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Tunnel Vision

New Team Entrance Honors Longtime Supporter of Maryland Athletics

By Liam Farrell

The turtle-shell-shaped Butler tunnel at Maryland Stadium lights up red

Photos by John T. Consoli

Terp athletes have a new way to enter Maryland Stadium with a shell-shaped tunnel named for Mark Butler, longtime fan and supporter of Maryland Athletics. Butler (below), president and CEO of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, walks onto the field with his grandchildren, Ryder and Reagan, before last month's Penn State game.

As a longtime fan and supporter of Maryland Athletics, Mark Butler always looks forward to seeing the Terps run onto the court or field.

That pregame tradition now has extra meaning as he watches players enter Maryland Stadium through a new, turtle-shaped tunnel that bears his name.

“We all wanted it to be that special, iconic point,” Butler said.

Butler, president and CEO of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and a member of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation Board of Trustees, grew up in Pennsylvania. In 1982, he became a co-founder of the discount retail chain, which now includes more than 300 stores.

Mark Butler walks on the football field with his grandchildrenThe passion and pride of ACC basketball back then captured his imagination, and it didn’t take many trips to Cole Field House before his allegiance shifted from the North Carolina Tar Heels to the Terps.

“There was no other sports feeling like being in Cole Field House for a Duke game,” he said.

The tunnel was named in recognition of Butler’s $5 million gift for the Cole Field House project. While Cole will eventually have upgraded athletic amenities such as indoor and outdoor practice fields, new weight and locker rooms, dining facilities and a sports medicine area, Butler was impressed with its broader applications. 

In addition to spaces for innovation and entrepreneurship, a new Center for Brain Health and Human Performance will mark the latest collaboration between UMD and the University of Maryland, Baltimore through research on everything from cancer and age-related cognitive decline to DNA sequencing. 

“The entire student body will be able to benefit,” he said.



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