Andy Geiger, on the job as the University of Maryland athletic director for nearly two weeks, said yesterday he wants the Terrapins to continue playing football against the likes of big-time powers Michigan, Penn State and Syracuse while competing successfully in an improved Atlantic Coast Conference.

"Maryland has done it in the past and can do it in the future," Geiger said at a luncheon with reporters and editors at The Washington Post. "We have to have a philosophy and a concept. We have to get on the highest road we can and sell it -- we can't wallow around {thinking} woe is us, poor us and the good old way it used to be."

Geiger reiterated that while evaluations are ongoing, a decision on whether to retain football coach Joe Krivak won't be made until the end of this season.

Geiger, who came to Maryland from Stanford, added that the process of succeeding in any sport in the ACC has been made tougher by the addition of Florida State. In a burgeoning era of reform, Florida State's entrance into the league, "hasn't lowered the temperature of collegiate athletics."

Among the problems facing Geiger are the NCAA's three-year probation against Maryland's basketball team, which includes a one-year ban of televised games and two years of not participating in postseason tournaments. Nevertheless, Geiger has no plans to continue to appeal. "I think we have to look ahead," he said.

He also must make a decision about Krivak, who is in the final season of a four-year contract. Krivak is regarded by most as a highly principled leader, but there has been grumbling about his 15-23-1 record. Geiger, who worked with Krivak at Syracuse in the late '60s, said that he "likes the principled part and I like the man immensely, but we'll have to wait and see what will be best. . . . Joe himself suggested that we wait and see. It's been a tough {four} years for him."

Geiger said there is no reason Maryland football shouldn't be successful in the future.

"Football is complex and the list of things that goes into a successful program is long," he said. "But Maryland has a good situation -- the population base is pretty strong and the drawing area is pretty good. Being the northernmost school in the conference, we have the ability to conquer that market.

"People have to have confidence in the program and it will go well. That may be happening -- {Krivak} has recruited well the last two years. . . . Maryland is a fine university and we have to say that a little more, in every corner of the state and in every corner of the campus. We need to show more confidence in ourself."

Geiger said he was against conference expansion while athletic director at Stanford and continues to be against it at Maryland, one of two ACC schools to vote against the admission of Florida State. Though the vote took place before he took over, Geiger did have input into the school's decision.

He said the expansion effort -- with the increased emphasis on winning and big-money payoffs -- conflicts with cost-reduction, reform measures being considered by the NCAA. "I haven't done Joe Krivak any favors, I haven't done {basketball coach} Gary Williams any favors," he said.

For instance, Geiger said he sees no reason why college football coaches need to recruit more than 18 players a season or have coaching staffs of more than 10.

Some have questioned whether Geiger did himself an injustice by coming to Maryland, beset with problems ever since the cocaine-induced death of Len Bias in 1986. One of the most pressing issues, according to Geiger, is a lack of money brought about by shortfalls in athletic revenues. Additionally, as a result of the NCAA sanctions against the men's basketball team, the athletic program is facing a deficit of $2.7 million in the 1990-91 school year.

Geiger said Maryland shouldn't have to go to the state legislature for money and could begin to solve its financial woes by increased contact and interaction with alumni.

"We have something like 170,000 alumni and 3,500 donors -- that's teeny," he said. "We have to try to promote the program and philanthropy or it will fail. . . . We have to have a product to sell, something to allow people to relate to, but I'm not going to sit on the sidelines and wait for that to happen."

Geiger said he has met with a number of the groups who seem to have broken away from the athletic department because of bruised feelings. Those groups include students and faculty, as well as the black community. Geiger said he hopes those meetings and future actions will help to heal old wounds.

This week, Geiger announced that the basketball team would lose the first five days of practice because Williams and his staff have admitted witnessing preseason basketball games before the start of official practice last year. "Part of our responsibility is to be willing to accept self-imposed penalities," Geiger said of the action. He added that he considers he has a good relationship with Williams.

"Right now all I really have are words; my record is just two weeks old," he said. "But I've been working very hard. Every day I'm having dinner with someone or lunch with someone or breakfast with someone. I'm getting fat, but I'm learning."