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Rousing applause greets Len Bias' induction into Terps Hall of Fame

Rousing applause greets Len Bias' induction into Terps Hall of Fame

COLLEGE PARK -- For each inductee he introduced Friday night, emcee Chick Hernandez ran through a list of that person's accomplishments at the University of Maryland.

For most who were announced, the 400 people gathered at tables in the Heise Room at the Samuel Riggs Alumni Center would give a standard applause as the inductee was led from the back corner of the room to the front and eventually to their seat.

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But when Hernandez introduced Len Bias, the 400 rose from their seats and clapped for an extended period as members of Bias' family — his parents and two of his siblings — was led to the front of the room.

It took nearly two decades but Bias, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and likely the most talented player in Maryland basketball history, was inducted into Maryland's athletics Hall of Fame on Friday along with seven others.

"It's definitely a special night — way, way overdue," said former Maryland star basketball player Walt Williams, who joined the Terps two years after Bias' death in 1986.

There are still those who say Bias does not belong in the Hall of Fame because of the circumstances surrounding his death. Kevin Glover, who is part of the Hall of Fame selection committee, even acknowledged that there are those among the selection committee who do not think Bias was worthy.

However, the majority of the committee felt it was time for Bias, who Glover referred to as one of Maryland's best athletes ever, to be inducted.

"I haven't been in every meeting," said Glover, who has been on the committee for about four years. "I just know this was the right time. When the vote came in, it proved it was the right time."

Former teammates shared memories. A picture outside the Heise Room showed Bias shooting a jump shot over Michael Jordan when Jordan was at North Carolina.

And Maryland president Wallace Loh addressed Bias' parents near the beginning of a speech, calling it a "great honor" to have Bias in the Hall of Fame and thanking his parents for allowing Bias to be inducted posthumously.

"I think it's well overdue, [but] I think it's special for his family and I think, for the university, to heal," Gatlin said.

Glover informed some of the inductees over the phone. But he knew Len Bias dating back to high school and has known the Bias family for a long time. Glover decided to tell Bias' mother, Lonise, of her son's selection in person.

"We had a very good meeting," Glover said. "We shared some old stories, shared some laughs, some hugs, some emotional times, and I just felt that was the right thing to do."

Lonise Bias and other family members declined to comment on Friday.

Others in attendance included former teammates such as Keith Gatlin, Tony Massenburg and Jeff Baxter as well as others like such as Williams and Terps coach Mark Turgeon.

"The way his life ended was tragic, but he did other things," Williams said. "He was a great player. He gave a community a sense of pride. He made other players behind him want to come here. You look at the players that came after — myself, Jerrod Mustaf, Juan Dixon, Keith Booth — all of those guys would credit some portion of why they came here [to] Len Bias. So his legacy goes on and on. Even to this day, you still hear players talk about him that never saw him play before."

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And now, they can call him a Maryland Hall of Famer.

Other members of this year's Hall of Fame class include Bob Boneillo (men's lacrosse, 1976-80), Edward G. Cooke (men's track & field and football, 1957-59), Maureen "Bean" Scott Dupcak (field hockey and women's lacrosse, 1990-94), Alex Kahoe (women's lacrosse, 1996-00), Debbie Lytle (women's basketball, 1980-83), Sandy Worth (athletic trainer, 1973-present) and Charlie Wysocki (football, 1978-82).

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