Press release shared from Maryland Athletics
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Jones-Hill House, Home of Maryland Football, was officially dedicated on Friday night at a ceremony held inside the state-of-the-art facility, which is part of the Cole Field House project. The two trailblazers of whom the venue is named after, Billy Jones and Darryl Hill, were recognized along with Kevin Plank, the founder and Executive Chairman of Under Armour. A commemorative banner was unfurled to signify the official dedication.
Jones broke the color barrier in basketball at Maryland and the ACC in 1965 and Hill was the first Black student-athlete to play football at Maryland and in the ACC in 1963.
In addition to Jones and Hill being honored, Maryland also unveiled Game Changers Row, which recognizes trailblazers who have broken barriers and opened doors -- especially student-athletes and staff members - who has contributed to the diverse and rich history of Maryland Athletics.
“Today we celebrate the opening of Jones-Hill House, a home for Maryland Football, but this is just the first stage in the realization of our vision for Cole Field House,” said University of Maryland President Dr. Darryll J. Pines. “Before we are done, this facility will be part of an interconnected and interdisciplinary complex that will include an entrepreneurship center for all Maryland students and a research institute that will study brain and behavior. Together, these elements will create a living laboratory, where the disciplines of sports medicine, kinesiology, health and human performance and others all come together to discover new knowledge and improve human lives.
“In today’s interconnected world, we must all learn to appreciate our differences, respect differing perspectives, and embrace the incredible diversity of humankind. I believe society needs to change in this regard...and what better place than a university to lead that change. Indeed...it is our obligation to lead that change. At the time I announced that goal, I did not yet know that this facility might help further that mission.”
The entire Cole Field House project -- which will include a research wing and entrepreneurship center in the future -- would not have been possible without the support of donors -- notably a generous leadership gift from Plank. The former Maryland football special teams captain made this honorific naming possible. It was his idea to forego the opportunity to put his own name on this facility to honor these two trailblazers. That kind of visionary leadership and selflessness demonstrates Plank’s deep commitment not just to his alma mater, but to social justice.
“I do believe the gesture of naming this facility Jones-Hill House, for two trailblazers, I do believe it will make a difference, it will start the conversation, it will be a healthy conversation,” said Plank. “The entrepreneurship center and research institute will be first-class and I have no doubt it will serve as one of our major superpowers at Maryland, differentiating us and reminding all that contemplate Maryland, why we are special. This facility combines my love and passions. My love of Maryland football and my love of entrepreneurship. This is one fine house.”
Jones-Hill House, which opened in June, is the Terrapins’ new football performance center, and the new home for football operations - including coaching offices, team meeting spaces, locker room, and dining facility - and indoor and outdoor football practice fields. The world-class facility also features world-class strength, conditioning, and hydrotherapy facilities, advanced physical assessment, and diagnostic technology and embraces a holistic performance approach, including career and nutrition support.
“Jones-Hill House means so much more than square footage and glass and fancy finishes,” said Maryland Athletics Director Damon Evans. “This place embodies the future of Maryland Football. It’s an investment in the success of our student-athletes and in our coaches. It’s a symbol of what Maryland Football will be -- and that’s excellence in every way. This moment, dedicating an incredible new facility, honoring trailblazers and groundbreakers -- is an undeniable highlight of my career.”
Jones debuted for the Terps on December 1, 1965, against Penn State, becoming the first Black men’s basketball scholarship player to play in a game with the Terps. He served as a team captain in his senior year of 1967-68. Jones went on to be an assistant coach at American, UC-Santa Barbara and Stanford and head coach at UMBC for 12 seasons. Following his coaching career, he went to work in human resources at Lockheed and Tupperware and as a manager for cast services at Walt Disney World for 15 years before retiring in 2011.
Hill first played for the Terrapins in 1963 as he set Maryland’s then-single-game record for receptions with 10 against Clemson, set an ACC season-record for touchdown catches with seven and threatened the school’s single-season record for receptions with 47 that season. Hill spent time with the New York Jets in the NFL before beginning his post-playing career. Hill has been a successful businessman and entrepreneur for decades in addition to serving as Director of Major Gifts for the Terrapin Club at Maryland from 2003-09. He is also on the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
Game Changers Row features the following individuals, in addition to Jones and Hill:
Jane Connolly, one of first two women to be awarded an athletic scholarship at the University of Maryland. Connolly received that scholarship prior to the 1976-77 season in women’s basketball.
The late Paula Girven, was the first Black woman to receive a scholarship at Maryland, in becoming one of the first two females to receive a scholarship, in track and field.
Robbie Rogers, who starred with Maryland men’s soccer, became the first openly gay man to compete in a major North American professional sports league when he played his first match for the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer in 2013.
Kristi Toliver, who helped lead the Maryland’s women's basketball team to a national championship in 2006, became the fourth woman ever named to an NBA coaching staff in 2018.
The first two women’s head coaches in Maryland Athletics history, Dottie McKnight and Barb Drum. McKnight was the first varsity field hockey and women’s basketball coach at Maryland in 1971. Drum was hired as Maryland’s first head volleyball coach in 1971 and served in the position until 1988, spanning 17 years.
James ‘Jason’ Williams, who became the first Black athlete to compete in a collegiate event at the University of Maryland as he was a diver on the Terps’ swimming and diving team in 1962-63.
Elmore Hunter, who became the first Black man to compete in Track and Field in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while at Maryland during the 1964-65 academic year.
Debbie Yow, who was the first woman to be named an Athletic Director in the Atlantic Coast Conference when she was hired at the University of Maryland in August 1994.
Sandy Worth, who became the first woman to serve as the Head Athletic Trainer at an Atlantic Coast Conference school, when she was promoted to the position in 1992.
Betty Smith, who was Maryland’s first woman to serve as faculty athletic representative in the Atlantic Coast Conference and did so for 11 years.
The Texas Western University men’s basketball team, which won the 1966 NCAA Championship at Cole Field House with five Black starters, defeating Kentucky.