Coach Vanderlinden's trying to put his staff together, it's December, we're recruiting," he said. "And you've got to pick up your stuff on the fly, ready ready. And so you're hustling and one month Coach Tep decides he wanted to wait. And look, that was a big loss for (Vanderlinden) because Tep was like a father to him ... but Lou felt more comfortable going back. So that was change number one."

Three weeks later, another assistant, Terry Malone left for another job to be closer to his father, who was sick at the time.

"So (Vanderlinden) was good and came into the staff meeting and said 'anybody else who wants to get out of here now?'" Payton remembered. "And we're all looking around saying 'this isn't going to affect us.' And three days later I'm like man I'm that person. I was third person out of the bank. You don't want to be the third person out of the bank."

Payton left the Terps for a quality control job with the Eagles, not even coaching a game for the Terps. But he did leave a bit of a legacy, according to Locksley.

In his short time with the Terps, Locksley said, Payton played a role in getting Maryland great Lamont Jordan to play at College Park. 

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Maryland football hoping for good news with Flowers DT Tommy Akingbesote's announcement

Maryland football hoping for good news with Flowers DT Tommy Akingbesote's announcement

Maryland's future defense is in the running for a huge boost on Wednesday.

Flowers High School defensive tackle Tommy Akingbesote posted on Twitter on Tuesday that he will be announcing his commitment at 6 P.M. on Wednesday. According to, the race is between the Terps and Virginia Tech - though a myriad of other schools are also listed as possibilities.

Terps coach Mike Locksley has already had two 4-star defensive linemen commit: Demeioun Robinson from Quince Orchard is ranked third in the state and 58th in the country overall. And another Flowers player, Marcus Bradley, who is ranked 9th in the state and No. 186 in the country is heading to College Park.

 Akingbesote is ranked 16th in the state according to's rankings.

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