Johns Hopkins coach John Haus, who is trying to guide the Blue Jays to their 29th consecutive NCAA tournament after the school's worst start in 34 years, has dismissed speculation that he could become the next coach at North Carolina.
Haus, who took his first head coaching job at Hopkins in 1998 and signed a five-year contract extension there a year later, has talked with Tar Heels officials about the opening that will occur when Dave Klarmann steps down after this season.
Haus played the talks, saying they represented more of a "chat" than a job interview. Hopkins athletic director Tom Calder said he granted Carolina permission to talk to Haus last fall.
"John has talked with North Carolina, and I've talked to John. He's very happy with his situation at Hopkins," said Calder, who added that he plans to approach Haus next year about another contract extension.
Haus' ties to North Carolina -- he was a two-time All-America defenseman with the Tar Heels in 1982 and 1983 and part of two national championship teams -- have prompted speculation within collegiate lacrosse circles that Haus is headed back to Chapel Hill.
"There's nothing to any of that. I'd rather not talk about that at all," Haus said. "I'm with these 36 kids at Hopkins, and that's what's important to me. I'm the head lacrosse coach at Johns Hopkins, and I'm here to stay, I hope."
Haus laughed, alluding to the pressure that comes with running the show on the Homewood campus.
The Blue Jays, who advanced to the Final Four in Haus' inaugural season and were highly touted coming into 2000, stumbled through their first 1-3 start since 1966. They have since rallied with three consecutive victories to post a winning record for the first time this year.
With a challenging four-game stretch ahead that includes Saturday night's showdown with visiting Maryland and the regular-season finale at Loyola on May 6, Hopkins is facing the possibility of missing the NCAAs for the first time since 1971.
Dick Baddour, North Carolina's athletic director, did not return phone calls.
Terps' close calls
Saturday's game at Homewood figures to be a low-scoring affair, since neither team has lighted up the scoreboard much this spring. It also figures to be close, since Maryland always seems to play that way.
By taking a big step toward getting an NCAA bid with last week's 6-5 win over Navy, the Terps won their fourth game this year by a goal. They also have lost a one-goal decision to Duke. The five one-goal games tie a single-season record set in 1989.
"We've had five [one-goal games] in the last six weeks, four of them good. I can't remember anything close to this," said Maryland coach Dick Edell, in his 17th year at College Park. "People think I've got a deal with the concessionaires to keep the fans around. I have very little stomach left."
A victory at Hopkins would pretty much clinch a tournament bid for the Terps (7-2), off to their best start since 1997, the last year they advanced to the NCAA title game.
"It seems our heroes have changed hats every week," Edell said.
Defense has been the constant. Goalkeeper Pat McGinnis, considered a huge question mark when the season began, is fifth in the nation with a 6.98 goals-against average. His 27-save effort against Virginia on March 31 ranks best in Division I this year.
The No. 7 Terps are allowing just seven goals a game, and they have allowed just seven goals in 42 man-down situations.
Changes help Hopkins
Hopkins has revived its season with a number of lineup changes in recent weeks. Freshmen Adam Doneger and Bobby Benson have given the attack life and taken some of the burden off Dan Denihan. Doneger has started the last three games and has produced two goals in each.
Shawn Nadelin, formerly a long-stick midfielder, has replaced P. J. DiConza on defense. Rob Frattarola has replaced Conor Denihan on the first midfield unit. Frattarola scored three times in Saturday's win over Ohio State.
Navy in a corner
Losing back-to-back games to Georgetown and Maryland have considerably dimmed Navy's hopes of returning to the NCAA tournament. The Midshipmen basically must win their last four games, beginning Friday night against visiting Penn State.
"All we can do now is look forward. What's in front of us has to be taken care of," Navy coach Richie Meade said. "Maybe we'll look back [on those key losses] in June and say that was our time. But we've got a chance to go 10-3, and that's a good year."