Geiger is '95%' sure Krivak will be retained

November 18, 1991|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Evening Sun Staff

Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger said last night he is 95 percent sure he will retain Joe Krivak as football coach next season.

Geiger, who became Maryland's athletic director last September, said he still plans to meet with Krivak, 56, at the end of the season. Krivak is in the first year of a four-year contract that was renewed last November. He has compiled a 20-33-2 record in five years at Maryland.

"I support Joe Krivak as our football coach," said Geiger. "I also support him as a human being, and I want to support him as our future coach. I'm 95 percent sure that he'll be our coach, but there are still questions we need to talk about, and we need to review the season."

Geiger would not specify all the subjects he planned to talk with Krivak about but said he was concerned about the attitude and play of the team after Maryland lost to then-No. 22 Syracuse, 31-17, and a week later was routed by West Virginia, 37-7, in the second and third games of the season.

"The week between Syracuse and West Virginia, something happened," said Geiger. "We had played well against Virginia and Syracuse, not great, but we were excited, competitive. Then we're at home against West Virginia in front of a very large crowd, and we lose. We never seemed to recover after that. I want to know what happened.

"We can't have another season like this one," said Geiger. "I'm not talking just about wins and losses but games where we're getting blown out. We need to talk about the direction of the program. Joe and I haven't had a chance to sit down and really discuss the season."

It is no secret that Geiger, the football coaching staff, alumni and supporters are disappointed with this season. A year ago everything seemed to be in place for the program to take off. The Terps had a 6-5-1 record and appeared in the Poulan/Weed Eater Independence Bowl, the first winning season and bowl appearance since 1985. New facilities were taking shape at Maryland and Krivak's new contract was expected to help recruiting.

Instead, Maryland is 2-8. The Terps have been routed by West Virginia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Penn State and Clemson. Maryland is ranked last in total offense (275.6 yards per game) and next-to-last in total defense (413.8) in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the Terps have a game remaining with N.C. State Saturday.

Krivak said last night that he wanted to remain as coach and was glad to have Geiger's support. He also said that injuries, which caused him to lose four starters for the season, a tough schedule and the dismissal of three defensive starters because of academic difficulties hurt this year's team.

"I said at the beginning of the year we would be competitive if we didn't have injuries," said Krivak. "We've lost five to six players we started the season with against Virginia. So we had to work around who you could or couldn't play, plus our schedule doesn't permit much of a margin for error. It's much easier to play with confidence after you win two tough ballgames than if you lose them. Each year that I've been here we've lost two or three games that could have gone either way. If I win those two games, we wouldn't be here talking about my record."

Krivak said he and his staff hope the uncertainty about his status in recent weeks hasn't hurt recruiting. The Terps will probably hit the junior college circuit to get some immediate help in the secondary as well as some speed on the perimeter. The Terps will lose six starters on defense and three on offense at the end of the season. Next year will be the third consecutive season the Terps will have a starting quarterback who has not started a college game.

"I understand Andy Geiger's thinking, but the big thing now is to see how much effect this has had on recruiting," said Krivak. "A lot of public perception about the university, especially locally, comes from the newspapers.

"Every year there are these fabrications about where I'm going to be at the end of the year, if I'll return," said Krivak. "I just got a four-year contract, and people are probably saying, 'Oh, that Krivak is in trouble again.' Hell, I've been in trouble since day one. But I've been in this business a long time, and I know once you get the players and the athletes you need, everything becomes a little bit more do-able. We need another good recruiting class, and that might put us over the hump."

Geiger said his immediate focus was on the entire football program and the athletic department, which runs on $2.5 million a year, not just on recruiting.

"I have my responsibilities to an entire athletic department as well as the university," said Geiger. "It's my job to ask questions and get the answers even if it goes two weeks past the football season."

John Wright, a season-ticket holder and Terrapin Club member who played on the 1946 and 1947 teams, said: "I don't see how Joe, particularly off this year, is going to become a recruiting wizard. If they keep him, there is not a doggone thing we can do about it. Maybe if they get blown out by N.C. State, Andy Geiger might think differently. I think there is going to be a tremendously bad reaction from the Terrapin Club. I don't see how this team is going to get better next year."

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