The ACC School Mount Rushmores: Maryland FINAL
Update: The Confidential does want to thank all of the folks that provided comments–both here and on Testudo Times. It is a tribute to Maryland sports fans that there was so much interest in this issue.
Having reviewed all of the comments and criticism, the Confidential is sticking with Gary Williams, Boomer Esiason, and Curley Byrd. While Randy White had a fine career, his notoriety lags behind Esiason overall and also trails the final two competitors for the 4th spot. As for the 4th and final spot… it came down to Len Bias vs. Juan Dixon. Bias was the better player and the better athlete. But Dixon led Maryland to a national championship. Maryland fans got to savor a national championship because of Juan Dixon’s leadership and skills. He gets the final spot.
The final verdict: Gary Williams, Boomer Esiason, Curley Byrd, and Juan Dixon.
As an initial matter, these school-wide Mount Rushmores are limited to sports only–players and coaches. That being said, athletes that have gone on to have careers that have furthered their legend are rewarded also. And negative publicity will also be factored in. We do not believe that USC would put OJ Simpson on its Mount Rushmore. It is what it is. Admittedly, there will be a recency bias too. While historical accomplishments are typically quite impressive, coaching college football (as an example) in 1955 was a lot different than coaching today, where coaches rarely get 5 years to make their mark anymore. Similarly, in an era of up to 14 college football games or 40 college basketball games, as well as daunting pressure from the fans and media, today’s game is more challenging. That’s our opinion and we are sticking to it.
The Confidential gives the first spot to Gary Williams. Williams not only played for Maryland, he later came back to coach Maryland–winning the national title in 2002. You may not know this, but Williams was elected to the Maryland Hall of Fame in 1999–before winning the national title and three years before Lefty Driesell. While Driesell had an impressive career, we give the nod to Williams.
The next spot goes to Boomer Esiason. As this author remembers Esiason’s college career, it was impressive enough. He then made Terrapins’ fans proud by having a successful NFL career, leading the Cincinnati Bengals (hardly an NFL powerhouse) to a Super Bowl berth and a few Pro Bowls. He has also had a successful post-football career, including color commentary for the NFL’s Monday Night Game of the Week for a few years. And he has furthered his reputation with the Boomer Esiason Foundation was created to fund research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. He has represented Maryland well for many years now.
The third spot is an easy one, and perhaps should have been the first one, Curley Byrd. Byrd came long before the Confidential’s time, admittedly. So this took some Internet research. But it is hard to argue with the selection of someone elected to the very first class of the Maryland Hall of Fame and who has this career arc (courtesy of Wikipedia) for Maryland:
- 1905-1907. Quarterback, pitcher, and ran a 10.0 100-yard dash.
- 1911-1934. Football coach.
- 1913-1923. Baseball coach.
- 1915-1935. Athletic Director.
- 1918-1932. Assistant President
- 1932-1936. Vice President.
- 1936-1954. President.
So, that’s all. Just the better part of a half-century leading Maryland in one way or another. Lest there be any doubt, Maryland’s football stadium is named after him!.
And that leads us to the number four spot. We’ll update this post in one week, once we get sufficient comments to determine who gets this fourth spot. Here are some names that you might want to consider: Jim Tatum, Len Elmore, Albert King, John Lucas, and Walt Williams. But we will put this in your hands.
Who will be the Confidential’s fourth Maryland Terrapin in its Mount Rushmore?