Tom McMillen Should Stay On University Of Maryland Board Of Regents
Tom McMillen may have been the University of Maryland’s best basketball player in program history.
And that’s just the start.
McMillen became a famed Rhodes Scholar, the school’s only one until last year. He was an NBA player, U.S. Olympian, three-term Congressman and successful businessman.
That is just outrageous.
McMillen is one of Maryland’s greatest alumni, and the university has been lucky to have him serve as a regent since 2007. His sin now is being a Democrat whose term expires June 30, with a Republican governor looking to put one of his people on the board.
This isn’t badmouthing McMillen’s replacement, Robert Neall, a former Republican legislator whose resume is worthy of the board, but replacing McMillen smells of bad politics taking out a good man.
One of the problems now plaguing Maryland is the fact that university president Wallace Loh and athletic director Kevin Anderson are not locals. It’s a great job, but just a job before they move on to another. However, their decision to move the Terps from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten for money was a gut-wrenching move for many alumni, like myself. Sure, it was about money, but money comes and goes. Legacies last lifetimes, and it was ripped away without any real public discussion.
McMillen was the only regent who opposed rubber stamping the conference move. He wanted to at least talk about it rather than watch Loh strong-arm past many regents who know or care little about sports.
And that’s where McMillen probably lost his chance for receiving another five-year term. That and being a longtime Democrat when a Republican governor wants to make his mark on the board.
My favorite story about former Maryland basketball head coach Lefty Driesell involves recruiting McMillen in 1970. The 6-foot-11 center from Elmira, N.Y., was considering Duke instead of Maryland because the former’s library contained more books than the Terps’ 1.4 million. Driesell countered that when McMillen read all the books on the College Park, Md., campus, he would buy him some more.
McMillen went on to play with Len Elmore and John Lucas from 1971-74 with the best Terps teams in program history, aside from the 2001-02 national championship team. The 1970s teams probably would have beaten that national championship team.
McMillen was the epitome of a student-athlete, who was great at both and continued that attitude as a regent. He chairs the regents’ committee that monitors athletics and led a measure denying bonuses to coaches whose students don’t meet academic standards. Ironically, McMillen will be honored for his work as a regent by National Association of Corporate Directors March 19. Here’s to guessing Hogan won’t be attending.