Chaump feels extra heat before Army-Navy game

November 24, 1993|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When Naval Academy athletic director Jack Lengyel innocently forgot to introduce football coach George Chaump yesterday at a press luncheon for the Dec. 4 Army-Navy game at Giants Stadium, Chaump said jokingly, "I hope this isn't an omen."

Chaump was only half-kidding. His future in Annapolis could hinge on beating Army, the last game on his four-year contract. His record going into the game is 11-32.

"I put pressure on myself to win every game," Chaump said, "but you especially want to win in a year your contract expires. This is your livelihood, and you're concerned about the security of your family. Right now, my future is in the hands of a bunch of 21-year-olds."

Asked about the necessity of beating Army, he added: "A lot of people back in Annapolis feel this is our most important game, and I understand that."

Chaump noted that service academy coaches face unusual restrictions in recruiting because of high academic standards and a five-year service commitment after graduation.

"It's not as level a playing field as for other coaches," he said, "but the same emphasis is put on winning games, and it's a short ride from the penthouse to the outhouse."

After later introducing Chaump "as a coach I'd like to have my sons play for," Lengyel said that Chaump's future will not be decided until the season ends.

"I think George is a fine coach, and he's definitely helped our program, but we've had some problems the last few games [lopsided losses to Vanderbilt and Southern Methodist] that I'm sure no one was satisfied with."

The decision to rehire Chaump will not be Lengyel's alone.

"We'll have our usual season-ending meeting with our athletic board of control and our superintendent [Rear Adm. Tom Lynch]." In the end, the decision will rest with Lynch, a former linebacker who captained the Midshipmen in 1963, when they went to the Cotton Bowl.

One name that has surfaced as a possible candidate to replace Chaump is Tom O'Brien, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Virginia. O'Brien was a three-year starter at defensive end for Navy from 1968 to 1970.

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