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Geiger saw evidence of a winning team long before Terps defeated Pittsburgh


In one sense, Maryland's first football victory of the season meant less to athletic director Andy Geiger than it did to other Terps supporters.

To some, the team's 47-34 victory over Pitt last weekend signified that new coach Mark Duffner could win at Maryland.

Some even suggest that the Pitt game has turned the program around.

But one win hasn't changed Geiger's thinking. As far as he's concerned, the program was turned around before this.

Even when the Terps were winless, Geiger was seeing things that convinced him the team was on the right road.

"I'm upbeat," Geiger said then. "You can see the difference. The team is more fun to watch. The players and coaches are a family now. I'm very confident the program will improve."

Yesterday Geiger reiterated the confidence he has had in this program from the beginning.

"The team has played with enthusiasm in all five games," Geiger said. "The feedback we're getting is great. Mark Duffner is popular internally and externally.

"The fans like his kind of football because it's such an adventure. They know now that we will attack, and young men love to play that kind of football."

The 1-4 Terps play Georgia Tech Saturday (4 o'clock) at College Park. But, again, Geiger is not measuring progress by a handful of games or by the present record.

"You look at a concept," he says, "and judge by that. I think Maryland is going to burst back on the scene with a couple more recruiting classes. I look at this over the long haul and I feel good about the future of Maryland football."

* An example of the time it can take to turn around a football program is little Western Maryland College, where coach Dale Sprague's team is 4-0.

Sprague came to Westminster in 1986 and was 0-10. In '87 he was 1-8-1. In '88, his Terrors went 1-9; in '90, it was 2-8. Only in '90, when it was 6-3-1, did the team start to win.

Let's hope it doesn't take Duffner that long. No doubt it takes longer at a Division III school.

* When a baseball team becomes the darling of a community, as the Orioles have in their new Camden Yards home, they bring certain ancillary success with them. Ted Venetoulis admits that in explaining the successful first year of the Orioles Gazette, which he publishes.

"I think what we've been able to accomplish in this economy is remarkable," said Venetoulis, the former Baltimore County executive, at a first anniversary party for his paper held at the Camden Club. "We have 7,000 subscribers from 48 states and 18 countries. Of course, the Orioles' great year had a lot to do with it."

So, too, did landing former Orioles PR man Bob Brown as the Gazette's managing editor.

* Board member Rowland King, of the Babe Ruth Museum, points with pride to the 73 percent increase in visitors to Emory Street during the just concluded Orioles season.

Adds Greg Schwalenberg, of the museum staff: "From April through September in 1991, we drew 27,806 people. This year with the new ballpark [and record Orioles attendance of 3,567,819] we had 47,566."

* Jim Karvellas, the once and future Washington Bullets basketball announcer, says of his upcoming duties back at the mike for Abe Pollin's team:

"A lot of people are telling me they remember me on the old Baltimore Bullet broadcasts when the team had Earl Monroe and Gus Johnson," he said. "I don't want to disappoint those people."

The talented Karvellas won't disappoint anybody when he calls the Bullets games on WDCA-TV Channel 20 this season. He's been doing New York Knicks games but kept a home in Ocean City for the past dozen years.

* The American League East will be represented in the playoffs starting tomorrow by the Toronto Blue Jays (vs. Oakland). Says manager Cito Gaston, whose Jays have never been to a World Series:

"We've been here three times. I just hope we go a little bit further this time. Like all the way."

Cito hopes for that more than people realize. There's a lot of whispering that if Toronto fails again in the postseason -- if the Jays don't at least get to the World Series -- there'll be a new manager.

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