UMBC draws the attention of high-profile figures, notable alumni amid historic NCAA tournament run

The Baltimore Sun

Ahead of UMBC’s next matchup in the men’s basketball NCAA tournament Sunday night, the program and school continued to enjoy high-profile attention unlike any it’s received before.

The No. 16 seed became the first to ever beat a No. 1 seed in the men’s tournament with a 74-54 upset of Virginia on Friday night. National news outlets including ESPN, The New York Times, USA Today and others jumped onto the team and its remarkable story.

UMBC got the attention of some prominent figures in sports as well.

Like plenty of other Terps fans — probably — Maryland alumnus and ESPN broadcaster Scott Van Pelt made clear he’s now rooting for the Retrievers, offering a message of support and encouragement Sunday.

The Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, one of the most successful and highest-paid quarterbacks in recent years, also is joining #RetrieverNation, personally shouting out UMBC guard Joe Sherburne.

Former Ravens safety Ed Reed sent along his best wishes, too.

Even e-sports stars took notice. Ninja, a popular video game streamer who recently made headlines for playing multiplayer shooter Fortnite with rapper Drake and Pittsburgh Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster, wished the team well. (UMBC forward/center Nolan Gerrity also made headlines for referencing that same game.)

Baltimore native and UMBC alumnus Duff Goldman, the Food Network star and Charm City Cakes executive chef, put on a game face for his alma mater.

Another UMBC alumnus, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, posted a photo of himself wearing his old UMBC sweatshirt and grinning from ear to ear on the official surgeon general's Facebook page.

“Who has two thumbs and an un-busted NCAA bracket? This guy!!!” wrote Adams, who attended UMBC in the 1990s.

Adams said he had to make the post about health, so he pointed out some healthy things about UMBC, including its mascot — a Chesapeake Bay retriever — “dogs have been proven to be good for your mental health.”

“Bottom line: UMBC — it's Surgeon General approved,” Adams wrote.

No word yet on whether Lin-Manuel Miranda, of “Hamilton” fame, will jump onboard as well.

The Associated Press contributed to this article with information on Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

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