An athletic legacy lives on
As part of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s centennial celebration in 2012, the conference named seven University of Maryland Eastern Shore sports legends among its Top 100 Coaches and Athletes.
The UMES contingent included four basketball players, two football players and a coach – all from a 26-year period during the era when the institution was known as Maryland State College.
Maryland State joined what billed itself as the nation’s premier sports conference for historically black institutions during the 1953-54 school year, but Hawk football teams already had “a long list of conquests in the ranks of the CIAA,” according to a Dec. 29, 1953 article in the Philadelphia Tribune
The Tribune reported that Maryland State’s “football and basketball teams have consistently ranked among the best in the nation for the past seven years” and its admission to the CIAA “thus climaxes its emergence from athletic obscurity into the national spotlight.”
Maryland State left the CIAA in 1970 to become a charter member of the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference, a decision driven by a desire to field teams that would be eligible to compete in the top tier of National Collegiate Athletic Association – Division 1.
The list of UMES-CIAA honorees includes:
- #18 - Theopolis "Sonny" Lloyd played basketball for the Hawks from 1953 to 1956 in old Kiah gym (above). The 6-foor-7 forward averaged 23.2 points per game and led his team to its first CIAA championship, scoring 91 points in three games.
- #41 - Vernon "Skip" McCain coached Maryland State football from 1948 to 1963, winning a little more than 80 percent of his games. He was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
- #49 – Henry “Hank” Ford played basketball for Maryland State, but also won 228 games and two CIAA championships as coach at rival Hampton (Va.) University.
- #51 - Jake Ford scored 2,218 points and tallied 609 rebounds during his basketball career, earning honors to two All-CIAA teams and one CIAA Player of the Year award.
- #73 - James "Bones" Morgan set the CIAA record for rebounds in a career with 1,741 that still stood at the conference’s centennial anniversary. He averaged a “double-double” in his career.
- #75 - Art Shell was twice named All-America and was a three-time All-CIAA tackle. He played for the Oakland Raiders and was the coach of the Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs as well as working for the NFL. He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- #78 - Emerson Boozer was a two-time All-American and All-CIAA player in 1964 and 1965 as a running back. Boozer ran for 2,537 yards on 374 carries (6.7 yards-per-carry), scored 22 touchdowns and was a 2010 inductee in the College Football Hall of Fame.
All seven are in the UMES athletics Hall of Fame.