Joe Krivak recently read an autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant. No doubt he'll be better prepared the next time he reaches a football Appomattox.
Krivak, 56, surrendered to Maryland athletic director AndGeiger last Dec. 6, resigning as the Terps' football coach with three years left on his contract.
These days he's doing a little reading, a little traveling, a lot orelaxing. Why, he's even thinking of writing a book. A civil war manual for embattled coaches? Krivak won't say.
Incredibly, the man who helped groom NFL quarterbackBoomer Esiason, Frank Reich and Neil O'Donnell is without a job for next season, but apparently it's his own choice.
Krivak can afford to be picky. Geiger confirmed yesterday thathe school and its former coach have reached a settlement on the remaining part of his contract.
Geiger did not disclose terms, but Krivak had an annual salary of $94,000. Presumably, the settlement will enable him to take a year off and live comfortably.
That evidently is Krivak's plan. After resigning under pressureafter 34 years of coaching, he deserves a rest. He said this week he won't pursue football jobs until after this season, if then.
Make no mistake: He can set his own terms. "His absence frocoaching only will be as brief as he wishes to make it," said Joe Paterno, who once tried to hire Krivak as an assistant at Penn State.
How brief is that? Krivak isn't sure. Typically, his first prioritafter resigning was helping his former assistants find jobs. "That's what I've been doing the last 2-3 months," he said.
None of his nine full-time assistants was retained by new Maryland coach Mark Duffner. But six already have landed at other colleges, and a seventh (George Foussekis) still might.
That isn't a bad percentage, considering that one of the othetwo (Jeff Mann) isn't even interested in staying in football. Maybe Krivak should open his own job-placement service.
"He was extremely supportive," said former Krivak assistant Kurt Van Valkenburgh, now the linebackers coach at Louisville. "He showed a tremendous concern toward the staff.
"No doubt about it, he worried more about everyone on the staff than himself. He directed all his energy that way. I've never been around anyone like that."
But that's Krivak. He had money coming. His assistants did not. "They've got families," he said. "That was the biggest thing."
Fine, but what about his own career?
At 56, he's five years younger than New England Patriots coacDick MacPherson. He planned to coach at Maryland another three years. It's not as if he's burned out.
"Most of the football situations are pretty well set for next year,Krivak said. "It's counter-productive to pursue something at this point in time.
"Come next year, there will be a lot of things that happen, just as they do every year. "At that point in time, I've got to decide which way I want to go."
Krivak said he received several inquiries this winter, but no seoffers. It was widely assumed he would rejoin Bobby Ross with the San Diego Chargers, but that never developed.
When Ross surfaced as the leading candidate for that job, Krivasaid, "The thought of working in the NFL does intrigue me, and I would be interested if a position became available."
"There was nothing there to begin with," said Krivak, who waRoss' quarterback coach at Maryland from 1982-86. "Bobby and I have always had a good relationship. But I never really made a contact along those lines."
He probably just wants a break. Krivak was 20-34-2 in five yearat Maryland, including 2-9 last season, the school's worst record since 1971. He won't say if he's bitter toward Geiger. But surely the AD's tortuous review left him weary.
The hiatus, Van Valkenburgh said, "is Joe's decision more than anything else. He needed this time to collect his thoughts. He was going to take advantage of that opportunity.
"I think he'll be back," Van Valkenburgh said. "He just needsome time, which was very understandable under the circumstances, the way things were done."
Krivak said he'll only coach again if he finds the right fit. Surelthere's a place for him in college football, or even the pros.
The other Division I schools in Maryland last season were what, combined 3-412? Any one of them should consider hiring Krivak, if only to look respectable.
For now, you'll find Krivak speaking at clinics, luncheons and graduations, or spending an afternoon on the golf course with his wife Jean.
That Grant autobiography showed one thing: Krivak made out better than Robert E. Lee.