SHREVEPORT, La. -- It's good that Joe Krivak wore a coat with fair-sized lapels last night. Otherwise, he would have had no place to put all the pins people were sticking on him.
Sporting lapel pins from the Poulan-Weed Eater Independence Bowl, the Shreveport-Bossier Chamber of Commerce, the convention and visitors bureau and his own school, the Maryland football coach got his first glimpse of Independence Bowl hoopla at the bowl's annual team announcement reception.
He seemed unabashedly happy to be there.
"This is the kind of thing that makes going to a bowl fun," said Krivak, as he posed to have his picture taken for the 10th or 20th time. He had lost count.
"This is something our kids will remember the rest of their lives, so we want to make it fun for them. I still have vivid memories of playing in the 1957 Cotton Bowl."
Krivak's Terrapins (6-5) broke into the Independence Bowl picture against Louisiana Tech (8-3) by pulling off a season-ending upset of Virginia.
The reception, held at the Barnwell Art Center, capped a day of meetings among Maryland, Louisiana Tech and bowl officials, as schedules were set for the Dec. 15 bowl.
Both teams and travel parties will arrive at in Shreveport on Dec. 12.
The meetings offered both schools the first contact with each other. Maryland and Louisiana Tech never have faced each other, nor played any common opponents, so the two coaches don't know much about each other's team.
"I don't know much about them except that they played a monster schedule," Tech coach Joe Raymond Peace said. "If you come away with six wins playing the seventh-toughest schedule in the country, you've done something."
Peace said the two teams will trade game films tonay. Each coach will have his choice of four games on which to get films.
Krivak, who has been given a contract extension, details of which will be announced at a news conference in College Park, Md., today, said the Independence Bowl invitation was a surprise.
"The first I'd heard of it was last Wednesday," he said. "[Athletic director] Andy Geiger asked me what I thought about going and I said, 'Great, let's go.' "
Because his team had scattered for Thanksgiving break, Krivak said he had to settle for taking a sample of opinions rather than putting the bid to the team for a vote.
"I talked with representatives from each class and, to a man, they all wanted to go," he said. "They were understandably excited."
Louisiana Tech, which is on the quarter system, was also on break last week. Peace said word of the bowl invitation spread rapidly, though.
"A lot of the players have called in from home wanting to know when we start back," he said. "They're thrilled to death."
The Bulldogs will go begin practicing again on Thursday, Peace said. With three weeks left for preparation, there is no need to hurry.
Krivak said the Terrapins will go back to practice today with conditioning work. "We'll give them a chance to get their legs back under them," he said.