COLLEGE PARK — Darryl Hill didn't set out to make history. The Atlantic Coast Conference's first African-American football player said Tuesday that he was a "reluctant pioneer."
But as the former Maryland wide receiver's college career unfolded in the early 1960s, he and his family were victimized by racism.
The more Hill was taunted by fans, the more he said he became invested in the cause.
"When I started seeing … the horrors that were going on in the South, I got more and more motivated," said Hill, who was invited to campus Tuesday to mark the 50th anniversary of his arrival at the school in 1962.
"I, by far, had my best games in the South," Hill said. "When they shut my mother out at Clemson and wouldn't let her into the stadium, I set an ACC single-game pass-catching record that stood until Jermaine Lewis changed it 30 years later. "
Hill transferred to Maryland from Navy. He played his first game for the Terps in 1963 against N.C. State. Tuesday's ceremony was timed to coincide with Maryland's homecoming game against the Wolfpack on Saturday.
Hill was joined by Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson and football coach Randy Edsall.
"If it wasn't for pioneers like Darryl, I wouldn't be sitting in this chair today," said Anderson, who is an African-American.
Hill was also accompanied by four of his former Maryland teammates — Tom Rae, John Langton, Joe Mona and Bob Everd.
"What surprised me back then was how difficult it was for Darryl on campus," Langton said. "Maryland was still a borderline state."