OAKLAND, Calif. -- In addition to Maryland's 16 graduating seniors and small handful of others moving on, there was another longtime Terp making the trip to San Francisco for Maryland's Foster Farms Bowl game his final Terrapin act. And maybe one that will be missed the most.
Ryan Steinberg, Maryland's assistant recruiting coordinator who spent the last 13 years as the staff's "glue-guy" since graduating from College Park, Md., is moving on to an enforcement post at the NCAA offices in Indianapolis, Ind., this month, leaving behind scores of memories, and recruit assists, after helping build the program under two head coaches at his alma mater.
Steinberg, 30, who served first under Ralph Friedgen, and later as Randy Edsall's early eyes and ears in his first weeks on the job, leaves big shoes to fill as the man that kept Maryland's recruiting machine running during some transition, as well as an ever-changing Internet age.
"I have lived my whole life in a 22-mile radius between Gaithersburg, North Potomac, and then College Park. I thought I would be a Terp for life, and I will be," Steinberg said. "But an opportunity came around and a couple of my mentors, Coach Edsall and Kevin Anderson, said this is an opportunity that is hard to turn down.
"So I am looking forward to it, nothing is wrong at the University of Maryland, it's just a personal decision to see what is out there and hopefully continue my path towards being an athletic director at Maryland someday."
Steinberg is joining the NCAA's enforcement division, handling football recruiting on a national level from everything from Division I to Division III. After only knowing Maryland career-wise, he is spreading his wings with the intent of one day moving into athletic administration.
"Really, it will allow me to be in every level, allow me to be out...I mean, I haven't been to a high school football game since 2001," Steinberg said. "I am looking forward to getting out there and travelling and seeing what's going on out there."
The treasure trove of memories is vast, from the booms and busts of kids, to the wild recruiting trips and trails, to last-minute Signing Day turns for better and for worse. But Steinberg's proudest moment in recruiting involves a current Terp, maybe the most obscure one ever to land at College Park.
"I think the number one [recruit story] for me has to be Brad Craddock," Steinberg said of the Aussie punter-turned-kicker-turned-national-awards-winner in just three years. "I think having that turn from an e-mail that we got, then turning into a Lou Groza Award winner....and you know it's all because of him, not anything we did. That kid worked his butt off every day and as much as possible. But him, and just seeing a lot over the years...I worked for two great coaches and two athletic directors that I respect and those will always be great memories."
There were some light-hearted moments, too, like the evening, after Edsall was introduced to Maryland at his Gossett Football Team House presser, Steinberg hopped in a car and headed North to go recruiting with the new head man.
"The funniest one was going on the road with Coach Edsall his first week here. We just started riding. And I didn't really know him," Steinberg said. "But since he has been here he has kept his word to everything, and you see the vision for the program and where it's going. To be a part of that was something special.
"And what the fans need to know is give him the time that he has had, and see what he is doing on and off the field now, and the program is going to be very successful for a long time. But getting to know him as a person, believing him, and wanting to be a part of it and very glad to be a part of it."
Steinberg said that, while on the job, no two days were ever the same. And that "it's been a lifestyle more than a job."
From lining up officials and unofficial campus visits; to organizing Junior Days and summer camps; to obtaining and evaluating film; to fielding countless calls and e-mails; to hosting visiting high school teams; to dealing with coaches, mentors, advisors, and every other form that comes in the recruiting process now; to even babysitting; well, it's a tireless, and sometimes thankless job, one that's often done in obscurity. Thus the life of an assistant recruiting coordinator, who doesn't always get the accolades on Signing Day while buried among mounds of film and letters and transcripts in a cramped office.
"It's kinda something I came to naturally, and since then it's been 365 days, eight years, full-time," Steinberg said. "It kinda goes back to your first question; it's just time to try something different, be somewhere different, but I couldn't see myself doing this job at any other school. I didn't pursue any other school. But it's like a cruise ship director for 48 hours, from the time those kids get on campus until the time they leave you are with them.'
"But it's a team effort, it wasn't a one-person thing. And what I am most proud of, what we have done from a technological side of making our [recruit] boards completely paperless. And we have really done a lot of things to help speed up the evaluation process. And I have loved working with [recruiting coordinator] John Dunn and everything he has helped with.
"And I think you will see success, we will finish this class with success. And there is never a good time to leave, but I feel like this was the best time in the cycle, gives them time to transition. And the 2016 class could be special in this area. I think with what Coach Edsall has done they will be good to go."
But even Steinberg admits recruiting can get out of hand in this day and age of social media gone amuck, and an ever-changing landscape you always have to stay one step ahead of.
"You know, when I look back on it when I started in this it was helping recruit the [former Terps receiver] Tony Logans and those guys who were good football players here," Steinberg said. "I remember going to basketball games with them as a junior, as a senior, and you get to know those guys. Now you've got to recruit 7th-graders, 8th-graders. It can be just brutal.
"And you have to know all of it. But I loved every second of it. But it just sped up so much, and the process, it's all so rapid fire now. Social media, Twitter, some of the stuff just wears you out."
Steinberg said his long term goal to get back to a campus would be ideal, but "I could go to the NCAA and be there for 30 years. I am a pretty loyal guy. But I won't know that until I am there."
Looking over the practice field one last time at Laney College as the Terps wrapped camp prior to the bowl game, Steinberg looked like a man with no regrets, and one looking ahead to a new and exciting future in the heart of Big Ten country. He was often the first contact person recruits came in touch with at Maryland, and he wants to stay connected to all things Maryland going forward.
"I'll be living downtown. If any Terps stop by in Indianapolis, well give me a shout," Steinberg said.
Ryan Steinberg Looks Back on Terps Career
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