The 15 Best Maryland Athletic Nicknames of All-Time

 15. Ed and Dick Modzelewski – “Big Mo and Little Mo”

There is no better set of nicknames to describe the brother tandem of Ed and Dick Modzelewski. Dick followed his older brother Ed to the University of Maryland in the early 1950s, where they both became a force to be reckoned with on the gridiron. Both brothers were selected in the NFL draft following their time at Maryland.


14. Charles Driesell – “Lefty”

Ever wonder why legendary Maryland basketball coach Charles Driesell is nicknamed “Lefty?” Don’t over-think it. Driesell was nicknamed “Lefty” in grade school because he’s left-handed. The nickname followed him to Maryland, where it remains synonymous with Terps basketball.


13. Harry Clifton Byrd – “Curley”

If you’re going to be one of the most prominent figures in University of Maryland history, you’d better have a cool nickname right? Former university president, Harry Clifton Byrd, known to many only as “Curley,” got the nickname from his black, curly hair. Byrd was a huge supporter of Maryland athletics and was an exceptional athlete himself.

Curley Byrd


12. Bombale Osby – “Boom”

Of course you remember fan favorite “Boom” Osby, who played for the Terps under Coach Gary Williams from 2006 to 2008. Osby claims he got his nickname from an old high school teammate, who would mispronounce his name “Boom-bale.” His nickname certainly represented his aggressive and intense playing style.

photo courtesy of:
photo courtesy of:

11. Ralph Friedgen- “The Fridge”

Former Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen is affectionately nicknamed “The Fridge” in reference to his last name and his size. “The Fridge” played football for Maryland from 1966 to 1968 and was an assistant coach before becoming head coach of the Terps football team from 2001 to 2010.


10. Brene Mosely- “Bones”

Current women’s basketball guard Brene Mosely got the nickname “Bones” from one of her youth basketball coaches who thought she was incredibly skinny. Years later, the nickname has stuck around.

photo courtesy of:
photo courtesy of:

9. Chet Hanulak – “The Jet”

Star running back Chester Hanulak was an integral part of Maryland’s 1953 National Championship football team. It is no surprise to anyone who has seen footage of him playing why his nickname became “Chet The Jet.” As a senior, Hanulak sprinted through defenses with ease on his way to finishing the season with an average of 9.78 yards per carry, a Terps’ record that still stands.



8. Norman Esiason – “Boomer”

Most people are surprised to hear that Boomer is actually the nickname, and not the birth name, of the former Terp quarterback. Esiason actually received the nickname “Boomer” before he was even born. It was his constant kicking in the womb that prompted his mother to give him the fitting nickname. Maybe Boomer would have made an excellent punter or kicker for the Terps in addition to quarterback. I guess we will never know.

Boomer Esiason_1984

7. Vernon Davis – “The Duke,” and “Cyborg”

Vernon Davis is the only athlete on our list to boast not just one, but two nicknames! Davis got the nickname “Duke” because he looks exactly like his father, whose name is Duke. At Maryland, Davis’ teammates changed the nickname to “The Duke.” Davis’ Maryland teammates also gave him the nickname “Cyborg” in reference to his freakish athletic ability. Davis is still living up to the “Cyborg” nickname as a current member of the San Francisco 49ers.

photo courtesy of" USA Today
photo courtesy of” USA Today

6. Howard White – “H”

Howard White, simply known as “H,” will forever be known as the man who helped Michael Jordan launch his wildly popular Jordan Brand. But before joining forces with MJ, White was a playground legend and Maryland star. White, who grew up idolizing Oscar Robertson, came to Maryland wanting to be like “Big O.” Instead, Lefty Driesell assured him that if he listened to everything he said, White, already known as “H,” could wear his nickname on the back of his uniform. So he did. Howard White is the only Maryland athlete that we know of that actually wore his nickname on his uniform.

H White

5. Renaldo Nehemiah – “Skeets”

Maryland track star Renaldo Nehemiah was always fast. In fact, he got his nickname “Skeets” because he crawled so fast as a baby. Skeets set world records while at Maryland and dominated the track world from 1978-1981. He was ranked number one in the world for four consecutive years before going on to play wide receiver in the NFL.


4. Crystal Langhorne – “The Franchise”

As a key component of the 2006 women’s basketball NCAA Championship team, Langhorne was often the go-to player for the Terps. That’s why her teammates called her “The Franchise.” We can’t think of a player more deserving of that nickname. She became the first player in Maryland men’s or women’s basketball history to score 2,000 points and record 1,000 rebounds. Langhorne now plays in the WNBA where she is a two-time all-star.

photo courtesy of: gettyimages
photo courtesy of: gettyimages

3. Shawne Merriman – “Lights Out”

Shawne Merriman was a nightmare for opposing offenses during his time at Maryland. However, it was in high school where Merriman earned the nickname “Lights Out” after knocking four opposing players unconscious during the first half of a game. The Maryland native would go on to have a successful career in the NFL as a three-time All-Pro.


2. Walt Williams – “The Wizard”

We told you that Howard “H” White was the only player to wear his nickname on the back of his jersey, but as you can see below, Walt Williams took his nickname to a whole different level. Williams was given the nickname “The Wizard” by former Maryland coach Bob Wade in reference to his finesse passing and ball-handling skills.

Walt Williams

1. Randy White – “The Manster”

To be fair, Randy White’s nickname “The Manster” is not one he earned while playing at Maryland, but that doesn’t mean the nickname is not one of the best to ever be given to a Maryland athlete. It wasn’t until White was with the Dallas Cowboys that he earned the name “The Manster.” His Cowboys teammate Charlie Waters was the first to use the nickname explaining “the way Randy plays he has to be part-man and part-monster.”

Randy White


Honorable Mentions: Bob “Turtle” Smith, “Chief” Millard Tydings, Maureen “Bean” Scott


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