COLLEGE PARK -- Despite a deficit in the athletic department that could reach nearly $5 million, University of Maryland officials feel there are enough positives about the university and the community to attract a quality football coach to replace Joe Krivak, who resigned Friday afternoon.
Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger said he will begin his search for a new coach immediately, which means he will begin organizing an interview committee tomorrow. He said he would like to have a coach in place before Feb. 6, the national signing date for recruits.
He also knows the liabilities and assets of selling Maryland.
"Every factor will be taken into consideration, including expenses and revenue," said Geiger. "But if you look at the overall picture -- facilities, location, conference, the university itself, as well as other things -- Maryland has a lot to offer."
Budgetary considerations, now possibly including a settlement on the remaining three years of Krivak's contract, probably will limit the Terps to a Division I-AA coach or an assistant on a Division I staff searching for his first head coaching job.
That's why names such as Mark Duffner of Holy Cross, Jimmye Laycock of William & Mary, Bill Lewis of East Carolina and Andy Talley of Villanova kept surfacing Friday.
Maryland is considered a class above each of those schools.
"Maryland is very capable of being a top 20 football team," said Talley.
Its attractions include location, with Baltimore, Washington and Alexandria, Va., just a short ride away.
"You can draw from all of those areas," said Gerald Gurney, associate athletic director of academic support. "But we're not just talking about recruits, we're talking about economic development and opportunity. Despite the recession, the area economy is still better than most regions in the country."
Talley prefers to talk about the recruiting advantages.
"The location is excellent for attracting home-grown talent while Maryland has a strong enough name to recruit nationally," said Talley. "Once they have a few winning seasons and get in a couple of bowl games, they can go anywhere in the country to catch a top tailback and a top quarterback."
Geiger likes to sell the Atlantic Coast Conference and the new facilities at Maryland. Five ACC teams -- Georgia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina State, Clemson and Florida State -- are playing in bowl games.
Byrd Stadium recently underwent a $13.2 million face lift that included new seats, a huge concession area and a five-story press box. Construction also is under way on a $6.1 million football team center.
While Krivak said the stringent academic and admission
guidelines handcuffed him for five years, Gurney says the academic standards will help bring in recruits.
Standards are one reason Geiger probably will select a coach from a school that has similar guidelines as Maryland. The Terps are allowed eight to 10 special admissions per year for football.
"We offer what, 130 majors here and we have a good minority population," said Gurney. "We have a number of programs to help athletes with their studies. In no way do I feel our academic standards interfere with performance level on the field."
But Maryland officials can't paint a completely rosy picture. A prospective coach will look at the schedule, particularly Maryland's out of conference games. Last year Maryland played Penn State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia. Next year Maryland drops Syracuse, but adds Florida State.
Geiger has said the schedule won't be downgraded.
"If I were a coach being interviewed, I would have to take a good, long look at that schedule," said Gurney. "I would also take a good look at my chance of success, past success rate here and the longevity of the athletic director. We've been through quite a few in the last couple of years, but I think we're pretty secure now."
Former Maryland coach Bobby Ross won three ACC championships in five years at Maryland but once he saw the tighter academic standards coming, he left and eventually ended up at Georgia Tech. Krivak had only a 20-34-2 record in five years at Maryland.
Terps alumni and supporters have often talked about returning Maryland to the glory years, but except for a few brief periods since the team began playing football in 1892, Maryland teams have ranged from bad to slightly better than average.
A new coach also must compete in recruiting not only with ACC teams, but most of Maryland's out of conference foes.
Krivak had a superb recruiting season a year ago, but even he admits the program will go through some lean times before the Terps can win regularly again.
"I will not back off certain issues," said Krivak. "The schedule doesn't allow for much margin of error and the standards sometimes caused us not to have guys for spring practice and ready for the opening game of the season.
"The talent pool has become smaller and we've had to beat the bushes for players, but there are some good, young players in the program. I'm not trying to put the onus on anyone, but there's going to be some tough years ahead."
Geiger has a tough job ahead of him, too. Even though he rehired Krivak after last season, this will be his first "true" hire since being named athletic director last September. The pressure will also be on, especially after the disturbing way in which Krivak was forced to resign.
With all this said, who still wants the job?
"I don't have a list right now, but any name is viable," said Geiger.