The University Archives is the official repository for all of the university’s permanent records and actively gathers administrative files, university publications, photographs, audiovisual materials, and memorabilia. www.lib.umd.edu/univarchives
October 15, 1971, was a landmark day in basketball history, not only for the University of Maryland but also for colleges and universities across the country. Practice for the 1971-72 season officially began at the stroke of midnight on October 14, and three minutes later, UMD head coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell had his team out in Byrd Stadium to run a mile around the stadium’s track.
Lit by the headlights of a few cars and under the watchful eyes of a small group of fans, future Maryland stars Tom McMillen, Len Elmore, and John Lucas and their teammates took off around the track, trying to beat the clock by running 1.5 miles in under 10 minutes.
Coach Driesell, wearing a cowboy hat and smoking a big cigar, cheered the players on and watched their times carefully. Asked about the consequences a player would face if he did not complete the distance in the required time, Driesell answered “If they don’t, they run it each day until they do [but] during the day. I ain’t getting up this early again.”
This initial midnight run has since evolved into a nation-wide celebration of the first official day of basketball practice, known today as “Midnight Madness.” Many of these events are now regularly televised, including the Terps’, though few are held at the witching hour. The annual fall event usually features dramatic player introductions, a scrimmage, and a slam dunk contest. In recent years, women’s teams have also begun to participate, sharing equal billing with their male counterparts. Hard to believe that this ‘hoopla’ began with a chilly time trial in the middle of an October night 47 years ago.
The “Midnight Mile” returns this year the night of October 15, as the 2018-19 Terps join students at the Kehoe Track and Field Complex for a midnight run of their own. More details about this event can be found here. Come on out and help them mark this special day in UMD Men’s Basketball history!
This is the first in a series of blog posts the University Archives will be featuring as part of the commemoration of the 100th season of Maryland men’s basketball with our colleagues in Intercollegiate Athletics. Visit the #Terps100 website for more information about and to participate in the celebration.
Follow Terrapin Tales throughout the season for additional features on landmark days in Maryland men’s basketball history. Next in line is Sunday, December 2, when we mark the 63rd anniversary of the first game in Cole Field House.
Close your eyes and try to imagine a 6’ 6” basketball coach walking into his home arena with the sound of “Hail to the Chief” blaring behind him and his hand above his head with a “V” for victory sign. All of the seats in Cole Field House are claimed by devoted Terrapin basketball fans, but of course for the coach that wasn’t enough. This energetic and intense man demanded floor seating for the public to get even closer to the action. Everyone is on their feet for another basketball showdown and he and his players thrive off the excitement they created and use it for one more night to get another win. Now open your eyes. That coach was Lefty Driesell and that level of excitement happened for 17 basketball seasons!
Coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell understood the relationship between Maryland fans and his players and from the photographs found in our archives, his time as a Terp will never be forgotten.
Driesell will finally be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday, September 7th, after a collegiate coaching career of over 40 years for four different programs. He built the University of Maryland basketball program into a national powerhouse between 1969 and 1986. As our head coach, the team had eight NCAA Tournament appearances, two Elite 8 appearances, won or shared five total ACC regular season championships, and won one ACC tournament championship in 1984. He is responsible for recruiting UMD basketball’s biggest names, like Tom McMillen, Len Elmore, John Lucas, Albert King, Buck Williams, and the late Len Bias.
Although his legacy is set in stone on the basketball court, he also made an impact off the court. In 1972, Driesell started “Midnight Madness” which gave UMD fans the earliest opportunity to celebrate the start of the basketball season with the teams. This tradition transformed into what is known now as “Maryland Madness” and has taken shape in other athletic programs across the country. Lefty Driesell was a trendsetter, a competitor, and a mentor for the Maryland Men’s Basketball program and we are truly proud of his selection to receive this prestigious honor.
Today, along with many others, we remember the life and mourn the loss of Aretha Franklin, who passed this morning at her home in Detroit at the age of 76. Aretha performed at the University of Maryland twice, once on May 10, 1969 and again on August 11, 1973, both at Cole Field House.
Aretha Franklin first performed on campus in May 1969. “They told me D.C. was cool, but they lied to me,” Aretha said to the crowd. Though the Diamondback review of Aretha’s first appearance here was not the most favorable, staff writer David Lightman noted that Franklin seemingly “had no control over the matter,” of her performance. Notably, Aretha and her backing band continued performing as the audience mobbed the stage after her official performance had ended, and the house lights were turned on.
Aretha returned to Cole Field House on August 11, 1973. University Archives has archival information from this performance in our Records of Student Entertainment Events (SEE) collection, including the full contract. Proceeds from Aretha’s 1973 performance went to the University of Maryland’s Black Honors Caucus, and Howard University’s Research Center for Sickle Cell Anemia. Over five thousand tickets were pre-sold for Aretha’s second appearance, and she performed before an estimated audience of 11,000 packed in Cole Field House. Franklin “looked elegant,” performing in a “flowing” black and white, butterfly-style gown, her hair in corn rows. Aretha ended the hour-long performance by saluting “black power and peace with one dramatic gesture as balloons were released from overhead.” Washington Post writer Hollie West, who reviewed Franklin’s performance, noted the only downside was its “brevity.” Though originally scheduled for nearly a two hour performance, West said Cole Field House that evening was “like a furnace roaring at full blast.” Yet, seeing Aretha perform, was like “experiencing the fire and brimstone of a backwoods Baptist.”
Rest in peace, Ms. Franklin. You will undoubtedly be missed by many.
As part of an on-going effort to make student publications more accessible, the UMD Archives is pleased to announce the addition of the Black Explosion to the UMD Student Newspapers database.
Dissatisfied with coverage of issues important to and activities of the African American community at the university, the Black Student Union began publishing an independent newspaper, entitled the Black Explosion, sometime between 1967 and 1970; the actual date is unclear, and the founding date is reported variously on the masthead of the paper itself. The Black Explosion published continuously in hard copy until December 2015/January 2016, and all issues in the Archives’ collection are now online and searchable by keyword and date. Users can also save articles or entire issues by using the clipping tool described on the Using the Database portion of the About page on the website.
The paper has been and continues to be, through its online presence, an important student voice on campus and can now be heard around the world.
Work continues to digitize additional student papers, and announcements of their availability will be made here on Terrapin Tales as content is loaded.
The University of Maryland Archives mourns the loss of a good friend, John McNamara, in yesterday’s tragic shooting at the offices of the Capital Gazette. John was a UMD graduate, Class of 1983, and former writer for The Diamondback before he began his career as a professional journalist.
We worked closely with John on the two books he wrote about UMD athletics, University of Maryland Football Vault: The History of the Terrapins (2009) and Cole Classics! (2001). It was an honor and a privilege to collaborate with John on this projects. He spent hours in the Maryland Room gathering the data he needed to make his work completely accurate, and he was deeply appreciative of our support in helping him find information and images and doing a thorough fact-checking of his manuscripts.
Even after John had completed his books, he was always available if we had a question for him or needed his help in making a contact in the world of college athletics.
He was truly a Terp for Life, and we will miss him greatly.
There are many great stories in college and university lore about kidnapping the mascot of a rival school, e.g. the Army mule and the Navy goat or USC’s theft of UCLA’s Victory Bell, among many other tales. Believe or not, our beloved Testudo was not immune from this phenomenon too!
The first Testudo statue was revealed on the afternoon of June 2, 1933, when a 400-pound replica of a Diamondback Terrapin was presented to University President Raymond A. Pearson by Ralph Williams, President of the Student Government Association (SGA). The original memorial, created at the Gorham Manufacturing Company in Providence, Rhode Island, was placed on a brick and stone pedestal, funded by donations from the SGA, outside of Ritchie Coliseum. Major Howard C. Cutler, the architect who designed the Coliseum, finalized plans for the base initially drawn by D.C.-area artist Joseph Himmelheber.
The Testudo-nappings began not long after the dedication. According to a short article from the September 23, 1958, issue of the Diamondback, Testudo was stolen from his perch outside Ritchie Coliseum twelve times in fifteen years, between its unveiling in 1933 and 1948. This blog post explores the more memorable kidnappings of Testudo from his perch outside Ritchie Coliseum, before the statue was filled with cement and relocated outside the football stadium in 1951.
The statue was first stolen on May 28, 1934, on a Monday night, the last day of the semester. At 8 AM the next morning, SGA President Warren S. Tydings and Ralph Williams, former SGA President who presented the memorial to University President Pearson, ordered a search. The thieves left “J.H.U.” painted in green on the statue’s base, hinting that the thieves were from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. University Vice President Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd called Johns Hopkins’ auditor Henry Iddins, informing him of the theft. Through information obtained from a state policeman, the search party learned that the thieves, “who looked like college boys,” may have stopped at a gas station in Berwyn, where one thief acquired iodine and a bandage for an injured finger. Later in the afternoon, administrators were tipped off by a phone call from a University of Maryland student, informing them the statue was located at a Johns Hopkins fraternity house in the 3100 block of North Calvert Street. Ralph Williams called Baltimore Police requesting a search of the fraternity, to no avail. By the time the UMD search party prepared a trip to Baltimore, the statue had been found in front of a dormitory at Hopkins, surrounded by roughly sixty Hopkins students. The crowd was questioned by Iddins, who then demanded that the students return the statue. “Fun is fun, but this is carrying it too far,” Iddins said, adding that the statue “must have cost several thousand dollars–and is a beautiful piece of work.” University of Maryland authorities echoed similar sentiments, suggesting that the theft “transcended the prank stage.” While Johns Hopkins administrators suggested that the thieves, if caught, would be expelled, Hopkins Dean Edward Berry also said he did not expect the thieves to be identified.
Baltimore Sun – May 30, 1934
Diamondback – June 1, 1934
Testudo was stolen again by Johns Hopkins students early Saturday morning, May 17, 1941. When Maryland students discovered Testudo missing from his perch at the Coliseum, they immediately gave chase to the fleeing Hopkins students. After an unsuccessful pursuit, Maryland students alerted Baltimore Police of “the crime of the century,” who then notified Johns Hopkins officials of the theft. This time, Hopkins administrators found the bronze Terrapin locked up at the Homewood athletic field, where Hopkins students planned to bring the terrapin onto the field during intermission of a lacrosse match between Hopkins and the University of Maryland the next day. Instead, the Hopkins administrators sent Testudo back to the University of Maryland, much to the chagrin of their students. According to one Hopkins student, “about a hundred of us, certain that we’d beat the Marylanders this afternoon, got in autos and trucks and went to College Park last night to do something about that Terrapin.” For better or worse, by the time this gang of Hopkins students arrived, Testudo had already been taken by another group of “about fifty.” Police, searching for the terrapin, stopped the gang of Hopkins students several times, but, without Testudo, they were let go. “When we got back to Homewood,” one student said, Testudo was “on the steps of Levering Hall. So we locked it up and decided we’d pull it on the field this afternoon and give it back to its owners.”
Diamondback – May 20, 1941
Testudo was stolen several times in 1947. In the first instance, Johns Hopkins students captured the terrapin in May before the national championship lacrosse game. Sidewalks on the Johns Hopkins campus were painted by individuals who believed Maryland would beat Hopkins in the upcoming game. In retaliation, Hopkins students traveled to College Park and stole Testudo. As many as 25 Hopkins students were caught, “scalped,” and held hostage by University of Maryland students until Testudo was returned.
Later that same year, Testudo was stolen on Halloween night by University of Maryland students who resided in West Virginia. According to news accounts, on the evening before the theft, a student asked a police officer about the penalty for stealing Testudo. “Don’t know,” the officer replied, “it has never happened to a Maryland student.” In this case, Testudo was not painted or damaged, but temporarily removed and left “camouflaged in the greenhouse shrubbery.”
Only a month later, Testudo was stolen again from his pedestal outside Ritchie Coliseum, this time by students from Loyola College. Maryland students, less than excited by this specific kidnapping of Testudo by Loyola students, cited a lack of an athletic rivalry between the two schools as the reason for their indifference to his disappearance. In this case, Testudo allegedly attended a Loyola pep-rally and spent an evening on “The Block” on East Baltimore Street in downtown Baltimore. He was returned undamaged and without Loyola’s colors painted on him. Loyola students also sent a letter back with Testudo, thanking University President Byrd, for his “generous hospitality” in loaning them the statue and even wrapped Testudo in a blanket for his trek back to College Park.
After the abundance of kidnappings, Testudo was moved from his perch outside of Ritchie Coliseum into storage in the General Services Department on the east side of Route 1 for several years. Upon the completion of the new football stadium at the University of Maryland in 1950, Testudo was brought out of storage, relocated outside of the new stadium, and filled with cement to prevent future thefts. Seeking a more central location for the statue, students requested that it be moved to the front of McKeldin Library, where Testudo has resided safely since 1965.
A star was born 85 years ago today, June 2, 1933! As part of Class Day festivities celebrating the graduation of the Class of 1933, our beloved “real Testudo” completed her final task and unveiled the original bronze statue created in her likeness that stood in front of Ritchie Coliseum. But what led up to all this hoopla?
Athletic teams at the Maryland Agricultural College/ University of Maryland had had various nicknames over the years–the Farmers, Aggies, Old Liners, even the Ravens at one point–but the university had never had a mascot. Members of the Class of 1933 decided they wanted to correct this and worked with then-Vice President Harry Clifton Byrd to choose the appropriate animal and create the first bronze representation. While the students diligently gathered the necessary funds, Byrd wrote the owner of the Holland Sea Food Company in Crisfield, MD, his hometown, asking him to send
one big Diamondback Terrapin of Maryland variety, and not one of those that come from North Carolina. I want it to use as a model for a sculpture
When this beautiful creature arrived in College Park, SGA President Ralph Williams took her off on a train trip to Providence, RI, to meet up with sculptor Aristide Cianfarani for multiple modeling sessions. The Gorham Manufacturing Company, led at the time by former UMD quarterback Edmund Mayo, created the statue and dispatched it to College Park, where our plucky terrapin participated in the unveiling.
The original statue stood in front of Ritchie Coliseum, but, at 300-400 pounds in weight, was subject to frequent turtle-napping by rival schools. When university officials tired of tracking down the missing bronze and arranging for its return, they filled Testudo with cement and steel rods, bringing its total weight to approximately 1,000 pounds, and permanently attached the piece to its base. They also decided to move Testudo to a more secure location, and, after several shifts, positioned the statue in front of McKeldin Library in 1965, where it remains to this day.
The popularity of this university symbol has led to the creation of additional replicas, located across the campus. You can find Testudo near the information desk in the Stamp, at two different spots in Maryland Stadium, at the top of the south stairs at Xfinity, on a brick pathway at the Riggs Alumni Center, and now in the Robert L. and Gertrude M. Edwards Courtyard at Van Munching Hall.
So when you pass one of the statues today, give Testudo’s nose a vigorous rub for good luck and wish our beloved mascot “Happy Birthday!”
The Maryland Agricultural College has a very interesting connection to the delicious fruit celebrated each year during the month of May! When Benjamin Hallowell, the college’s first president, arrived on campus in October 1859, one of the first projects he initiated with the young men under his charge was the creation of a strawberry bed.
Hallowell recounts this story in his autobiography, originally published in 1884:
The students were told if they would plant an acre of land in strawberry vines, and divide the plat into two equal parts, they might take their choice of the portions and have all the strawberries that grew on it, subject to such regulations among themselves as they chose to adopt, the other division being for the family. They accepted this proposition with the greatest alacrity, went at it by turns in the classes with earnestness and under competent direction; and like the ice-pond [another project Hallowell began early on in his presidency], it was completed to the perfect satisfaction of all the parties concerned.
The University of Maryland continues to have close ties to the world of strawberries. For example, UMD Extension agents provide farmers across the state with advice on maximizing and improving their strawberry crops, and researchers in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources have even discovered a gene that may greatly increase strawberry production: https://agnr.umd.edu/news/umd-researchers-find-gene-may-greatly-increase-strawberry-production. Perhaps, as they work, they are remembering those cadets from long ago and those very first strawberry beds here in College Park!
Today, the University of Maryland hosts its second annual Social Justice Day, a campus-wide event for faculty, staff, students, and the community. After a day-long series of events and discussions on important social justice issues, featuring a morning keynote speech from Innocence Project Co-Founder Peter Neufeld, the Reverend Jesse Jackson will deliver a closing keynote speech in the Memorial Chapel. University Archives welcomes Reverend Jackson back to campus by revisiting his previous appearances through Diamondback articles accessed from our Student Newspapers database.
“Jackson supporters rally on campus,” – The Diamondback, April 5, 1984
“Jesse Jackson supporters rally here,” – The Diamondback, April 5, 1984
“Jackson bringing his act to Cole field house stage,” – The Diamondback, April 23, 1984
“Reaction mixed to Jackson visit,” – The Diamondback, April 23, 1984
Front Page of the Diamondback – April 25, 1984
“The rainbow lands here, but the colors fade quickly,” – The Diamondback, April 23, 1984
Reverend Jackson has appeared on campus multiple times, the first on April 24, 1985, at Cole Field House, as part of his state primary presidential campaign. Ahead of Jackson’s visit to campus, Chancellor John Slaughter said Jackson “clearly demonstrated to the country that he’s a person of great sensitivity and compassion. He’s a very articulate and thoughtful spokesman on a number of issues, not only on civil rights and human rights, but economics and foreign policy.”
Jackson supporters began rallying several weeks earlier in the Nyumburu Cultural Center on April 4. “The fundamental reason we have to support Reverend Jackson is economic democracy. Our economy is being undermined by corporations. We’ve got to hold them accountable,” said Alvin Thornton, Jackson’s state issues coordinator. Ahead of Jackson’s first appearance, student reactions were mixed. “This rally is not a University of Maryland, College Park deal: it’s statewide,” said Michael White, sophomore computer science major and coordinator for Jackson supporters on campus. “There are a lot of things I don’t like about it, but that’s the way it has been run by the state campaign.” Members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) also anticipated Jackson’s appearance. Campus treasurer Sally Davies considered Jackson’s rally “very historic,” saying it was the first time they requested leave for the entire University of Maryland system. “Jesse Jackson speaks for all the poor and working people,” said campus AFSCME Vice President William Swain. Chancellor Slaughter supported the gesture, expecting department heads to grant leave to employees requesting to attend the rally. “It is through such appearances that citizens of the state are able to make informed political decisions, and such democratic processes should be encouraged whenever possible,” said Slaughter.
Although Jackson’s campaign expected a crowd of 15,000 at Cole Field House, Jackson spoke to a crowd of between 2,000 to 5,000 people. “We need more than a new president, we need a new direction. It’s time for a change,” said Jackson during his speech. For Jackson, this ‘new’, ‘right’ direction included both higher corporate taxes and national health care. During his speech, Reverend Jackson said things such as “in a nuclear age, we cannot fight it out, we must think it out,” and, promoting his progressive tax plan, “those who make the most should pay the most.” The audience, repeatedly interrupting Jackson with applause, responded with a standing ovation, chanting “Win, Jesse! Win!” Regarding the underwhelming turnout, state campaign coordinator Sherman Roberson challenged Ronald Reagan and other opposing candidates to “pick a Tuesday, come here and do what we did.” During Jackson’s rally, Chancellor Slaughter also provided a red-and-white Terrapin jacket, which Jackson immediately donned.
“Jackson tells crowd to exercise the vote,”& “Draft issue loses ground to defense,” – The Diamondback, September 26, 1984
“Reagan policies hurt poor, Jackson says,” & “Students name defense ‘priority’ issue this year,” – The Diamondback, September 26, 1984
Jackson returned to campus later that year on September 25, sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha and the campus chapter of the NAACP. Standing on a chair, Jackson told a crowd at the Hornbake Library plaza, “from womb to tomb, you are in the political process. You have no capacity to escape your political responsibilities,” adding “if you want to go to graduate school and not to war, you must give peace a chance and give Reagan a ranch.” Reverend Jackson also emphasized the importance of education, stating “schools and teachers at their worst are better than jail and jail wardens at their best.” In Jackson’s second appearance, he seemed “more animated and in lighter spirits” than his previous visit, when he was “guarded by a phalanx of Secret Service officers.”
“Fans, friends bid hero fond farewell,” – The Diamondback, June 26, 1986
“Bias tribute draws 11,000,” – The Diamondback, June 26, 1986
Reverend Jackson returned to campus briefly on June 23, 1986, for the public memorial service for Maryland basketball star Len Bias. Jackson’s remarks began with a request for a round of applause for Bias, in which the audience responded with a two and a half-minute standing ovation. “You cannot judge Lenny, or any other player, on the basis of his last shot,” Jackson told the crowd of 11,000 at Cole Field House.
“Jackson rallies troops,” – The Diamondback, March 7, 1988
“Jackson calls on 500 here for action,” and “Restless crowd waits hours for the Jesse Jackson show,” – The Diamondback, March 7, 1988
Returning to campus at Ritchie Coliseum on Saturday March 5, 1988, while campaigning for president, days before Super Tuesday, Reverend Jackson spoke to a crowd of roughly 600 who had waited for him for over four hours, promoting corporate taxation and addressing issues such as the War on Drugs.
“Jackson to promote voter registration,” – The Diamondback, February 3, 1992
“If you want jobs…vote about it,” – The Diamondback, February 4, 1992
“In the dark?” – The Diamondback, February 4, 1992
“All eyes open,” – The Diamondback, February 10, 1992
“Jackson calls for change,” – The Diamondback, October 14, 1992
Jackson spoke on campus twice in 1992, the first time on February 3, at the Hardee’s in Stamp Student Union, to promote voter registration as part of a Rainbow Coalition nationwide effort to empower students through voter registration drives. “Every vote counts. Whenever young Americans have come alive, America has always been made better,” said Jackson. “You are empowered if you have the will to use that strength. If you want jobs when you graduate, vote about it. If you want better housing, vote about it.” After Jackson’s speech, a voter drive registered 242 students. Eight months later, he returned to Stamp in the Colony Ballroom, where he told a crowd of roughly 400 students to support Bill Clinton and Al Gore in the upcoming presidential election. Before his speech and discussion, Jackson watched the Vice Presidential debate with the audience. “Students must identify their interests,” Jackson told the audience. “If their interests are in more scholarships and more aid and less tuition; if their interest is in the American economy and putting people back to work in a cleaner, healthier environment; interest in choice for women, then there must be a one-term limit put on the Bush-Quayle administration.”
Has it really been 26 years since Reverend Jesse Jackson has spoke on campus? Seems hard to believe. We welcome him back to the University of Maryland and look forward to his message as part of Social Justice Day.
With Black History Month winding down, University Archives is excited to share a new learning resource developed by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion: an online tour exploring our campus’ African-American history! The self-guided tour, released earlier this week, features 17 locations on campus.
“All of us need to learn this important history,” said President Loh, “these stories of African-American struggles and contributions span the history of our campus and our nation. We need to make them part of our shared memory.”
The tour can be found here, and an article from the Diamondback announcing the tour can be found here.