- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin was named Thursday as the eventual successor to Ralph Friedgen, putting him in line to become the Terrapins' first black head football coach.
Friedgen, who turns 62 in April, still has three years remaining in his contract -- it expires Jan. 2, 2012 -- and he isn't expected to retire before then. But Franklin was hired with the understanding that he would have a chance to be head coach.
There is no specific timeline for how long the 37-year-old Franklin would be the coach-in-waiting; Friedgen has three years remaining on his contract and has not indicated that he is ready to step aside.
Even though he has to wait Franklin said he has "always dreamed" of getting this type of opportunity.
"I have a pretty unique perspective on the university and what it's going to take to be successful here," Franklin said. "Really our plan and our discussion was about continuing to build off the foundation Ralph has laid here and continue to build this program into one of the elite programs in the country."
Former Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley also had been considered, but that option faded once Franklin was hired.
Franklin is entering his seventh season with the Terps. He worked at Maryland from 2000 to 2004, then was hired last season as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Franklin, who has earned a reputation as a top recruiter, has had several other coaching opportunities in recent years, and Maryland wanted to make sure he stuck around. They have been negotiating for the past two weeks.
Franklin and Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow weren't immediately available for comment.
Heather Dinich covers the ACC for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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