Tudor: Terp teams once made important impact

ctudor@newsobserver.comNovember 20, 2012 

Maryland athletics isn’t much to talk about these days, but there have been times when the school defined ACC sports. The Terrapins soon will be off to the Big Ten. But long after they’re gone, we’ll remember these five teams, among many others:

Basketball 2001-02

Gary Williams’ team won the national championship by defeating Kansas (97-88) and Indiana (64-52) in the Final Four at Atlanta to cap a 32-4 season.

Led by guard Juan Dixon and forward Lonny Baxter, the Terps went 15-1 in ACC play and became the first league team outside the North Carolina borders to bring back an NCAA crown.

Before taking out Indiana and Kansas in the Final Four, Williams’ team had to stop Kentucky and Connecticut in the East Regional.

Basketball 1973-74

Lefty Driesell’s team finished 23-5 but three losses to NCAA champ N.C. State left the Terps brokenhearted.

In what often is rated as the best basketball game ever, the top-ranked Wolfpack stopped the No. 5 Terps 103-100 in overtime to win the ACC tournament title in Greensboro. Only the league tournament winner qualified for an NCAA bid.

With Tom McMillen, Len Elmore and Owen Brown inside and John Lucas and Mo Howard at guard, it was one of the best starting lineups in ACC history.

Football 1976

The best and most successful of Jerry Claiborne’s 10 Maryland teams went 11-0 in the regular season but lost to Houston in the Cotton Bowl, 30-21.

Until the arrival of Florida State in 1992, the Terp teams coached by Claiborne and Bobby Ross routinely ruled the ACC.

The ’76 team, led by down lineman Joe Campbell and quarterback Mark Manges, outscored its five ACC foes 111-24.

Football 1953

Coached by Jim Tatum, who left to take the North Carolina job in 1956, the Terps gave the ACC a national title in its first season as a conference.

The Terps lost to Oklahoma, 7-0, in the Orange Bowl but bowls didn’t count in the final Associated Press polls at that time. In fact, very little emphasis was placed on bowl games by coaches and players until the late ’50s.

Basketball 1983-84

The only ACC tournament title for Lefty Driesell came in Greensboro and over a Duke team that had eliminated North Carolina a day earlier.

Len Bias scored 26 points to lead a 74-62 win over Duke, which was just emerging as a national power under Mike Krzyzewski.

After the win, Driesell joked that he might have the trophy welded to the hood of his car and drive back and forth across the state of North Carolina all spring and summer.

Tudor: 919-829-8946

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