The University of Kentucky will honor the contract of Fran Curci as head football coach and will not consider replacing him with former Redskin coach George Allen, a member of the school's athletics board said yesterday.
Tommy Bell, a Lexington, Ky., lawyer who knows Allen personally through his 15 years as a National Football League referee, said, "If we went along with Gov. (John Y.) Brown (who wants the university to hire Allen), then all the parties involved would have black marks for not honoring Curci's contract.
"I'm sure that the athletics board will carry through its commitment to Curci. I also feel that the governor would want us to honor that."
Brown is unhappy with Curci's 44-43-2 record over the past eight seasons. The Kentucky program also has had a number of off-the-field problems with players, including one who was convicted of negligent homicide.
Allen said in a copyrighted story today in the Louisville Courier-Journal that he is interested in the job and probably would take it if it became available.
However, Dr. Otis Singletary, the university president and the chairman of the 22-member athletics board, indicated in a weekend statement that Curci still has 3 1/2 years remaining on his contract, and that any change in coaches would have to be approved by the board, not Brown.
"Brown obviously wants the best for Kentucky," Bell said. "We appreciate that. But the board has its own insights into the football program. At the end of the 1980 season, the board expressed its concern for both on- and off-the-field problems.
"We're confident that Curci will be able to turn around the program in 1981."
Curci's team finished 3-8 last year.
"Kentucky's been the butt of jokes that we would have another 3-8 season: three acquittals and eight convictions," Bell said. "I think Gov. Brown is sensitive to those things."
Brown has discussed hiring Allen in place of Curci with university administrators the last six months. Reached in Louisville yesterday, Brown said that Allen's coming to Kentucky might depend on "public reaction and interest.
"A large majority of football fans know about George Allen's winning background," Brown said. "The athletics board should be alerted that Allen is available. George Allen is the best we can find -- but some of those old board guys are stodgy and stubborn."
As Brown sees it, Allen's strength would be recruiting blue-chip players. "He'd sit down with the kids and their parents, and tell them he's running a pro offense and defense. He could develop their skills for the pros, let kids know their prospects.
"George Allen could give Kentucky a program like Georgia, Texas or Alabama. I would just like the athletics board to consider this better opportunity."
Allen, who reportedly has turned down three other college offers since leaving the Redskins, told the Courier-Journal, "Anybody, whether he's in college football or professional football, would have to be interested in the potential of a great school like Kentucky. . .The potential is there. They've got such great facilities. I know there's lots of enthusiasm and pride and I know they've supported the program."