Bobby Ross agreed in principle yesterday to a 10-year contract to continue coaching the University of Maryland football team.
The agreement came during a 90-minute meeting with Athletic Director Dick Dull just one day after Ross, 24-11 in three seasons at Maryland, announced he had withdrawn from consideration for the coaching job at Missouri.
Some terms, such as salary and revenue from Ross' television show, still need to be negotiated, then approved by John Slaughter, chancellor of the College Park campus.
"We've agreed on the length of it and a commitment to each other," Ross said. "I felt very good about it, and I think he (Dull) did, too. Now he is going to work out the terms. There isn't going to be any difficulty with that."
Dull said he will meet with Slaughter, then meet again next week with Ross. Dull and Ross said they hope to have a contract within two weeks. Although the contract will cover 10 years, Dull always has negotiated salaries on an annual basis.
The contract will provide Ross a bonus -- in the form of an annual annuity payment -- after he has been at Maryland an additional five years. That provision, negotiated last year when Ross declined a four-year offer, is being funded through a private source, Dull said.
Ross confirmed he never signed the four-year, revolving contract he was offered a year ago after turning down overtures from the University of Minnesota and the Houston Oilers.
It was then that he asked for the current one-year contract that pays $70,000 base salary, $45,000 for a television show and provided him a Cadillac. It expires next month.
Some sources said the one-year contract was an indication that Ross did not want to make a long-term commitment to Maryland. Yesterday, Ross said such a reading was incorrect. "There were just certain things (in the contract) that weren't totally right," Ross said. "The timing was bad, and I made a decision to go one year with it."
Recently, Dull signed Lefty Driesell to a new contract that will keep him at the university for at least five years after he steps down as basketball coach. Now, there apparently is stability in the football office, too.
"It was obvious from talking to Bobby he's willing to make a long-term commitment," Dull said. "That's what I wanted last year . . . Those people who believe I was going to give up and lose Bobby Ross don't know me very well. They forget I brought him here. People forget how committed I am to the man."
Asked what would happen when other teams become interested now, Ross said, "As long as I've got a contract, my obligation is to the University of Maryland. If anything comes up and Maryland would release me from that, fine. But, with this, I don't want to be thinking about other people."
Dull and Ross also discussed facilities. The primary topic, according to both, was the availability of an indoor practice facility.
Ross doesn't expect a new facility that would cost $8-9 million ("I'd like that, but I don't think that's realistic," he said), but wants a commitment that the university's Armory will be available during inclement weather.
"It hasn't been that we haven't used it (the Armory)," Ross said. "We've used it quite a bit, and I'd like to have it available in season and offseason (spring practice). It's a place to go where we can do some team work and that type of thing. I'm only talking about several days, and an hour of those days. I realize it's a general student facility, not ours."
Ross said he couldn't remember the football team practicing in the Armory more than five times in his three years as coach.
The Terrapins (8-3) will take a six-game winning streak into their Dec. 22 Sun Bowl game against Tennessee. During that stretch, they have averaged 510 yards offense per game and beaten Miami and Clemson, both ranked in the top 20, to reach No. 14 in the Associated Press ranking. Ross said Thursday he is "one good recruiting year away" from being competitive with anyone in the country.