John E. Faber, a legendary University of Maryland sports figure who coached the men's lacrosse team to nine national championships, died of pneumonia at the Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring on Friday. He was 91.
Perhaps best-known for his lacrosse successes in a 35-year career as coach, Mr. Faber's accomplishments at College Park transcended the athletic field.
He was a University of Maryland student -- earning bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees there. During his coaching years, he taught microbiology. In 1945, he was named head of the university's Department of Microbiology, a position he held for 24 years.
Long after retiring in 1963 at College Park, Mr. Faber still could be found in the stands cheering for the lacrosse, football and basketball teams. The last game he attended was the Maryland men's basketball team's defeat by North Carolina, 75-70, on Jan. 8. He caught a cold a few days later that led to pneumonia.
"He stayed active almost until the day he died," said Joe Blair, College Park's assistant sports information director.
"He was tough," Mr. Blair said. "Great discipline on and off the field. He's one of the all-time contributors to the glory, growth and reputation of the University of Maryland."
Over his career, Mr. Faber's lacrosse-coaching record was 249 victories and 57 losses.
From 1928 to 1963, Mr. Faber's coaching highlights included seven runner-up finishes for national titles and eight Atlantic Coast Conference championships.
Mr. Faber was faculty chairman of the University Athletic Council and, for two terms, was president of the ACC, which was formed in 1953.
A former player, longtime coaching colleague and close friend remembered Mr. Faber fondly yesterday. "I used to call him 'The Hawk' because you could never get anything by him," said William "Sully" Krouse, who played football and lacrosse under Mr. Faber before beginning his own 31-year career as UM wrestling coach.
"He really cheered me on as a player and as a coach," Mr. Krouse said. "He also was a very tough microbiology professor, and believe me, never let anyone, even if you were an athlete, slide by."
Born in Washington, D.C., Mr. Faber attended Central High School there. In 1926, he graduated at College Park with a master's degree in science and was awarded a doctorate in bacteriology in 1937. Between degrees, he taught bacteriology and coached. He joined the Army in 1942 and served three years at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
He is survived by a brother, retired Col. S. Parker Faber, of Indian Harbour, Fla. Mr. Faber's wife of 62 years, Olyure, died in 1992.
Services are scheduled for 3 p.m. tomorrow at the College Park )) campus' Memorial Chapel. A burial at Arlington National Cemetery will follow. The university suggested that memorial donations could be made to the Jack Faber Fund, University of Maryland Development, Lee Building, College Park 20741-0295.