COLLEGE PARK -- Joe Krivak said yesterday that he wants more than two years on the new contract that he will get to continue coaching the University of Maryland football team.
"I'm looking for more than two years because I've earned it," said Krivak, who was visiting with family in West Virginia. "You don't go into recruiting haphazardly, and if that was the case, then they could have given me the extra year last season.
"But I'm glad this is pretty much all behind me now. I've always said that everything takes care of itself. [Athletic director] Andy [Geiger] is a man with a good sense of humor and is easy to communicate with. Overall, our philosophies to academics and the game are about the same."
After three meetings between Geiger and Krivak this week, Geiger announced Wednesday night that he had retained Krivak as head coach and that the Terrapins had accepted an informal invitation to play in the Poulan-Weed Eater Independence Bowl on Dec. 15 in Shreveport, La.
Both Geiger and Krivak said that the length of the contract will be discussed Sunday when the two fly to Shreveport to iron out details of the game. Geiger said Krivak's new salary would be close to his 1990 base of $91,000 per year.
During the meetings, Krivak apparently made progress in the areas of entrance exemptions for the program. He has said that exemptions (18 total for the department, with a maximum of 10 for football) along with a tough schedule, poor facilities and increased academic standards, have hurt his program. Players who receive academic exemptions don't have to meet the same entrance requirements as other students.
"We're going to stay within the school policy and do the best we can do while we pursue the opportunities for more possible exemptions," Krivak said. "We haven't finalized that yet."
Krivak said the reason he didn't publicly state he wanted the job was because of his previous years at Maryland, 11 as an assistant and four as head coach.
"As far as I was concerned, it was always my job," said Krivak, 18-25-1 overall and 6-5 in 1990, his first winning season and the school's first since 1985. "It was my job until the university told me they didn't want me to coach anymore. Check my track record. I haven't been a mover. I've been loyal to places where I've been. I've given up opportunities that may have helped my career because this was a priority. I didn't feel I had to make a statement about this job."
Most Maryland players reached yesterday seemed glad that Krivak will be back. Some of them dedicated Saturday's 35-30 upset victory over Virginia to him in an effort to save his job.
"This makes my Thanksgiving," said Maryland senior linebacker Glenn Page from his home in Pittsburgh. "The coach is coming back and we're going to a bowl. I never thought it would happen. Man, I'm excited.
"If we had lost the Virginia game, then we would have been 5-6 and maybe the coach may have lost his job. I'm not saying the Virginia game saved him, but it all turned out for the best. I think it would have been unfair for the university to get rid of him without really giving him a fair shake."
Maryland linebacker Scott Whittier said: "Joe Krivak is good for the program. He started out as a raw head coach, and he has turned into a pretty good coach. He's really starting to listen to the players, and he's more in touch with the guys. He's emotional when he has to be emotional and professional when he has to be professional."
Said senior wide receiver Barry Johnson, "To have Coach Krivak back is sweet, but to go to a bowl makes it that much sweeter."
Geiger said he didn't accept the bowl invitation until late Wednesday night. Geiger had cut off talks with Independence ** Bowl officials earlier this week because the game will be played during Maryland's exams week.
A bowl bid seemed so unlikely that most of the players had turned in their equipment.
But Geiger said he was in contact with Independence Bowl officials Tuesday and an unofficial invitation was extended. Geiger also said the university's Executive Committee of Athletic Counsel -- an advisory group on athletics to university president William E. Kirwan -- voted Tuesday morning in favor of the team's playing in the bowl, then recommended it to Kirwan, who also approved.
The advisory group's recommendation was that players and band members finish their academic work before Christmas, according to Geiger, who said Maryland will accept the bid when is formally extended tomorrow.
While Geiger was doing most of the leg work, Krivak called players and some parents to see if all were willing to play the game.
"It was basically up to the players," said Krivak, who said he will begin practice early next week for the bowl game. "If they wanted to go, then we were willing to accept. When I called some of them, they got real excited, and when they get excited, I get excited."
Are they excited?
"Everything that has happened in five years here can't compare to the win over Virginia and the bowl bid," said Johnson. "This is like a dream come true. I don't care if we're playing the Pittsburgh Steelers, as long as we're in a bowl."
Said Page: "Who is Louisiana Tech? What league do they play in? I don't know, but I just want a chance to play them in a bowl."
Maryland quarterback Scott Zolak's father, Paul, was so enthused that he started calling some of the players last night to break the news.
"People are getting interested. They're talking about Maryland football again," said Whittier. "This could be the step to getting us back to a national power. You know this is going to help recruiting a great deal."