As we assembled the all-time roster of University of Maryland men’s basketball players over the summer, we came up with some unlikely finds, some gentlemen who were better known for their achievements later in life than they were for the exploits on the hardwood.
We’ve already told you the story of Charlie “King Kong” Keller, the only Terp to ever play in baseball’s All Star Game and World Series, who just happened to be a star shooter for Maryland for four seasons, 1933-1937.
We were surprised to find another famous name on an early roster—Munro Leaf! Leaf, better known as the author of the delightful children’s book, The Story of Ferdinand, took to the hardwood for the freshmen basketballers in the 1924 season.
His court career did not last long, however, and didn’t even rate a mention in the list of his activities included with his senior photo in the 1927 Reveille yearbook.
The roster we compiled was recently used by artist Daniel Duffy to create one of his pieces of “word art,” which was distributed to fans at the November 28 ACC/Big Ten Challenge game vs. the University of Virginia Cavaliers.
See if you can find Munro Leaf or Charlie Keller among the 863 names of former players, coaches, and basketball venues that Duffy incorporated into his work!
We found another surprise or two on the roster, so check back on Terrapin Tales to see who we discovered!
As we continue to celebrate the 100th Season of the Men’s Basketball, devoted Terp fans reminisce on the many standout players and coaches who have come and gone through this program. Over the years, University of Maryland basketball footage has poured in from the athletic department and the private collections of former Terps, and University Archives is excited to announce that we have digitized and preserved footage from the recently inducted Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, Coach Lefty Driesell!
In fall 2016, our University Archivist Anne Turkos and Athletic Archivist Amanda Hawk left College Park and drove to Virginia Beach to meet with Coach Driesell. They had previously discussed his interest in donating the archival footage he accumulated from his time as a Terp, and while very excited to add to our athletic history, both Turkos and Hawk were a bit nervous about the state the footage was in. Once the University Archives team arrived, they found 113 pieces of videotape and film spread between Driesell’s personal storage locker and condo! Even stored in optimum conditions, videotapes recorded as recently as 30 years ago are in danger of becoming unplayable, and film could lose sound after 40 years of deterioration. Safe to say, the urgency to digitize Lefty’s footage was immediately apparent.
But Coach Driesell and the University Archives shared a goal of trying to save these audiovisual pieces and make them accessible to the public. So after packing up the van and making the 3.5 hour trip back to College Park, the Archives staff set immediately to work to make sure to digitize every piece of footage. Lefty’s contribution to Men’s Basketball history can be found at go.umd.edu/leftyfootage.
You can support the University Archives’ work to continue to digitize more Men’s Basketball footage by making a gift to Help Preserve Maryland Basketball History. Our Launch UMD campaign is now open to the public and will run through the conclusion of basketball season on March 8, 2019. Check the Launch site frequently to see how we are progressing, and encourage your family and friends to make a gift as well. What better way to celebrate the 100th season of men’s basketball than by making sure that the games that Terp players and fans once enjoyed on the court will be preserved for generations to come!
The scene in the newly completed Student Activities Building was a festive one the night of December 2, 1955. University officials, dignitaries from around the state, including Governor Theodore R. McKeldin, and representatives from other Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) schools gathered to dedicate the new structure and celebrate the opening of the second largest arena on the East Coast, dwarfed at the time only by Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The ceremonies, chaired by J. Freeman Pyle, dean of the College of Business and Public Administration, featured addresses by Governor McKeldin and Charles Wickard, president of the Student Government Association. Judge William P. Cole, Jr., Class of 1910 and chair of the Board of Regents, presented the building to the university, and President Wilson H. Elkins officially accepted the structure.
Following all the speeches and photo-ops, the Terps took to the court against the Virginia Cavaliers. Bob Kessler scored the first points in the new arena, hitting two free throws in the opening moments, but Virginia answered back quickly, with two free throws of their own from Bob McCarty and a basket by Bob Hardy. The Terps hit a lay-up and capitalized on an offensive rebound to take the lead at 6-4. At halftime, they were in front of the Cavaliers by 4, at 34-30, and they continued to pull away in the second half, thanks to some hot shooting from Kessler and teammate Bob O’Brien.
Game day program, Dec. 2, 1955
Game action, Dec. 2, 1955
Ultimately Maryland prevailed in a low-scoring affair, 67-55, the ACC opener for both teams. Kessler finished with 23 points, and O’Brien 15, as the high scorers for the Terps.
Who could have predicted at the time that the Terps would also end their playing days in Cole with a game against those same Virginia Cavaliers, winning that final contest on March 3, 2002, 112-92.
Today the historic field house, named in December 1956 for Judge William P. Cole, Jr., has been re-purposed as the Terrapin Performance Center, with a dazzling indoor practice facility; the Center for Sports Medicine, Health, and Human Performance; and the future home of the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
This is the second 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, 2018-2019, 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 December 30, when we mark Maryland’s first win in the Big Ten.
It’s alive! Our Launch UMD campaign to preserve Maryland’s men’s basketball history has gone live, and we are excited to get going on this major fundraising effort!
As we celebrate the beginning of the 100th season of men’s basketball at UMD, the University Archives embarks on one of its most ambitious initiatives EVER—a project that will digitize and make publicly accessible over 5,000 hours of UMD Basketball footage. This project will cost $500,000, and we will need the support of many fans to preserve this important history. You can join them in this critical initiative by visiting go.umd.edu/preservembb and making a gift today.
The collection includes 1,207 reels of 16 mm film and 2,727 videotapes, dating from 1953, the days of head coach Bud Millikan, to 2014, the end of Coach Mark Turgeon’s third season. When all the footage is converted to digital form and made accessible online 24/7/365, former players and coaches, members of the current campus community, and Terp fans will be able to watch games of the past anywhere there’s an Internet connection.
The clock is ticking, though, on preserving this significant slice of Terrapin athletic history. 16 mm film has its own condition issues, but surprisingly, videotape is even more susceptible to deterioration.
Sample of deteriorating film in UMD Archives
Selection of videotape formats in UMD Archives
Tapes recorded even as recently as 30 years ago are in danger of becoming unplayable within the next five years, so the Archives needs to move quickly to raise the funds needed to convert these fragile materials.
You can support our work by making a gift to Help Preserve Maryland Basketball History. Our Launch UMD campaign is underway and will run through the conclusion of basketball season on March 8, 2019. Check the Launch site frequently to see how we are progressing, and encourage your family and friends to make a gift as well. What better way to celebrate the 100th season of men’s basketball than by making sure that the games that Terp players and fans once enjoyed on the court will be preserved for generations to come!
Tags: #Terps100, Maryland Men’s Basketball, 100 seasons, Launch UMD, Help Preserve Maryland Basketball History
Once a year, baseball fans flock to the ballparks and TV screens to watch the battle of the American League and National League champions as they go head to head for THE WORLD SERIES TITLE! In honor of this year’s World Series showdown between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, University Archives thought we would share the story of an early University of Maryland baseball dynamo, Charlie “King Kong” Keller.
A native of Middletown, Maryland, Charlie Keller (1916-1990) was a standout in high school, both as a guard on the Middletown High School basketball team and bouncing between pitcher and catcher on the baseball team. As a two-sport athlete at the University of Maryland, he was instantly recognized as quite the slugger, finishing his first two varsity seasons with batting averages of .500 and .495. By 1936, Keller came back to campus for his senior year with an accepted offer from well-known scout, Gene McCann, to play for the New York Yankees.
As a left fielder for the Yankees, he was praised for his ability to hit massive, wall- reaching fly balls and home runs, earning him the nickname “King Kong.” He played with right fielder, Tommy Henrich, and center fielder, Joe DiMaggio, forming one of the best-hitting outfields in baseball history. This feared slugger hit .334 with 11 home runs and 83 RBI’s in 111 games! “King Kong” Keller was a 4-time World Series Champion (1939, 1941, 1943, 1958) and 5-time All Star (1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1947). In his 13- season career with the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers, Keller played in 1,170 games, hit .286 with 189 home runs and 760 RBI. Upon his retirement, he was elected to the Frederick County and Maryland Sports Halls of Fame, The Kingston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame, the International League Hall of Fame, and the University of Maryland Hall of Fame in 1982.
We are also celebrating Charlie Keller as part of the commemoration of the 100th season, of Maryland men’s basketball this year, #Terps100. He is best known for his baseball exploits, but he did hit the hardwood as a guard for the Terps for 4 seasons, 1933-1937. The yearbook from his senior year contains a great description of his accomplishments:
Keller was one of the most accurate potshot artists from long range Marylanders have ever known. Keller was the lone consistent marksman on the team and frequently sent long arches through the hoop to start an Old Line rally.
Charlie Keller definitely knew what it took to win a series like the one that starts tonight! This Dodgers vs. Red Sox face-off is the first in the World Series since 1916, the year “King Kong” Keller was born! May the best team win!
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.
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.
Sixty years ago today, Queen Elizabeth II visited the University of Maryland to attend her first and only college football game on October 19, 1957, between the Maryland Terrapins and the North Carolina Tar Heels! While touring Canada and the United States, the Queen wanted to see a typical American sport, and with College Park’s close proximity to Washington, DC, University President Elkins notified Governor McKeldin, who wrote Sir Harold Caccia, Ambassador of Great Britain, inviting Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to attend a football game at the University of Maryland!
Letter from President Elkins urging Governor McKeldin to invite Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to the football game.
Letter from Governor McKeldin to Sir Harold Caccia, the Ambassador of Great Britain, inviting Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to the football game.
How did the university prepare for the Queen? How did students view the Queen’s visit to campus? How did students view the university at the time of the Royal Visit?
In preparation of the Queen’s game, university carpenters constructed a special box for the Queen and her party to view the game, while the University of Maryland’s “Black & Gold” band also took over the ROTC drill field to begin preparing for a “typical” half-time show. “They are making room for almost 140 extra press photographers, and newspapers all over the country will carry pictures of her here at Maryland,” said SGA President Howard Miller ahead of the game, suggesting that the Queen’s visit would bring additional publicity and prestige to the university. Additionally, Miller recalled that the SGA met with the State Department ahead of the game to discuss where the Queen should sit. The SGA suggested that she sit on the North Carolina side so she could watch the Card section at half-time and because alcohol consumption at Maryland football games was considered “a major sport in the 1950s.”
The issue of the Diamondback before the royal visit was predominantly dedicated to the Queen’s visit. On behalf of the student body, faculty, and administration, the Diamondback extended a “most enthusiastic welcome,” to the Queen and royal party, seeing the Queen’s visit as an opportunity to “strengthen the good will existing between the United States and Great Britain,” trusting that the Queen will find as much entertainment and excitement during her stay as the university will. Speaking for “just about everybody” on campus, the Queen’s visit was highly anticipated, something the university was collectively very proud of. Anticipating the game, SGA President Howard Miller felt the Queen’s visit was “the greatest thrill of my life,” President Elkins thought the Queen’s visit “created more interest in any college or university than anything I have ever seen in my lifetime,” adding that the University is “delighted” to host the Queen. When addressing the possibility of any “unfortunate events” occurring during the Queen’s visit, President Elkins warned students: “If there is any question, one ought not to do it!”
How were students supposed to behave? If encountering the Queen and Prince Philip, were there specific codes of conduct to follow? The State Department suggested how to behave if students should be presented before the Queen. For students, “how do you do?” was considered a suitable greeting, suggesting that students address the Queen and Prince Philip as “madam,” or “sir,” instead of “Queen,” or “Prince.”
Student editorial in the Diamondback explaining how students saw the University of Maryland at the time of the Queen’s visit.
Diamondback article expressing the excitement and magnitude of the Royal Visit to College Park.
“Meeting the Queen?” The State Department provided suggestions for how students should address the Queen, and how Maryland’s band should perform. Diamondback, 10-18-57.
And then, on Game Day, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrived at Byrd Stadium around 1:15pm. All fans were asked to be in their seats by 1pm to await the royal arrival. Maryland halfback and co-captain Jack Healy recalled posing for photographs before meeting the Queen. “Naturally, we were nervous and this increased the pressure somewhat,” said Healy, but their nerves were eased by a welcoming Prince Philip, who, with a “Hello sparkle,” in his eyes, extended his hand and introduced himself to the team. Then, according to Healy, the team met Queen Elizabeth, who “looked like any typical American woman,” only distinguished by her “precious English accent.” Each team’s captains then presented the Queen and Prince Philip with an autographed football and a replica of the coin used in the game’s coin toss. Prince Philip, “humbly accepting” the autographed football, said “I feel like kicking it myself!”
During the game, the Queen “leaned forward eagerly” as the Governors and President Elkins explained American football to their royal guests. According to President Elkins, the Queen was “most interested in the difference between the English Rugby and the American game.” According to a commonwealth correspondent from the game, “if the Queen understands this game, she’s smarter than I think she is.”
Game Day Program
Game Day Ticket Stub
43,000 fans greeting Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth II with Governor McKeldin and team captains from your Maryland Terrapins and North Carolina Tar Heels for the pre-game coin toss.
And then, at halftime, after the teams rushed off the field, the North Carolina band presented “A Parade of North Carolina Industries,” highlighted by band members forming a giant banjo, while trumpeting “Dixie.” According to President Elkins’ daughter Carole, there was a ceremony with gift presentations, the Queen and Prince Philip were driven around the stadium’s track, and marching bands from both teams performed. The bands from both schools joined to form the Queen’s crest, spell out “USA-BRIT”, and perform each school’s alma mater, “God Save the Queen,” and the “Star Spangled Banner.” The card section displayed both the American and British flags. Queen Elizabeth II, commenting on “the drive of the band,” was also “quite pleased with the card section,” according to President Elkins.
Maryland’s “Black and Gold” band forming the Royal Cypher as part of their halftime show.
Maryland’s card section during the “Black and Gold” band’s halftime performance.
According to Howard Miller’s account of the Queen’s Game, with only minutes left in the 4th quarter, the announcer at Byrd Stadium asked the crowd to remain in their seats so the Queen and Prince Philip could leave first to attend dinner with President Eisenhower. The Queen’s motorcade entered the stadium, and the Queen left before “a full house broke for the exits.” Miller recalled “never had so many Marylanders showed so much courtesy.” Nick Kovalakides, class of ’61, who was unable to attend the game due to illness, was listening to the game on the radio while recovering in his Montgomery Hall dorm, when he heard that the Queen was leaving early “to avoid the crunch of fans after the game.” Hearing this, Kovalakides went outside in case the Queen’s motorcade traveled on Regents Drive past Montgomery Hall. As Kovalakides sat on the steps, feeling “like everyone else in the world was at the game except me,” the Queen’s motorcade appeared over the hill. Seeing the Queen in the back seat of the limo, Kovalakides stood and waved. The Queen waved back. Remembering the event, Kovalakides said “in seconds, she was gone. But not in my mind.”
As the game ended, the triumphant Terps hoisted Coach Tommy Mont on their shoulders and ran across the field to where the Queen was seated. When presented to the Queen, she replied by saying “wonderful, wonderful.” For Coach Mont, immediately after the win he said “I’m going to revel in this for the rest of my life.” In the issue following the game, the Diamondback selected the entire Maryland football team as Players-of-the-Week.
Photographs and artifacts from the Queen’s Game are on display in McKeldin Library through January 2018. Be sure to check out our exhibit cases on the first floor, near Footnotes Cafe! We’ve decorated the second floor Portico Room (across the walkway from the Terrapin Tech Desk) with images from the game as well.
September 11, 2001, is a day that lives in infamy worldwide. For the University of Maryland, the attacks hit particularly hard, due to the campus’ proximity to Washington, DC, and the number of students from the attacked regions.
Classes were canceled that afternoon, and students were in shock. The University provided counselors to the campus community, and administrators immediately spoke about the attack. President C.D. Mote, Jr., said that it was “a day of mourning and reflection.” He also noted how different student groups would be effected by the events.
“We need to keep our free and open society here and not blame groups,” Mote said that day.
Out of fear of repercussions, the Muslim Students’ Association moved their midday services and were protected by four police officers as they prayed. There were no violent attempts to disrupt their observance.
Meanwhile, students were frantically checking their cell phones and huddling around maintenance trucks to hear the radio reports, according to The Diamondback. In addition, groups of students could be seen all across campus with tears in their eyes and their heads bowed in prayer.
The Health Center began working with the Red Cross that day to organize a blood drive by the end of the week. Other drives within the county were advertised on campus by those trying to help replenish the supply of blood at hospitals.
In Athletics, the first focus was on the safety of family members of the student-athletes. At least three football players had family that worked in the twin towers, and luckily all were safe. ACC Commissioner John Swofford postponed all athletic events in the conference through September 15th, the following Saturday, and the Terps postponed their football game against West Virginia for two weeks.
On the 12th, The Diamondback reported that two former faculty members had been killed in the attacks. The paper covered the events throughout the rest of the week, including the memorial service on McKeldin Mall, and included more Associated Press news stories than the editors usually tended to do.
The dramatic and extensive coverage of this national and international tragedy in The Diamondback is a vivid reminder of the impact of these events on the UMD community as they unfolded, an impact which continues to this day.
The Diamondback is the university’s primary student newspaper, and its coverage of campus events provides an invaluable perspective on the university’s history. Thanks to generous donations and a successful Launch UMD campaign, the University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper, which is currently available on microfilm in the University Archives and McKeldin Library. This post is the part of a series based on information collected during the Diamondback Digitization Project. Check out the Twitter hashtag #digiDBK or the DigiDBK tag on our Terrapin Tales blog for previous posts. Look out for more DigiDBK posts from our team throughout the coming months!