Memorial days are numbered for Terps, too No further visits to Baltimore planned

November 06, 1991|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Correspondent

COLLEGE PARK -- University of Maryland senior place-kicker Dan DeArmas remembers the crowds at Memorial Stadium always seeming to be twice as large as the ones at Byrd Stadium. He also liked playing where No. 19, Johnny Unitas, once threw footballs.

Terps outside linebacker coach Kurt Van Valkenburgh's biggest thrill was the 13-13 tie of Penn State in 1989. George Foussekis, longtime assistant and linebackers coach,prefers the 41-23 win over Clemson in 1984.

Pleasant times and pleasant memories for the Terps at Memorial Stadium, where the team seemed to play inspired ball on its way to 1-3-2 record on 33rd Street since 1984.

"You know what I always liked?" said Maryland quarterback Jim Sandwisch. "You could hear your spikes on the floor as you walked through the tunnel, which you could barely fit through. Then you walk outside the tunnel, and there's thousands of people going nuts. That's wild. We've played some great games there, and the fans have been very supportive."

Maryland's last game at Memorial Stadium probably will be Saturday at 1:30 p.m., when Maryland (2-6)faces No. 9 Penn State (7-2). Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger reiterated this week that because of the improvements to university facilities, the Terps probably will play all their home games at Byrd Stadium.

Within the past year, Byrd Stadium has undergone $13.2 million inrenovations to the concrete bowl, rest rooms and concession areas. A $6.1 million football team center is expected to be finished by next season.

"I don't foresee us playing any more games there" at Memorial Stadium, said Geiger. "We're spending millions of dollars on facilities here, so why not showcase them? We want to build this program, build on this university, and one of the ways to do that is attracting people to your campus."

Maryland played Navy twice at Memorial Stadium in 1958 and '59, but didn't return until 1984. The Terps have played one game there every year since, except for 1988.

Three of the Baltimore games have exceeded the capacity of 60,575, and another sellout is expected Saturday. The largest crowd was the 62,500 that attended the game against Penn State in 1987, and the smallest was 39,255 against Clemson last season.

But besides the financial advantages, Maryland has played at Memorial Stadium to relieve the alienation Baltimoreans felt from the state's largest university and to attract recruits from the Baltimore metropolitan area.

"It was our way of appeasing our alumni in Baltimore who thought the university had become too associated with Washington," said Sue Tyler, one of Maryland's associate athletic directors. "I'm sure it didn't make a lot of people around here happy."

According to Maryland junior wide receiver Richie Harris, from Mount St. Joseph High, the game in Baltimore helped land former area players such as Vernon Joines (wide receiver, Southwestern High, Cleveland Browns), Warren Powers (defensive tackle, Edmondson, Denver Broncos), Mark Agent (center, Gilman) and current Terps Kevin Washington (tight end, Dunbar), Jamie Flores (linebacker, Poly) and Ryan Beveridge (strong safety, City).

"I remember talking to those guys when I came here for a visit, and it was a big game for them," said Harris.

Flores said: "The game was definitely a selling point. A lot of guys love to get a chance to play in front of the home crowd."

Geiger said he didn't feel that not playing in Memorial Stadium would hurt recruiting in Baltimore.

He also said business people in College Park complained the game took money away.

"I thought one of the biggest recruiting tools is facilities, and we've got them," said Geiger. "Overall, I think people will try to understand what we're trying to do here."

NOTES: Maryland coach Joe Krivak said yesterday that it would be "ludricus" to say that he hasn't thought about quitting. His team is 2-6, has lost 4 starters for the season to injuries, and lost 3 defensive starters Monday because of academic problems. But Krivak said he wouldn't make any evaluations about his status until after the season. "Each year after the season," said Krivak, "I take some time off with my wife and talk about football, the program and our lives. It would be unfair to make any decision at this time. You need to wait till it's over and reflect."

Geiger says he has been talking with Penn State athletic director Jim Tarman, but the 2 haven't found a mutual open date to continue the series, which ends in 1993. . . . Maryland junior S Andre Vaughn (Oakland Mills) will not play the rest of the season because of ligament damage in his knee.

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