Jones-Hill House Dedication Ceremony Honors Lasting Impact of Two Trailblazing Terps
Photos by Zach Bland/Maryland Athletics
With Testudo dancing and cheerleaders hyping up the crowd tonight, a trio of influential Terps delivered a fitting message not only to kick off the University of Maryland’s 2021 football season, but also to cement a legacy.
“Welcome to Jones-Hill House!” Billy Jones ‘69, Darryl Hill ‘65 and Kevin Plank ‘96 called out in unison from the new facility’s lobby balcony, cueing pump-up music, a blast of confetti and the unfurling of an official welcome banner. Below, around 200 donors, trustees and other guests roared their approval.
The celebratory greeting introduced the official dedication ceremony of the new home of Maryland Football, named in honor of Jones, who became the first Black basketball player at UMD and in the ACC in 1965, and Hill, who broke the same color barrier in football in 1963. The building, announced by President Darryll J. Pines during his April inauguration speech, was supported through a leadership gift from Plank, Under Armour’s founder and executive chairman, who passed on putting his own name on the facility to instead recognize the two pioneers.
“This is a great day for Maryland Athletics and a great day for the University of Maryland,” Pines said during the program. “Athletics teaches our student-athletes the leadership, resilience and teamwork needed to be global citizens. … That’s what Jones-Hill House will do for our football program.”
The facility completes the athletic portion of the reimagined Cole Field House, which will also integrate academics, research and innovation through centers focused on entrepreneurship and brain and behavior studies. Guests at the event, emceed by former UMD gymnast and sports broadcaster Bonnie Bernstein ’92, got to tour some of its features, including a 24,000-square-foot strength and conditioning area with custom weight racks, a locker room complete with recliners and wireless phone chargers, a state-of-the-art sports medicine space, practice fields, and wall after wall of Maryland pride.
Those amenities helped the Terps prep for tomorrow’s season opener vs. West Virginia and will continue to elevate the program, Head Coach Michael Locksley said.
“What this building does for me is serve as home,” he said. “This building has allowed me to keep these kids around me. And by being around them and getting to know them, you get to develop trust. It makes it easy for them to go out and fight for 60 minutes for the name on the front of their jersey.”
Besides introducing that new home, tonight’s ceremony also unveiled another way UMD is honoring its past. Thirteen trailblazing Terps—including Dottie McKnight, UMD women’s basketball’s first coach at the varsity level; Jason Williams ’66, the first Black diver at Maryland and in the ACC; and Sandy Worth ’73, the first female head athletic trainer in the ACC—will now make up Game Changers Row, a permanent display in Jones-Hill House.
“We are making a statement—a statement about our values. A statement loud and proud about social justice,” Athletic Director Damon Evans said. “This moment, right here, right now—dedicating an incredible new facility honoring some significant individuals and athletic trailblazers and groundbreakers—is an undeniable highlight of my career.”
A special guest, who joined by way of a letter, echoed that sentiment: Pines read a message from former President Barack Obama, who congratulated Pines, Plank and UMD on the Jones-Hill House opening.
“I do believe this small gesture of a name will make a difference. It’ll start a conversation,” Plank said as the program came to a close. “To quote President Obama, ‘I do hope the young people who walk through these doors will take the time to learn about all the men and women who made it possible for them to do what they do.’”
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