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This article is an overview of University of Maryland Basketball: its history, player accomplishments, and current level of success. One thing a number of Best Sports Blog users have asked for is biographies on major NCAA basketball programs-Purdue among them-so this is one of a series of articles designed to meet that need. So, without further ado, let's take a look at the history of Maryland Terrapins basketball:
University of Maryland basketball dates back to the first years of the 20th century. However, Terrapins basketball was played only sporadically until 1923-24. After that year, college basketball became an institution at the university. The team was coached for an incredible forty-two seasons by coach H. Burton Shipley. Shipley is still revered at the school and the Terrapins did enjoy several very successful seasons under his watch including consecutive conference titles in 1930-2.
Beginning in the mid 1950s, University of Maryland basketball became a force on the national stage. The school reached the NCAA Elite Eight in 1958 under coach Bud Millikan but did not become consistently successful until the arrival of school coaching legend Lefty Driesell in 1969. Driesell is credited with revolutionizing Terrapins basketball and inventing Midnight Madness. He also put together the school's first consecutive twenty-plus wins in a season streak beginning in 1970-1 and won twenty plus games seven times through the 1970s. That run also included a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1975 and his success made the school a national recruiting player.
But, after nearly a decade and a half of consistent success, Terrapin basketball was marred by tragedy in 1986. Days after being drafted into the NBA by the Boston Celtics, Maryland star player Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose. The tragedy struck a national chord and resulted in new legislation against cocaine that would have transcendent implications. However, it also left Terrapin basketball a ruin: Driesell resigned under fire, the school's recruits bolted, and the program tanked for the rest of the 1980s.
But, after three years of failure, Maryland hired new coach Gary Williams. Williams, who remains at Maryland after twenty-two years and is such a school legend that the school's arena is nicknamed “The House that Gary Built,” rescued Maryland basketball. Williams stressed a clean program, rebuilt the school's recruiting network, and saw the fruits of his steady success in three NCAA Sweet Sixteen Appearances during the 1990s. Then, with team leader Juan Dixon and star Steve Francis, Williams led the Terrapins to a NCAA Final Four appearance in 2001 and an unexpected NCAA National Title in 2002. The 2002 National Title remains the crowning achievement of the University of Maryland basketball program.
Since, the 2002 title, Maryland has enjoyed steady but unspectacular success. The school has not landed top recruits or been past the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. However, Maryland remains a strong program and the school should have a lot of success to look forward to in years to come.
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