Mary Gossett, who along with her husband, Barry, was a constant presence at Maryland athletic events for nearly a half-century and longtime donor to the athletic department and university, died Monday, the university announced.
Calling her “a gracious presence and fervent supporter,” university president Wallace D. Loh said in a statement, “Mary's passing brings great sadness to this campus and to the many lives she touched. … We will miss Mary deeply.”
The Gossetts, whose names adorn the football team house that their $10 million donation helped build, recently committed another $21.25 million for the creation of a Center for Academic and Personal Excellence for the school’s student-athletes.
Interim football coach Matt Canada opened his Tuesday news conference with words about Mary Gossett.
“Our thoughts are with the Gossett family,” Canada said. “The loss of Maryland is certainly something that is a tremendous loss for our entire university and for our program. ... Another grieving situation. She loved Maryland football, and she loved our players.”
In a statement, athletic director Damon Evans said: “We are overcome with sadness to learn of the passing of Mary Gossett. Mary has been ingrained in the fabric of the University of Maryland and our athletic department for more than 45 years, bettering the lives of generations of student-athletes through her larger-than-life spirit and selfless generosity. While we will no longer stand witness to Mary cheering our student-athletes from the sidelines, her impact will be felt for years to come.”
The Gossetts have been members of the Terrapin Club since 1971 and regularly traveled together to road games and postseason tournaments for the Terps.
“It’s a sad day for the entire University of Maryland community,” former Maryland quarterback and color analyst Scott McBrien said. I was fortunate enough to have gotten to know Mary Gossett during my time at Maryland. I will always remember Mary as the First Lady of Maryland Football.”
McBrien said the image of Mary Gossett that will remain was her giving encouragement to the football team as it was departing the team hotel for a game.
“When I picture Mary, I picture her passing out hugs and words of encouragement on road trips, in hotel lobbys before games, wearing a gold turtle pinned to her red sweater,” he said.
Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach Gary Williams, who said in a statement that he was "incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Mary Gossett,” has his own memory of the Gossetts sitting in their regular seats along the baseline.
“I know Mary was a big basketball fan, and that she loved our basketball team,” Williams said. “She sat right on the baseline near our bench, and was always there to help make sure the refs were ‘under control.’ Mary was always there for our University, and her and Barry’s contributions to Maryland have made a difference in the lives of so many student-athletes.”
According to a release from the university, the Gossetts have also supported many other parts of the school, including the A. James Clark School of Engineering, Robert H. Smith School of Business, Department of Physics, University Libraries, Jiménez-Porter Writers House and Omicron Delta Kappa honor society.
Mary Gossett’s passing comes a few days before the Terps are scheduled to play their 2018 football home opener against Temple on Saturday, where a moment of silence has been planned to honor the memory of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who died June 13 after suffering heatstroke a little over two weeks earlier.