Eight Alums, One Coach to Be Inducted in November Ceremony
From left, Sasho Cirovski, Keli Smith-Puzo, Crystal Langhorne, Steve Blake, Maurice Edu, D'Qwell Jackson, Erin Taylor Blount, Paula Infante and Rick Badanjek were selected as the Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Former Olympians, NFL and NBA and WNBA players, and first-team All Americans are among the members of Maryland Athletics’ 2021 Hall of Fame inductees, announced by the department and the M Club on Tuesday.
Along with current University of Maryland men’s soccer Coach Sasho Cirovski, the class includes eight alums: Rick Badanjek ’85 (football), Steve Blake ’03 (men’s basketball), Maurice Edu ’06 (men’s soccer), Paula Infante ’08 (field hockey), D’Qwell Jackson ’05 (football), Crystal Langhorne ’08 (women’s basketball), Keli Smith-Puzo ’01 (field hockey) and Erin Taylor Blount ’97 (women’s soccer).
“This is a tremendous class of Hall of Famers who have made an undeniable impact on Maryland Athletics both on and off the field,” said Director of Athletics Damon Evans. “We’re looking forward to celebrating this outstanding class and recognizing their academic and athletic achievements.”
Founded in 1982 by the M Club and developed as a collaborative effort with the athletic department, the Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame pays tribute to Terp athletes, coaches and administrators who have made major contributions to UMD and have continued to demonstrate the positive values taught by intercollegiate sports. Induction represents the highest athletic honor the university can bestow.
“The M Club is thrilled to finally announce this distinguished group of Hall of Fame inductees,” said M Club Executive Director and Director of Alumni Engagement Laura Chiriaco. “We are in awe of their exceptional athletic achievements, and we’re grateful to them for sharing their gifts with the Maryland Athletics family.”
The M Club will also present Honorary M Awards to Kirk D. Bell ’88, Marcos Bronfman ’81, Susan Wilkes ’83 and John McNamara ’83 (posthumously) for their longtime dedication to Maryland Athletics. Kevin Kearns ’75 will be honored as Distinguished Citizen of the Year in recognition of his 40 years of unwavering service to Maryland student-athletes.
Before the induction ceremony on Nov. 19, get to know the nine honorees:
Rick Badanjek - Football
Badanjek’s 44 rushing touchdowns are the most ever for a Terp, and his 46 touchdowns are also a school record. He ranks eighth at Maryland in career rushing yards with 2,417, and he rushed for 90 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns en route to being named the most valuable player of the 1984 Sun Bowl, in which UMD defeated Tennessee 28-27. Badanjek went on to play three seasons in the NFL with Washington and Atlanta.
Steve Blake - Men’s Basketball
One of the most decorated players in Maryland men’s basketball history, Blake helped lead the program to its first and only NCAA championship in 2002. Blake is UMD’s only four-time all-conference selection and remains the school’s all-time leader in career assists, single-season assists and career starts. He was selected with the 38th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft and went on to play 13 seasons for eight different teams.
Sasho Cirovski - Men’s Soccer Coach
Maryland men’s soccer’s all-time winningest coach, Cirovski has captured three national championships (2005, 2008 and 2018), advanced to the NCAA tournament 26 times, made nine College Cups and won 14 conference titles. He is also one of just six coaches to win 400 matches at a single Division I program. Cirovski has turned Maryland into the preeminent producer of professional soccer talent among college teams in the United States: Terps have participated in three consecutive FIFA World Cups, and 14 Terps have earned caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team. He has developed 49 MLS SuperDraft picks and seven MLS homegrown signings.
Maurice Edu - Men’s Soccer
Edu was a key cog in the Terps’ run to a national championship in 2005 as a second-team All-ACC selection before earning first-team All-American honors in 2006. He was selected as the No. 1 pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, won MLS Rookie of the Year and played in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. A veteran of 46 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Edu was selected for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and made three appearances. He played for clubs in the top leagues of England, Scotland and Turkey and participated in the UEFA Champions League. He is now a television analyst for Fox Sports, CBS Sports and Atlanta United.
Paula Infante - Field Hockey
Infante was a four-time First Team All-American, and she won the Honda Sports Award as the nation’s top player in 2005 and 2006. She led the Terps to back-to-back NCAA titles in her junior and senior seasons, and her 58 career goals are No. 9 on the Terps’ all-time list. Infante was captain of the Chilean National Team.
D'Qwell Jackson - Football
Jackson, a two-time All-American (2004-05) and three-time All-ACC selection (2003-05), is one of the most decorated Terps to play on the defensive side of the ball. He led Maryland in tackles from 2003-05 and ranks fourth in school history with 447 career tackles. Jackson capped his Terps career by winning the 2005 ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. He went on to play 11 years in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Browns, and he was a 2014 Pro Bowl selection.
Crystal Langhorne - Women’s Basketball
Langhorne will forever be in the rafters of the Xfinity Center after leading the Terps to the 2006 NCAA championship. She was one of Head Coach Brenda Frese’s first top recruits, helping get the program back to the top of the national stage. Langhorne was named ACC Player of the Year, ACC Scholar Athlete of the Year and ACC Freshman of the Year and was a three-time All-American. She is second in the Maryland record books with 2,247 career points and 1,229 rebounds. She still holds the program record with her 65.2% field goal percentage. Langhorne was drafted sixth overall by the Washington Mystics, won two WNBA titles and was a two-time All-Star.
Keli Smith-Puzo - Field Hockey
A two-time Olympian and three-time all-American at Maryland, Smith-Puzo is one of the all-time greats of the Maryland field hockey program. She helped lead the Terps to the 1999 NCAA title and earned three All-ACC honors, and she helped Maryland win three ACC titles. Smith-Puzo competed for the U.S. National Team in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, and she earned 173 international caps with the U.S. National Team.
Erin Taylor Blount - Women’s Soccer
The story of Maryland women’s soccer cannot be written without super sweeper Taylor. She became the program’s first and only United Soccer First Team All-American and ACC Player of the Year after a sensational senior season in 1996. The defender was a three-time United Soccer Coaches All-Region honoree (1994-96), three-time All-ACC selection (1994-96) and two-time All-ACC Tournament choice (1994-95). She recorded 12 career goals and five assists while helping Maryland to its two winningest seasons in program history, with 18 and 19 wins in 1995 and 1996, respectively. She was also a U.S. Women’s National Team pool player in 1997, and assistant women's soccer coach at Ohio State University from 1998-2001.
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