As the nation mourns the passing of Muhammad Ali, the UMD Archives remembers his encounter with the Terps 40 years ago.
The historical records we have from Terps’ men’s basketball include a series of shots of The Greatest from the 1975-1976 season-ending banquet on April 26, 1976. Ali was in town preparing for his April 30 fight vs. Jimmy Young at the Capital Centre in Landover, and his training camp set-up in the banquet room at the Sheraton Lanham re-routed the Terps’ celebration to a side room at the hotel. To make amends, Ali agreed to appear at the event, and from the photos we have in our collections, really enjoyed himself.
Head coach Lefty Driesell presented the champ with a Terrapin clock with his name on it during the evening. According to the account of the banquet in the April 27 Washington Post, Ali teased the crowd by responding “You mean this is all you’re giving me?” and offered up one of his famous poems:
“I like your team, I admire your style, But your gift is so cheap, I won’t see you for awhile.”
Certainly a memorable night for all those in attendance.
Farewell to a great champion in sport and in life.