Dick Nolan, former San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints head coach, said last night he was interviewed for the football coaching job at Maryland last weekend and he is interested in the job.
"Certainly, I'm interested," Nolan said over the telephone from his home in Houston, where he is the defensive coordinator for the Oilers. "I've talked to them a couple of times the past four or five days and I consider it a great challenge and an honor. Maryland is a great school with a great tradition and you have to consider it an honor whenever your alma mater wants you back."
Nolan played on Maryland's 1953 national championship team as a running back and defensive back.
The Maryland job opened when Jerry Claiborne accepted the head coaching job at the University of Kentucky on Dec. 16 after 10 years in College Park. Claiborne announced yesterday in Lexington that he has hired four of his former assistants off the Maryland staff to join him at Kentucky, including Jerry Eisaman, who had been mentioned as a candidate at Maryland.
Nolan, meanwhile, said he was not offered the job, but added that Maryland Athletic Director Dick Dull contacted him about a week ago. Until that contact, he said he had not thought about college coaching.
"I've been in professional football for 27 years, but the chance to go back to my alma mater is very appealing," said Nolan, who never has coached in college.
Nolan said he was given no indication as to when the new coach would be named. "I imagine they'll bring in several more people and talk to them before a decision is made," he said.
Dull was not available for comment last night.
Eisaman, Maryland's offensive coordinator and a former Kentucky player, had expressed interest in the Maryland job. A number of players, most notably quarterback Norman (Boomer) Esiason, had publicly lobbied for Eisaman.
Eisaman could not be reached for comment last night.
The other Maryland assistants joining Claiborne at Kentucky are John Devlin, Jack Hallum and Terry Strock. Claiborne also said he was retaining Wildcat assistant Bill Glaser and hiring Rod Sharpless, who coached linebackers at Richmond last year and was a Maryland assistant from 1977 to 1980.
Dull said earlier that all Terrapin assistants were welcome to apply for Claiborne's job, but made it known he was looking for a big-name coach as the replacement. He also had extended the assistant coaches' contracts to Feb. 20 to allow them to look for new positions.
Left behind, for now at least, are seven Maryland assistants, including Tom Groom, George Foussekis, Dick Redding, John Misciagna, Gib Romaine, Farrell Sheridan and Frank Verducci.
Eisaman was the Kentucky quarterback and cocaptain in 1959 and joined Claiborne's Maryland staff in 1972.
Claiborne said Devlin will coach the linebackers, Hallum the offensive line and Strock the defensive backs. He said he hasn't assigned responsibilities to Sharpless and Glaser yet.
In other developments, sources said yesterday that Navy Athletic Director J.O. (Bo) Coppedge has started interviewing possible replacements for George Welsh, who will coach his last game for the Midshipmen Wednesday against Ohio State in the Liberty Bowl.
The only name Coppedge would confirm was Pete McCulley, a New York Jet assistant who coached at Navy under Rick Forzano and who has expressed an interest in the job.
"It just wouldn't be fair to say if he was at the top of the list or not," said Coppedge. "All I can say is he is on the list."