COLLEGE PARK -- University of Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger met briefly with a group of the school's black faculty and staff yesterday as part of his introductory phase into the community.
Meanwhile, Delegate Christine M. Jones, chairman of the Maryland Black Legislative Caucus, said her group will extend an invitation to meet with Geiger after it meets Tuesday in Annapolis. Caucus members had been critical of the university over the dismissal of basketball coach Bob Wade.
Geiger said an invitation for yesterday's meeting was extended by assistant athletic director Dwight Williams nearly a month ago.
"It wasn't anything major," Geiger said. "I've been extended a lot of invitations to meet with groups, and it's just part of getting acquainted with the community. It was basically a meeting for me to say, 'Here I am, here's what I look like, here's some of my background and here are some of my thoughts.' I guess I spoke for about 10 minutes.
"It's part of an effort to meet people and make them feel more comfortable about the department. That feeling doesn't come overnight; that type of respect is earned."
After the meeting, Geiger said he was aware of the alienation felt by some segments of the black community over the forced resignation of Wade.
He also said he was surprised by the small number of black and female administrators and coaches in the athletic department. There are a total of eight black administrators and coaches.
"Evidently, this isn't new news," Geiger said. "When you consider the number of black athletes we have here, you have to be surprised by the low number of black mentors that could serve as role models. I don't have a plethora of positions, but I plan to have minorities and women involved as the opportunities come about.
"I think the women and blacks that we have do a terrific job, but we have to expand on that. We can't change history, but we can begin building confidence."