From 1955 to 2002 Cole Field House served as the home building for both Maryland basketball programs, with the teams moving to their current home (the Xfinity Center) after the conclusion of the 2001-02 season. Since then the school has used Cole Field House in a variety of ways, and according to a report Friday the school could be considering more changes for the historic building.
According to Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun, with the football program needing an indoor practice facility Cole Field House could be converted into one. This is only up for consideration at this time, with the school needing to not only finalize plans should they take this course of action but also get said plans approved by the school’s Board of Regents.
Former men’s basketball coach Gary Williams alluded to the possibility of Cole’s conversion after taking on a new fundraising role in September.
“If we go there, it keeps it in athletics as long as it’s called Cole Field House,” Williams said at the time. “People know Cole Field House — people who’ve been a part of basketball, not just Maryland basketball. Right now, nobody has heard much of Cole since we moved out to Comcast Center [in 2002]. That would bring Cole back into the mix.”
According to the report if Maryland were to go reconfigure Cole the school would do so while preserving the history of the building, which hosted a historic Final Four in 1966 (Texas Western’s win over Kentucky). Maryland also held its annual Maryland Madness event at Cole last year, celebrating the tradition begun by former head coach Lefty Driesell in 1971.
After returning to Cole Field House for the program’s midnight madness-style event on Friday night, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon discussed the possibility of the Terrapins playing a regular season game at their old home. Now playing their home game at the Comcast Center, Maryland called Cole home from 1955 to 2002.
Who knows if the folks at Maryland will ultimately play a game at Cole, as there’s a need to make sure the arena is up to code before they’re able to do so. But if those renovations are made, there’s another possible game that should be considered for the old building.
On Wednesday UTEP head coach Tim Floyd announced that a plan is in the works to have the Miners take on Kentucky in 2016, fifty years after UTEP’s historic victory over the Wildcats in the national title game at Cole.
Known as Texas Western back in 1966, the Miners were the first national champion to have an all-black starting lineup and they won the crown against a program that had yet to integrate. The Miners’ victory was a watershed moment for both sports and American society as a whole, with the result changing the course of college basketball.
2016 is a long ways away, especially in the world of non-conference scheduling, so there’s always the chances that things could change. But hopefully this game will take place, as it can be a good learning experience for all involved. And three years could be the amount of time needed for the folks at Maryland to spruce up Cole Field House. While the primary reason for that would clearly be to benefit Maryland, it would be nice to see the Miners and Wildcats meet in the building where the original contest took place.
The 2013-2014 season will be Maryland’s last as a member of the ACC, and as a way to pay homage to their history in the conference, the Terps will be holding their Midnight Madness celebration in Cole Field House, the arena that Maryland called home from 1955-2002.
“Cole Field House represented many of the most iconic and memorable moments in Maryland basketball program history,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said in a statement. “Cole was host to multiple hall of fame coaches and countless All-Americans that helped make Maryland basketball what it is today. It will be a special evening for our fans, students, alumni and our university as we reconnect with the historic past of Cole Field House and Maryland basketball.”
Cole Field House had one of the best home court environments in the country when Maryland played there. Six times, the Terps upset the No. 1 team in the country in Cole. The last time came in February of 2002, when the Terps knocked off Duke in the Blue Devil’s final visit. It was a game made famous by this play:
Maryland moved to the Comcast Center the following season, but it was a move that came with mixed emotions. Cole Field House is small and cramped, which made it loud and hot and a nightmare for visiting teams given the ruthless vulgarity of the Maryland student section.
The Midnight Madness event will take place on Friday, October 18th, at 5:30 p.m.