COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland assistant coaches and officials waited edgily today for Joe Krivak's expected announcement that he is stepping down as head football coach.
"It's coming pretty soon, but he hasn't officially said it," an assistant coach said. "He wants to talk to the players first."
Krivak called two meeetings today, the first at 2 p.m. with his assistants and the second at 3 p.m. to talk to the players. At noon, the athletic department scheduled a press conference to RTC follow those meetings which would be "featuring" Krivak and athletic director Andy Geiger, according to a release.
Secretaries, sports information people and the few assistant coaches in the office today declined to comment. Geiger also was not available for comment.
On WBAL Radio, announcer Jim West, after a conversation with Krivak, said the coach "was reserving comment" until after today's meetings. "He will leave," West said.
One athletic department official said Krivak, 56, is resigning because of pressure resulting from the evaluation of the program by Geiger the past two weeks.
The status of Krivak's contract is unclear. He has three years remaining on the $94,000 per year contract he signed after the 1990 season.
Krivak also canceled the first visit by recruits on the campus this weekend.
"Joe thought that if he had another good recruiting class, it might put the program over the hump within two or three years," said one official, who asked not to be identified. "But he did not think he could get it done next season and he didn't want to go through the pressures he has gone through since losing the Penn State game this season.
"Joe thought he didn't get much support from the administration. The evaluation killed recruiting, and the pressure was too much."
Krivak's nine assistants will be paid through the first of June when their contracts expire. Their status beyond that has not been determined.
Krivak had a 20-34-2 record in five years at Maryland with his only winning season coming in 1990 as the Terps finished 6-5-1 and tied Louisiana Tech, 34-34, in the Poulan Weed Eater Independence Bowl.
Last November after Maryland upset Virginia, 35-30, to clinch its first winning regular season since 1985, Geiger signed Krivak to a four-year contract. The program seemed on the move with the bowl appearance and renovations to Byrd Stadium under way.
But Maryland finished 2-9 this past year, its worst season since 1971. The Terps lost four starters before the midway point, and had three more defensive starters declared academically ineligible before the ninth game against Penn State.
Krivak came under intense criticism from alumni and supporters of the program after the eighth week of the season, when the Terps lost to North Carolina, 24-0, followed by losses to Penn State, Clemson and N.C. State.
Krivak's critics have said he was unable to motivate and relate to his players.
Geiger, who before the evaluation said he was 95 percent certain he would retain Krivak as coach, publicly criticized the team for not playing with enthusiasm a week before the season ended. He also wanted more black assistants on the staff and, according to sources, was unhappy with several of the assistant coaches.
He scheduled a meeting with Krivak two days after the season began and interviewed players this week. Most of the younger players, according to veterans, said they wanted Krivak replaced as coach.
During his five years, Krivak often complained he was handcuffed by school academic standards, which are higher than those of the NCAA. Krivak also said injuries caused the Terps to have a dismal 1991 season.
Krivak was named coach at Maryland in November of 1986, replacing Bobby Ross.