Maryland to Honor Darryl Hill
Oct. 16, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland department of athletics will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Darryl Hill becoming the first African-American player to play at the University of Maryland and in the Atlantic Coast Conference when the Terrapins take on NC State Saturday afternoon.
Hill, who transferred to Maryland in 1962, sat out one year and broke the color barrier in 1963. His first home game was against NC State in College Park. Hill was also the first African-American to play at Gonzaga High School and the Naval Academy.
Director of athletics Kevin Anderson, head coach Randy Edsall and Hill held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to talk about Hill's achievements. In addition to members of the media, Hill's former teammates Joe Mona, Bob Everd, John Langton and Tom Rae were on hand.
"This is a very special time for me because if it wasn't for pioneers like Darryl, I wouldn't be sitting in this chair today," said Anderson. "There are many people in this room, outside of this room and that play on this football team that have that deep appreciation for someone like Darryl in terms of what he did in trying times and becoming the man we all know. Darryl's success isn't only on the football field but in business and he was a very good student as well.
"Not too many people live a lifetime and display the kind of courage Darryl has demonstrated not only at that time but throughout life and where he is today. We all have a strong appreciation for him."
Hill emerged as Maryland's top wide receiver in 1963, finishing with 43 receptions, only three short of the school record at the time. Hill's seven touchdown receptions that year are tied for the fifth most in a single season in school history.
"Maryland took the lead in the nation in terms of taking the walls of segregation down from sports," said Hill. "Before Maryland brought me here and if you were black and you lived in the south, you could not play for your home team. When I came along I was the first varsity athlete to receive a scholarship in any sport at any major university in the south. So it was a big deal. Things changed. The good thing is they changed rapidly.
"My career here was a memorable career and one I'll never forget."
Hill played with the New York Jets for a short period before returning to school and earning a master's degree from Southern Illinois. He has started businesses in China, Russia as well as the Pacific Energy Corporation. He also returned to Maryland for a period to serve as a Maryland's director of major gifts.
"From a coach's perspective, one of the things that you always tell your players is to believe in who you are and have a belief in things you want to get done but also be a leader and blaze a trail where no one else has gone," said Edsall. "Here's Darryl who is that person who stood out here for Maryland and the ACC and to know he blazed that trail for other people to have the opportunities to go to school in the ACC and play football and get a great education is something that goes down in history. As the head football coach at Maryland, it's great to have him as part of the family. That he can teach our guys and talk to our guys about what he did is very significant."
Hill will be honored on the field after the first quarter of Saturday's game vs. NC State.