The 2 newest teams in the Big 10 (or the Big Ten, or the B1G) haven't exactly stood up to Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Nebraska. Maybe this could be a good rivalry, due to the long distance to the other Conference teams, and due to the relatively close distance to each other.
Or, it could be just a bad football game.
Before You Go. D.C. can get really hot in summer, but this will be mid-November, so that won't be an issue. For this coming Thursday, The Washington Post is predicting mid-60s for the afternoon, and mid-40s for the evening. You should bring a winter jacket if you're staying overnight and "doing the city" on Saturday and Sunday.
Washington is in the Eastern Time Zone, so you won't have to fiddle with your clocks, digital or otherwise.
Tickets. The Terrapins are averaging 41,494 fans per game this season, only about 80 percent of capacity. So getting tickets shouldn't be a problem.
Visiting fans are put in the lower level in Section 2, for $50; and in the upper deck in Section 302, for $27. Be warned: The upper deck is very high, and very steep. It is not for the faint of heart, figuratively or literally.
Unlike the Capitals, with whom they share the arena, ticket prices aren't as high as the Washington Monument. Seats on the Main Concourse can be had for as little as $64, on the Club Concourse for $64, and on the Upper Concourse for as much as $63 and as little as $22.
Getting There. Getting to Washington is fairly easy. If you have a car, I recommend using it, and getting a hotel either downtown or inside the Capital Beltway, because driving in Washington is roughly (good choice of words there) as bad as driving in New York.
It's 227 miles by road from Times Square in Midtown Manhattan to tdowntown Washington, and 193 miles from High Point Solutions Stadium to Maryland Stadium. If you’re not "doing the city," but just going to the game, take the New Jersey Turnpike all the way down to the Delaware Memorial Bridge (a.k.a. the Twin Span), across the Delaware River into the State of, well, Delaware. This should take about 2 hours, not counting a rest stop.
Speaking of which, the temptation to take an alternate route (such as Exit 7A to I-195 to I-295 to the Ben Franklin Bridge) or a side trip (Exit 4, eventually leading to the Ben Franklin Bridge) to get into Pennsylvania and stop off at Pat's Steaks in South Philly can be strong. But if you want to get from New York to Washington with making only 1 rest stop, you’re better off using the Delaware House Service Area in Christiana, between Exits 3 and 1 on the Delaware Turnpike. It’s almost exactly the halfway point between New York and Washington.
Once you get over the Twin Span – the New Jersey-bound span opened in 1951, the Delaware-bound one was added in 1968 – follow the signs carefully, as you’ll be faced with multiple ramp signs for Interstates 95, 295 and 495, as well as for US Routes 13 and 40 and State Route 9. You want I-95 South, and its signs will say "Delaware Turnpike" and "Baltimore." You'll pay tolls at both its eastern and western ends, and unless there’s a traffic jam, you should only be in Delaware for a maximum of 15 minutes before hitting the Maryland State Line.
At said State Line, I-95 changes from the Delaware Turnpike to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway, and you'll be on it for about an hour (unless you want to make another rest stop, either the Chesapeake House or the Maryland House) and passing through Baltimore, before reaching Exit 27W, Interstate 495, the Capital Beltway.
You'll get off the Beltway after just 1 exit, Exit 25A, and head south on U.S. Route 1, known here as Baltimore Avenue. Turn right on Campus Drive, right on Library Lane, and left on Fieldhouse Drive. The stadium will be on the right.
If all goes well -- getting out of New York City and into downtown Baltimore okay, reasonable traffic, just the one rest stop, no trouble with your car -- the whole trip should take about 4 hours.
Washington is too close to fly, just as flying from New York to Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore, once you factor in fooling around with everything you gotta do at each airport, doesn’t really save you much time compared to driving, the bus or the train. So forget about flying from JFK, LaGuardia or Newark to Reagan National or Dulles International Airport. (John Foster Dulles was President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Secretary of State.)
The train is a very good option, if you can afford it. Washington's Union Station is at 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE, within sight of the Capitol Building. But Amtrak is expensive. They figure, "You hate to fly, you don't want to deal with airports, and Greyhound sucks, so we can charge whatever we want." New York to Washington will run you $178 round-trip on a standard Northeast Regional, $326 on an Acela Express, formerly named the Metroliner. That's before you add anything like Business Class or, God forbid, Amtrak's overmicrowaved food. Still, it's less than 3 hours if you take the Acela Express, and 3 hours and 40 minutes if you take a regular Northeast Corridor train.
Again, the game will end around 9:30 PM. If you took Amtrak down, the last train of the night leaves Union Station at 10:10 PM. There's a 10:00 PM Greyhound back to Port Authority, but it doesn't get in until 2:20 AM; and an 11:15 that arrives at 4:15 AM. Have you ever been in Port Authority before sunrise? I have, and it's pretty depressing. Better to stay over, if you can afford it.
Once In the City. Founded in 1800, and usually referred to as "The National City" in its early days, and "Washington City" in the 19th Century, the city was named, of course, for George Washington, although its "Georgetown" neighborhood was named for his predecessor as our commander-in-chief, King George III of England.
The name of its "state," the District of Columbia, comes from Columbia, a historical and poetic name used for America, which was accepted as the nation's female personification until the early 20th Century (as opposed to its male personification, Uncle Sam), when the Statue of Liberty began to take its place in the public consciousness. "Columbia" was derived from the man who "discovered America," Christopher Columbus, and places throughout the Western Hemisphere -- from the capitals of Ohio and South Carolina to the river that separates Washington State from Oregon, from the Ivy League university in Manhattan to the South American nation that produces coffee and cocaine, are named for him, albeit with different spellings.
Like a lot of cities, Washington suffered from "white flight," so that, while the population within the city limits has seriously shrunk, from 800,000 in 1950 to 650,000 today; the metro area went from 2.9 million to double that, 5.8 million. As a result, the roads leading into the District, and the one going around it, the Capital Beltway, Interstate 495, are rammed with cars. Finally, someone wised up and said, "Let's build a subway," and in 1976, the Metro opened.
That metropolitan growth was boosted by the Maryland and Virginia suburbs building housing and shopping areas for federal-government workers. And, perhaps more than any other metro area, the poor blacks who once lived in the city have reached the middle class and built their own communities (especially to the east, in Maryland's Prince Georges County, which includes Landover). The metro area now has nearly 6 million residents -- and that's not including the metro area of nearby Baltimore, which would boost it to nearly 8.5 million and make it the 4th-largest "market" in the country, behind New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, slightly ahead of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Lots of people from the District and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs went up the Parkway to Baltimore to see the Orioles during the District's 1972-2004 baseball interregnum. However, during the NFL interregnum between Robert Irsay's theft of the Colts in 1984 and the arrival of the Ravens in 1996, Baltimore never accepted the Redskins as their team, despite 2 Super Bowl wins in that period.
Before you get to Union Station, read the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun online -- or, if you want to go old-school, buy paper copies of them at the Station. The Post is a great paper with a very good sports section, and in just 6 seasons (now into a 7th) has covered the Nats very well, despite the 1972-2004 era when D.C. had no MLB team of its own. As a holdover from that era, it still covers the Orioles well. The Sun is only an okay paper, but its sports section is nearly as good as the Post's, and their coverage of their town's hometown baseball team rivals that of any paper in the country -- including the great coverage that The New York Times and Daily News give to the Yankees and Mets.
Do not buy The Washington Times. It was founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in 1982 as a replacement for the bankrupt Washington Star as the area’s conservative equivalent to the "liberal" Post. (That’s a laugh: The Post has George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson and Kathleen Parker as columnists!)
Under editor-in-chief Wesley Pruden, the Times was viciously right-wing, "reporting" every rumor about Democrats as if they were established, proven fact, and giving Republicans a free pass. Moon's "Unification Church" sold the paper in 2009, and Pruden retired the year before. But it has cut about 40 percent of its employees, and has dropped not only its Sunday edition but also its sports section.
And now, there's another paper, the Washington Examiner, owned by the same company as the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, and it is so far to the right it makes The Washington Times look like the Daily Kos. It is a truly loony publication, where Michael Barone of the American Enterprise Institute and Byron York of National Review are considered moderates.
So avoid the loonies and the Moonies, and stick with the Post. Even if you don't agree with my politics, you're going down to D.C. for hockey, and the Post's sports section kicks ass.
The sales tax in the District, once as high as 9 percent, is now just 6 percent. Unfortunately, not being a State, the city government has to do everything that a city government does and every thing that a State government does. Which also means that the Mayor, currently Muriel Bowser, has to do everything that the State's Governor would do.
The John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
D.C.'s City Hall, and, effectively, also its State Capitol Building
Remember: On street signs, 1st Street is written out as "FIRST," and I Street is written out as "EYE," in order to avoid confusion. And for the same reason, since I and J were virtually indistinguishable in written script when D.C. was founded in 1800, there is no J Street. Once the letters get to W, there is no X, Y or Z Street. Instead, they go to to 2- and then 3-syllable words beginning with the sequential letters: Adams, Bryant, Clifton, etc.
As for the town in which the University is located, College Park is, of course, named for the school itself. The sales tax in Maryland is 6 percent. ZIP Codes for D.C. start with the digits 20, with 202 through 205 serving the federal government, and 201 serving Dulles Airport, even though it's in Virginia. For the Maryland suburbs, it's 206 through 209 and 215. For the Virginia suburbs, it's 220 to 223. The Area Code for D.C. is 202, with 301 serving the Maryland suburbs, overlaid by 240; and 70 serving the Virginia suburbs, overlaid by 571.
The State House in Annapolis
Going In. Washington's subway, the Metro, opened in 1976, but College Park wasn't connected to it until the Green Line station opened on December 11, 1993 -- meaning it wasn't until the 1994 season that you could take it to a University of Maryland football game.
From Union Station (having taken either the train or the bus in) to the stadium, you'll get on the Red Line toward Silver Spring, and it's 4 stops to Fort Totten, then transfer to the Green Line toward Greenbelt, and it's another 3 stops to College Park. At which point you go downstairs and transfer to the C8 bus headed for White Flint station. It will let you off at Campus Drive and Union Lane, about 3 blocks from the stadium. It should take about 50 minutes, and cost $2.95 each way. (It sounds expensive, but it's not much more than New York's Subway, and, unlike New York's, it does go outside the city.)
He resigned the position in 1954, so he could run for Governor of Maryland, winning the Democratic nomination but losing to incumbent Republican Theodore McKeldin, a once and future Mayor of Baltimore. (McKeldin is the namesake of McKeldin Mall, to the southeast of the stadium, and the McKeldin Library at its western end.) Byrd later ran for the Senate in 1964 and the House of Representatives in 1966, but lost again. He was appointed to various State offices, and was a champion of the environment in a State heavily dependent on the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, before dying in 1970.
In 2006, Capital One Bank bought the naming rights to the stadium, and it became Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. But in 2015, student groups demanded that Byrd's name be removed, since he had personally kept the school all-white until 1951. The school's Board of Regents agreed, and it's now Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.
I attended the 2009 Rutgers-Maryland game. It rained like crazy, making the steep steps in the upper deck slippery, and thus even more treacherous than usual. It also caused the men's room in that part of the upper deck to spring a leak, making it perhaps the most disgusting bathroom I've been in during a sporting event, with the exception of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia during an Eagles game. (Don't ask.)
Maryland's teams are called the Terrapins, or the Terps for short. A terrapin is a turtle, common to Maryland, and a slogan you will see on campus is "Fear the Turtle." On the one hand, real terrapins are snapping turtles, and can hurt you. On the other hand, turtles are slow, and football players are expected to be fast. So maybe it's not such a good nickname.
Food. Food at D.C. sports venues runs from the very good at Nationals Park to the very bad at RFK Stadium. Terps football seems to have figured out that they're now in the Big Ten, because they have seriously improved their food options.
Here's a guide, direct from the team website, umterps.com:
WHERE TO FIND BYRD FOOD SPECIALTIES
- Stand 01- Sect. 28- Flamed Broiled Burgers, Sausages, Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Fries, Nachos
- Stand 02- Sect. 22- Chicken Strips, Hot Dogs, Nachos, Fries, Coffee
- Stand 03- Sect. 19- Pizza, Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Nachos, Fries, UMD Ice Cream, Sno-Cones, Root Beer Float, Chessie Crab Pretzel
- Stand 04- Sect. 18- Crab Cakes, Flamed Broiled Burgers, Logan’s Italian Sausages, Grilled Chicken, Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Fries,
- Stand 06- Sect. 17- Pit Beef, Pit Turkey, Pork BBQ, Veggie Burgers, Fries
- Stand 08- Sect. 14- Chicken Strips, Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Nachos, Fries, Crab Fries, Crab Nachos
- Stand 10- Sect. 11- Flamed Broiled Burgers, Sausages, Grilled Chicken, Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Fries, Funnel Cakes, Coffee
- Stand 12- Sect. 10- Pizza, Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Nachos, Fries, Dill Pickle Spears, Cotton Candy
- Stand 13- Sect. 05- Chicken Strips, Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Nachos, Fries
- Stand 14- Sect. 02- Flamed Broiled Burgers, Logan's Italian Sausage, Hoffman’' Hot Dogs, Fries,
- Stand 21- Sect. 210- Green Turtle- Hog Hammers, Turtle Bites, Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Stand 22- Sect. 208- Flamed Broiled Burgers, Logan's Italian Sausages, Grilled Chicken, Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Fries, UMD Ice Cream, Sno-Cones, Root Beer Float
- Stand 25- Sect. 205- Pizza, Chicken Strips, Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Fries, Nachos, crab fries, crab nachos
- Stand 31- Sect. 312- Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Jumbo Pretzels,
- Stand 32- Sect. 309- Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Fries, Nachos, Coffee
- Stand 33- Sect. 304- Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Fries, Nachos
- Stand 34- Sect. 302- Hoffman's Hot Dogs, Jumbo Pretzels
Portable Cart LocationsSect. 19- Rita's Italian Ice
Sect. 17- Chick Fil A
Sect. 17- Curley's Fresh-Fruit Cups, Wraps, Sabra Hummus and water
Sect. 17- Chick Fil A
Sect. 17- Curley's Fresh-Fruit Cups, Wraps, Sabra Hummus and water
Numerous Draft Beer Cart Locations throughout the concourses
Maryland Craft Beers featuring DuClaw, Heavy Seas, and Flying Dog will sold behind sections 3 and 22Curley's Fresh-Fruit Cups? I guess it's not named for Curley Byrd. Either that, or the student groups that successfully got his name removed from the stadium don't care.
All stands serve Pepsi Products with Bottled Water. Hot Chocolate is available weather permitting. Pretzels, Peanuts, Popcorn and Nachos are sold at most stands.
All stands serve Pepsi Products with Bottled Water. Hot Chocolate is available weather permitting. Pretzels, Peanuts, Popcorn and Nachos are sold at most stands.
Team History Displays. UMd has been to 26 bowl games, the 1st in 1947 and the most recent in 2014. Included in this is their 1 win in a mayor bowl game, the 1952 Sugar Bowl, over Tennessee, which clinched an undefeated season and a share of the National Championship in the 1951 season. They were declared National Champions in 1953 as well, but, at the time, that honor was conferred by the polls before the bowl games, and they lost the 1954 Orange Bowl to Oklahoma, who was near the beginning of their 47-game winning streak, still an NCAA Division I record. Their last visit to a big bowl was the 2002 Orange Bowl, which they lost to Florida. Their last win in any bowl was over East Carolina in the 2010 Military Bowl.
They had undefeated regular seasons in 1893, 1951, 1953, 1955 and 1976, although each of the last 3 was ruined by a bowl game loss. They won the Southern Conference Championship in 1937, 1951 and 1953; and the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship in 1955, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1983, 1984, 1985 and 2001.
These achievements are honored on the front wall of the fieldhouse, containing their offices and locker room, at the open end of the horseshoe.
The Terrapins do not retire uniform numbers. They do have an athletic hall of fame, with the following members from their football program:
* From the 1900s: Back Curley Byrd.
* From the 1910s: Head Coach Byrd, and backs William Morris, Burton Shipley and Kenneth Knode.
* From the 1920s: Byrd; ends Geary Eppley and Bill Supplee; backs Charles Mackert, Brooke Brewer, Harry Semler, Thomas McQuade, Myron Stevens, Fred Linkous and Gerald Snyder; center Caleb Bailey, guard John Hough and tackle Joseph Burger.
* From the 1930s: Byrd; running backs Julius Radice, William Evans, Joseph Deckman, Charles May, Bosey Berger, George Chalmers, Norwood Sothoron, Earl Widmyer, Bill Guckeyson, Frederick Hewitt and Jim Meade; ends Al Heagy, John Norris, Albert Woods, Francis Buscher and Vic Willis; quarterback Ray Poppelman; guard Jessee Krajovic; and tackle Ed Minion.
* From the 1940s: Head Coach Jim Tatum; running backs Pershing Mondorff and John Gilmore; tackle William Krouse; center Robert Smith; and quarterback Tommy Mont.
* From the 1950s: Tatum; tackles Ray Krouse, Stan Jones, Dick Modzelewski and Mike Sandusky; quaterbacks Stan Lavine, Jack Scarbath and Bernie Faloney; running backs Ed Modzelewski and Chet Hanulak; guard Bob Ward, centers Tom Cosgrove and Bob Pellegrini, and end Bill Walker.
* From the 1960s: End Gary Collins (not the game-show host), defensive back Tom Brown and a quarterback with the unfortunate name of Dick Shiner.
* From the 1970s: Head Coach Jerry Claiborne and defensive tackle Randy White.
* From the 1980s: Kicker Dale Castro, quarterback Norman Julius "Boomer" Esiason, center Kevin Glover and offensive tackle J.D. Maarleveld.
Boomer Esiason, Maryland quarterback, 1983.
Whatever happened to him?
* From the 1990s onward: No honorees to date. Indeed, they had no First Team All-Americans at all in the 1990s, although former New York Jet LaMont Jordan was a Second Team All-American for the Terps. In the 2000s, their All-Americans included linebacker E.J. Henderson and tight end Vernon Davis. So far, they've only had 2 in the 2010s: Kicker Brad Craddock and safety William Likely.
Ward, Scarbath, Dick Modzelewski, Jones, Pellegrini and White have been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. So have Tatum and Claiborne. So have head coaches Clark Shaughnessy and, in his 1st head coaching job in 1945, Paul "Bear" Bryant, although both of those were elected based on what they achieved elsewhere. Jones, of the Chicago Bears teams of the 1950s and '60s, and White, of the Dallas Cowboys' late 1970s "Doomsday Defense," are the only former Terrapins in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Stuff. Although there are souvenir stands at the stadium, there's no official team store. You'd have to go to the University Bookstore. Fortunately, that's a 5-minute walk from the stadium, at 370 Union Lane, and you'd have to pass it going from the Metro shuttle bus stop to the stadium, and back.
The best book -- not that it's much of a contest -- about Terp football is The University of Maryland Football Vault by John McNamara (not the former Boston Red Sox manager), which carries the program from its 1892 beginning through the 2008 season. As far as I can tell, there's no video history of Terp football.
During the Game. Maryland's biggest rivals have been Virginia, West Virginia, Navy and Penn State. That's in football. In basketball, it was Virginia, North Carolina and Duke. With changing conference memberships, only the one with Penn State is still played every year, now that both are in the Big Ten.
Being so close together, and usually being played late in the season, Maryland and Rutgers could develop a good rivalry. So far, it is a good one, not a nasty one -- to the point where, at the 2009 game I went to, many fans from both schools were wearing Baltimore Ravens Number 27 jerseys, for local pro star and Rutgers All-American Ray Rice. (You won't find too many of those on either campus anymore, for unfortunate reasons.) But you can wear your RU gear on the Maryland campus without any trouble.
Since 1960, a cannon furnished by The Mighty Sound of Maryland has been fired to signify to tailgaters that the game is about to start. It is also, as is the familiar Rutgers cannon, fired after every home team score.
Testudo, with one of the two terrapin statues on campus
The mascot is Testudo, a diamondback terrapin. Testudo is a genus of tortoises, although the scientific name for the turtle that the UMd mascot represents is Malaclemys terrapin. When the players come onto the field before the game, for luck, they touch a statue of a terrapin.
They'd have been better off sticking
with those plain white helmets, as you're about to see.
Maryland used to have simple red helmets with "Terps" in white semi-script lettering on them. Then they switched to plain white ones, making them look like a high school team. Now, their helmets and jerseys are decorated like the State Flag. It looks great on a flag, but it's hideous on uniforms.
Yes, they actually go out in public wearing this.
Because from 1972 to 2004, Baltimore had a Major League Baseball team and the much-closer Washington didn't, there is one annoying trait from Oriole games that Terps fans brought back with them: The "O!" shout during the National Anthem, on, "O, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave... ?"
I hate that. What's more, traditionally, Washingtonians hate Baltimore. (Much more so than Baltimoreans hate Washington.) Why would you adopt one of their habits? At least they didn't adopt the Orioles' 7th Inning Stretch song, even though, for people coming into D.C. from Virginia, it would be a bit more appropriate: John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy." That would have made much more sense than the "O!" shout.
After the Game. As I said, you should be safe walking around the campus. If you're looking for a postgame meal (or even just a pint), the nearby choices are many. Popular choices on or around campus include Bobby's Burger Palace, The Board and Brew, and Looney's Pub (all at 8150 Baltimore Avenue/Route 1, about a mile east of the stadium), and the following that are all within a 5-minute walk of each other, near the intersection of Baltimore Avenue and Knox Road, about a mile southeast of the stadium: Jason's Deli (7356 Baltimore), Cornerstone Grill & Loft, (7325 Baltimore), Terrapin's Turf (4410 Knox), Ledo Restaurant (4509 Knox), and an outlet of that now-gone Rutgers standby, Cluck-U Chicken (7415 Baltimore).
Back in D.C., a particular favorite of mine is Fado, an Irish-themed bar that shows international soccer games. It's a short walk away, at 808 7th Street NW. The bar 51st State is a known hangout for Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks and Rangers fans. (No mention of the Nets, Islanders or Devils, though.) 2512 L St. NW at Pennsylvania Avenue. Metro: Blue or Orange to Foggy Bottom. Nanny O'Brien's is also said to be a Giants fan bar. 3319 Connecticut Ave NW. Metro: Red to Cleveland Park.
If you need a real Rutgers fix before going back -- especially likely if the Scarlet Knights lose -- Washington has a Thomas Sweet! It's in the Georgetown section, at 3214 P Street NW. Not reachable by Metro, which doesn't go to Georgetown: You'll need a bus if you're not driving, either the D2 or the D6.
If you visit D.C. during the European soccer season, which we are currently in the 2 best "football pubs" in town are Lucky Bar, at 1221 Connecticut Ave. NW (Red Line to Farragut North); and Fado Irish Pub, 808 7th Street NW., in Chinatown, a block from the Verizon Center (Red, Yellow or Green Line to Gallery Place). In 2009, I saw Arsenal beat Fulham there before heading out to College Park to watch Rutgers beat Maryland in the rain.
Sidelights. Before Byrd/Maryland Stadium opened, they played from 1923 to 1947 at the original Byrd Stadium, which Curley Byrd also had built. It wasn't much, only seating 5,000, and the Terrapins played most games against major opponents at either Griffith Stadium in D.C. (home of baseball's Senators and later football's Redskins) or Municipal Stadium in Baltimore (which was later converted into Memorial Stadium for baseball's Orioles and football's Colts).
It was on what's now known as Fraternity Fields, on Baltimore Avenue, about a mile southeast of the stadium, across from Ritchie Coliseum, which was the school's basketball home from 1931 to 1955. While playing there, the Terps won the Southern Conference Tournament in 1931 and the regular-season title in 1932.
* Cole Field House. Ritchie Coliseum seated only 1,500, and with the founding of the ACC in 1953, a bigger arena was needed. The William P. Cole, Jr. Student Activities Building, better known as Cole Field House, named for the chairman of the Board of Regents who got it built, opened in 1955, and Maryland played its home basketball games here until 2002.
It is home to more upsets of Number 1-ranked teams than any venue in the history of college basketball, with Duke becoming the 7th in 2002, the final season of play, which also became the season that the Terrapins won their 1st National Championship. They had also made the Final Four the year before, and won Conference Championships at Cole in 1975, 1980, 1995 and 2002, and ACC Tournament Championships in 1958 and 1984. It was home to All-Americans Tom McMillen, Len Elmore, John Lucas, former Knick and Net Albert King (Bernard's brother), Nets star Buck Williams, Joe Smith, former Knick Steve Francis, Juan Dixon (star of the 2002 title team), and, most famously and also tragically, Len Bias.
The building has a more important legacy. On March 19, 1966, it hosted the NCAA Tournament Final, in which Texas Western University, which was renamed the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) a year later, coached by Don Haskins, fielded an all-black starting lineup that beat Adolph Rupp's all-white University of Kentucky (including a 21-year-old guard named Pat Riley), striking a blow for integration. Gary Williams, who would coach Maryland to the 2002 title, attended this game. The fact that it took place at an until-recently segregated university adds to the mystique of the event. It was depicted in the film Glory Road, which filmed on Cole's court. It was the only time a Number 1-ranked team was beaten at Cole by a team other than Maryland.
Cole also hosted the NCAA Final Four in 1970, with UCLA beating Jacksonville University in the FInal. These 2 instances are the only times that either the State of Maryland or the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area has ever hosted the Final Four. In 1991, Cole hosted the 1st-ever win in an NCAA Tournament by a 15th seed over a 2nd seed, as the University of Richmond beat Syracuse.
While Cole was their home, the women's basketball team at Maryland won the ACC regular-season title in 1979, 1982, 1988 and 1989; the ACC Tournament title in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1988 and 1989; and reached the Final Four in 1978, 1982 and 1989. Notable players included 1988 U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Vicky Bullett, who went on to play in the WNBA For the Charlotte Sting and the Washington Mystics; and Jasmina Perazić, an original 1997 member of the New York Liberty.
Other historic events included perhaps the most famous high school basketball game in American history (or maybe 2nd, after the 1954 Indiana final fictionalized in Hoosiers). In 1965, DeMatha Catholic High School of Hyattsville, just 2 1/2 miles south of Cole, faced Power Memorial Academy of New York, which came in having won 71 straight games, led by 7-foot-2 center Lew Alcindor -- whom we now know as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. With 14,000 fans giving the Stags a tremendous home-court advantage, DeMatha won 46-43.
DeMatha's coach from 1956 to 2002, Morgan Wootten, would go on to win more games than any coach in the history of high school basketball, 1,274 (a total since surpassed by Robert Hughes of Dunbar High in Fort Worth, Texas), and became the 1st person elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame based on high school achievements alone. He is still alive, age 85.
DeMatha's alumni include Adrian Dantley, 1983 North Carolina State stars Sidney Lowe and Dereck Whittenburg, Duke star Danny Ferry, baseball pitchers Steve Farr and Brett Cecil, football stars Brian and Byron Westbrook, U.S. Olympic track and field Gold Medalist Derek Mills, sportscaster James Brown, sportswriter David Aldridge, and Coy Gibbs, son and former assistant coach of Joe Gibbs, who now runs Joe Gibbs Racing.
Power closed in 1984 because they couldn't afford the drastic repairs their 1931 building needed. (It stood at 161 West 61st Street, and was demolished. In a slap to the poor Irish immigrant community of Hell's Kitchen for which it was built, it was replaced by luxury apartments.) In addition to Kareem, their alumni include Chris Mullin, Mario Elie, the aforementioned Maryland star Len Elmore, hockey stars Joe and Brian Mullen, and actor Bruno Kirby.
In 1972, Cole Field House "did its bit for king and country," helping to thaw the Cold War, hosting the 1st-ever sporting event between the U.S. and the People's Republic of China, a table tennis match; and an exhibition of the Soviet gymnastics team, including the star of the recent Olympics in Munich, Olga Korbut, who would come to live and coach in America.
In the Autumn of 1973, when the Baltimore Bullets moved, calling themselves the Capital Bullets that season before becoming the Washington Bullets in 1974 and the Washington Wizards in 1977, their new arena, the Capital Centre in suburban Landover, Maryland, wasn't ready for the new season, so they played home games at Cole.
On September 27 and 28, 1974, Elvis Presley gave his 1st concerts in the D.C. area, at Cole. His staff didn't like it, as the quarters were too cramped. (That had nothing to do with the weight that Elvis was putting on.) So he played the Cap Centre on his 1976 and '77 tours. Other big stars who played at Cole included Queen in 1977, the Grateful Dead in 1981, and Bob Dylan in 1998. I guess they didn't have the entourage that The King had.
Cole seated 14,596 -- and that was after coach Lefty Driesell added 3,000 seats in the 1970s. So it was too small for an ACC program. (Or, as it turned out, a Big Ten program.) Despite head coach Gary Williams, on his way to leading the team to its 1st National Championship, wanting to stay due to the building's great atmosphere, a new arena was built.
In 2014, the University began retrofitting Cole Field House. It now includes their football headquarters, the Terrapin Performance Center, and will, by the time the process is completed in 2018, house the Center for Sports Medicine and The Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Doesn't sound like something worthy of such a historic place, but at least they're not tearing it down completely. 4095 Union Line, across Fieldhouse Drive from the stadium.
* Xfinity Center. Opening in 2002 at 8500 Paint Branch Drive, about 3/4 of a mile northeast of the stadium, and known as the Comcast Center until 2014, Maryland basketball has done fairly well at this 17,950-seat modern arena. The men's team won the ACC Tournament in 2004 and the regular-season title in 2010, although they haven't reached the Final Four there, and have found the Big Ten rough going. Stars since the new area opened including former Los Angeles Laker Steve Blake and former Net Greivis Vásquez.
Although in different directions, the Wizards' and Capitals' Verizon Center (601 F Street NW, Metro Green, Red or Yellow to Gallery Place), the Redskins' FedEx Field (1600 FedEx Way, Metro Blue or Silver to Morgan Blvd.), and D.C. United's Robert F. Kennedy Stadium (2400 E. Capitol Street SE, Metro Blue, Orange or Silver to Stadium-Armory) are all 9 miles from Maryland Stadium. Nationals Park (1500 S. Capital Street SE, Metro Green to Navy Yard) and the new D.C. United stadium (at about 1700 S. 1st Street, also Navy Yard) are 10 miles away, and downtown Baltimore is 28 miles away.
Because of the longtime hold the Orioles had on the area, they are still the most popular MLB team in College Park and surrounding Montgomery County, Maryland. According to an April 23, 2014 article in The New York Times, they have 29 percent of the local fans, while the Nationals and the Yankees each receive 20 percent. And according to a May 23, 2014 New York Times article, the Los Angeles Lakers have more fans there than the Wizards. But the Redskins remain the most popular NFL team, and Baltimore does not compete with the Washington Capitals for local NHL fans.
If things go well, Rutgers and Maryland could produce exciting Big Ten football (and other sports) without having to go anywhere from 500 miles (to Ohio State) to 1,300 miles (to Nebraska). Then again, how often have things gone well for Rutgers? But you should be able to enjoy yourself at Maryland when Rutgers plays there.