Terripins 1970
(Authentic Reproduction)


By the late-1960’s, it was easy to forget that the University of Maryland football program had been a dominant player on the national landscape until 1956. Legendary coach Jim Tatum who had turned the Oklahoma program around and then did the same at Maryland, posted a winning percentage in excess of eighty percent during his nine seasons in College Park and between 1951 and ’55 posted three undefeated regular seasons in those five years. During the ensuing sixteen seasons, other than a few winning years generated by Tom Nugent, five coaches managed to make a .500 year look almost unattainable. After former Maryland great and first Terps Consensus All American Bob Ward was unsuccessful with a winless 1967 and two-win ’68, and had to quell a public revolt by his players, the school surprisingly hired high school coach Ray Lester. A great athlete at West Virginia, Lester had put time in on the Maryland staff as an assistant in the mid-1950’s, but it was his high school experience and success that made the administration believe he could better relate to the young players and “New Age” mentality they brought to the gridiron with them. Lester’s ’69 mark of 3-7 was deemed acceptable as he attempted to change the emotional tenure of the team and in 1970, vast improvement was expected.

Maryland had traditionally donned red and white jerseys and a white helmet with a gold center stripe and black flanking stripes, reflecting the official colors of the state. Ward, a disciplined, conservative coach, had dressed his teams in red jerseys bereft of trim and all-red helmets. Lester’s 1970 helmet, introduced upon his arrival for the 1969 season, maintained the red shell with the addition of a one-inch white center stripe, and introduced a white, lower case “um” in a thick-style font that stood out to fans in the stands. It was simple, direct, and attractive and Lester hoped that it would be a small addition that would break with the recent past that had left many supporters upset and angry, and many players still with the team from the turbulent 1968 Ward debacle, unhappy with the relationship they had with the coaches. Despite transfer running back Art Seymore rushing for 945 yards, a lack of offensive punch doomed the Terrapins, with the team unable to generate more than eleven points in the majority of their games. The defense was respectable at times, led by All ACC defensive end Guy Roberts of North Babylon, Long Island who later played linebacker for the Oilers, Falcons, and Dolphins, and track star Tony Green who highlighted his 1970 football off-season by defeating Olympian John Carlos in the 60 yard sprint, and remained a consistent performer in the secondary. The 2-9 record however did little to lift spirits or hopes of future success for the faithful. Lester lasted but one more season, another 2-9 disappointment, before Bear Bryant disciple Jerry Claiborne was brought in and ushered in a new era of success.