Maryland football Coach Bobby Ross said yesterday he is "sincerely interested" in Missouri's vacant head coaching job, and "got a lot of questions answered" in a three-hour meeting Monday night with Missouri's director of athletics, Dave Hart.
Ross appears to be a leading candidate to replace Warren Powers, who was fired last week after the Tigers finished 3-7-1, his first losing season in seven years. Sources also say the Maryland coach has not been especially happy with Byrd Stadium facilities or with inconsistent support from Maryland fans and alumni.
Earlier this season, Ross was perturbed -- after going 16-6 his first two regular seasons -- to receive harsh mail after the team lost its first two games. Even before that, Ross was miffed that alumni and booster club functions before the start of the 1984 season were not heavily attended. Ross always has declined to criticize Maryland alumni and supporters publicly.
He also said yesterday he would like to see a "long-range plan of direction" involving Byrd Stadium, including a stadium expansion to 60,000 seats.
Ross indicated he couldn't gauge Hart's interest after their meeting in Greenville, S.C., where Ross was fulfilling a speaking engagement. "I'm looking to hear from them again, I would assume."
Asked if he was leaning one way or another in regard to the job, Ross said, "I am, but I don't want to comment on that just yet. I talked to my wife for a couple of hours about it last night (Monday). I would have to talk to my children about it, too.
"Nothing definite has come about," Ross said. "I guess you could say it's in limbo right now. But I don't want it to stay that way. I would like something resolved by the end of the week."
Ross said he probably will meet with Dick Dull, Maryland's director of athletics, later this week. Neither Dull nor Hart was available to comment yesterday.
Ross called Monday's meeting with Hart "very productive in that I got a lot of questions answered, and (he) probably got a lot of questions about me answered, too."
Still, Ross said, he has not began making a decision on the job at Missouri. "It hasn't reached that point yet."
He has compiled a 24-11 record with three bowl appearances and two Atlantic Coast Conference championships.
Ross said he has been generally pleased with Maryland's commitment to the football program, which he took over as head coach in 1981, replacing Jerry Claiborne.
But Ross talked yesterday about the improvements he would like to see regarding Byrd Stadium.
"All I want to see is some type of specific, long-range plan of direction," Ross said. "I feel we're in about as good a shape as we can be with the football portion, recruiting and academics; all 18 of our seniors will graduate by the end of the summer.
"But there are some concerns over facilities. We would like to see some expansion (in 45,000-seat Byrd Stadium). I'm not talking about seating 85,000 or anything like that, but maybe 60,000 with more comfortable seating for the fans (Byrd has predominantly metal bleachers)."
Asked if he thought Maryland would commit to such improvements, Ross said, "I don't know. And even if they don't it doesn't mean that I wouldn't stay. It's a concern though."
Ross said, "I have not let this distract me from my work here. I'm very much into it. We've got (Sun Bowl) preparation going on, and I'm meeting with several of the seniors about all-star game appearances and their preparations for the possibilities of professional football and all the things that come along with that."
Maryland rewarded Ross with a new multi-year contract after last season when he was one of the leading candidates -- if not the top candidate -- for the head coaching job at the University of Minnesota.
Ross said additional personal income is not his primary concern. He said he was more concerned with where the football program will be five years down the road.