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It is the end of March, which means March Madness and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is in full swing! The first NCAA tournament occurred in 1939 with eight teams competing for the championship. The first time a University of Maryland team appeared in the tournament was 1958. The 1958 team was composed of players from the University of Maryland, College Park. The University of Maryland, Baltimore has never had a basketball team in the NCAA tournament; however, UMB has produced a championship Basketball team.
In the fall of 1904, the University of Maryland, Baltimore formed it’s first Basketball team to compete in the inaugural season of the Southern Intercollegiate Basket Ball League. The league failed but the UMB basketball team flourished. The team was managed by Roscoe C. Carnal and captained by William W. Hala, both from the School of Medicine Class of 1905. Other players included Henry Blank, William Landon Brent, and Samuel Luther Bare, School of Medicine Class of 1905; Paul B.H. Smith, School of Medicine Class of 1906; Harry Young Righton, School of Medicine Class of 1907; H.L. Thompson, School of Dentistry Class of 1907; William James F. Barton and John Clarence Allen, School of Dentistry Class of 1905; and J. Knox Insley, School of Medicine Class of 1908.
After the failure of the Intercollegiate League, an agreement was made with the Johns Hopkins University Basketball team to play a series of three games for a Maryland State Championship. The first game was played January 21, 1905 at Hopkin’s court with the home team winning 20 to 8. According to the 1905 Terra Mariae yearbook the University of Maryland team suffered from a lack of understanding of the new rules of play.
In 1905 the game of Basketball was still in it’s infancy having only been created by James Naismith in December 1891 at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith, a teacher at the school, was looking for a way to keep his students active indoors during the cold winter months and created the new game. The first official basketball game occurred in Albany, New York on January 20, 1892. In the following years, the game grew in popularity and spread across the states. By 1895 the first intercollegiate games occurred and in 1898 the National Basketball League formed. In 1901 larger colleges and universities across the states had basketball teams. Rules and regulations were still being created and modified when UMB’s team was formed in 1904, resulting in the unfamiliarity of the rules during the first JHU game in January 1905.
The second game in the Maryland State Championship series versus Hopkins was played February 22, 1905. In this game the University of Maryland team prevailed by a score of 28 to 21 setting the stage for the third and final meeting. On March 2, 1905, the final game was played. With a score of 31 to 11, UMB took the State Championship in its first year of existence!
Unfortunately, after such a strong start, subsequent teams had less success and struggled to put together consistent teams or winning seasons because of a lack of financial support by the University, little enthusiasm of faculty and students, and absence of a University gym. However, newspaper and newsletter articles as well as the Yearbooks indicate that UMB Basketball existed on and off until the campus combined with the Maryland Agricultural College, today’s University of Maryland, College Park, in 1920.
- 1905 Terra Mariae Yearbook: http://hdl.handle.net/10713/2454
- “Hopkins Downed Again.” The Sun (1837-1995); Mar 3, 1905; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Baltimore Sun, pg. 9.
- “Hopkins Ready For U. Of M.” The Sun (1837-1995); Jan 21, 1905; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Baltimore Sun, pg. 9.
- “U. of M. Downs Hopkins.” The Sun (1837-1995); Feb 23, 1905; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Baltimore Sun, pg. 9.
- Old Maryland 1905-1906: http://hdl.handle.net/10713/472
- Cordell, Eugene F. (1907) University of Maryland, 1807-1907, its history, influence, equipment and characteristics, with biographical sketches and portraits of its founders, benefactors, regents, faculty and alumni. Available at: http://hdl.handle.net/10713/12583