It's not a banner day at Cole for Geiger Ushers confiscate sign by two alumni

January 19, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Sun Staff Correspondent Don Markus of The Sun's sports staff contributed to this article.

COLLEGE PARK -- One of the first visible signs of discontent with Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger's handling of former football coach Joe Krivak surfaced during yesterday's Maryland-Florida State men's basketball game.

A banner, which read "Duffner's OK, But Geiger's Got to Go," was held aloft by two alumni from their seats behind the basket at the closed end of Cole Field House late in the first half.

An usher ordered the men to put the banner away, then confiscated it. Shortly after the banner was taken away, new head football coach Mark Duffner and members of his coaching staff were introduced to the crowd of 13,360, which gave them a rousing ovation.

The two men, James Wetzel, 24, of College Park, and Ron Shockley, 25, of Bethesda, said they didn't have a problem with Duffner, who was hired last month to replace Krivak. Instead, they said, they were upset with Geiger's evaluation of Krivak, who resigned in December.

"We don't have any gripes with Duffner, and Krivak probably had to go, but we didn't like the way he [Geiger] handled it, " Wetzel said.

Wetzel and Shockley said their banner was taken down because it expressed a sentiment critical of Geiger.

"They said they had to approve the banner," Shockley said. "I think the reason was that they didn't like what it said."

The banner was returned to them late in the second half at Geiger's request, though sports information director Herb Hartnett said the school's policy was that safety reasons prohibited the display of banners.

After the game, Geiger said he had understood that a banner would be displayed, but wasn't worried about its content.

"When you make a decision and things go a certain way that are not so pretty, people are unhappy," said Geiger. "These things happen. It goes with the territory."

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