In 1963, Darryl Hill sat on Maryland’s team bus as he arrived in North Carolina. As the first Black man to play football at the university and the Atlantic Coast Conference — and the first to receive an athletic scholarship for any sport from any school south of the Mason-Dixon line — he understood the significance of the moment.
Hill saw Confederate flags and guns hanging out of pickup trucks as well as men dressed as members of the Ku Klux Klan.
At Clemson, a Terrapin statue hung from a noose with the head and feet painted black. Meanwhile, Hill’s mom was not allowed into the stadium until former Clemson president Robert C. Edwards invited her to watch the game from his family’s suite. As Hill warmed up on the field, he heard a chorus of boos, which he used as motivation to set the school single-game record with 10 receptions.
Over the past year, the 78-year-old Hill — who transferred to Maryland in 1962 from the Naval Academy, where he was the first Black man to play football — has been honored for his trailblazing efforts. In 2021, Maryland dedicated the Jones-Hill House, the program’s state-of-the-art football facility, to him and former men’s basketball player Billy Jones, who broke the color barrier for basketball in the ACC. And on Tuesday morning, Hill was among six local sports icons to be named to the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
“It’s been a big year,” Hill said during a news conference at the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore. “This was the icing on the cake. I don’t know what to say about this year, except that I will never forget it.”
Hill will be inducted alongside former Maryland basketball star Len Bias, lacrosse legend Dave Cottle, former Negro Leagues baseball star Leon Day, tennis Grand Slam champion Fred McNair IV and former golfer Marty West III. Former Maryland men’s basketball coach Gary Williams will receive the inaugural Coaches Legacy Award, while former Towson men’s lacrosse coach Carl Runk has been named the John F. Steadman Lifetime Achievement Honoree.
The Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame Foundation was established to celebrate Marylanders’ outstanding accomplishments and promote the ideals as well as the traditions of Maryland athletics and athletes. The 61st Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Oct. 13 at Martin’s West in Baltimore.
Bias, one of the best players in Maryland history, played for the Terps from 1982 through 1986 and ranks third in program history in career points (2,149). Bias, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year winner, averaged 16.4 and 5.7 rebounds per game during his career.
As a senior, the 6-foot-8 forward averaged 23.2 points and seven rebounds. Bias was drafted second overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA draft before his tragic death due to cocaine intoxication two days later.
Bias’ mother, Lonise, did not attend the news conference because of an illness.
Day, who grew up in Southwest Baltimore and died in 1995, starred in the Negro Leagues from 1934 to 1952 with the Baltimore Black Sox — whom he joined at 17 — Brooklyn and Newark Eagles, Homestead Grays and Philadelphia Stars. Day, a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, was a nine-time All-Star and threw a no-hitter on opening day in 1946 despite missing two seasons serving in the Army in World War II.
Day’s wife, Geraldine, said she was honored to represent her husband as she understands the rough conditions he and other Negro League players faced. Geraldine said her husband was quiet and never talked to her about baseball.
“We were together for two years before I learned he played baseball,” she said. “One day I walked in the house and he said, ‘Hey baby, I would like to go to Mexico?’ He reached into his pocket and pulled out two tickets and that’s when I learned he played baseball. He was going to Mexico to play in a game where they brought all the guys that played then.”
McNair, a four-time tennis All-American at the University of North Carolina, turned pro in 1973, winning the French Open and Masters Grand Prix among 18 doubles titles. McNair, 72, and Sherwood Stewart were ranked No. 1 in the world in 1975 and 1976.
“This honor, I just give it back to mom and dad,” McNair said. “They’re the ones who provided the environment for me to take an interest in tennis. They were my biggest cheerleaders.”
Cottle was a three-time All-American lacrosse player at Salisbury, recording 179 goals and 123 assists from 1975 to 1978. He spent nearly 30 years coaching lacrosse at Loyola Maryland and Maryland before serving in various roles with the Chesapeake Bayhawks over the past decade before the league merged with the Premier Lacrosse League in 2020. Cottle helped the Bayhawks win Major League Lacrosse championships.
Cottle couldn’t attend the news conference, as he’s dealing with a back issue.
West, 74, qualified for 38 U.S. Golf Association championships, including 19 U.S. amateur championships, and won 26 Maryland State Golf Association championships, two Washington Metro championships, seven Middle Atlantic Golf Association championships and 52 club championships. Last year he was among the first class of inductees in the newly formed Maryland Golf Hall of Fame.
Williams, 77, will receive the coaches award after going 461-252 from 1989 to 2011 with the Terps, guiding them to the 2002 national title. Williams, who was a point guard at Maryland from 1964 to 1967 and was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2014, is the Terps’ all-time winningest men’s basketball coach.
Meanwhile, Runk will be honored for a 31-year lacrosse career at Towson, where he compiled a 261-161 record.
“I was overwhelmed when I received a phone call about the whole thing,” Runk said. “I almost hung up on the gentleman. I can’t recall who it was but I thought it was a prank. It’s an honor.”