Currently over 400 UMBC students are representing UMBC out in the fields, courts or pools. While we focus on all of these skilled athletes of today, it is important to remember those who have represented UMBC in its earlier years back to its beginnings in 1966. By looking back at the accomplishments of previous UMBC athletes, we can see how much UMBC’s athletic program has grown and the milestones UMBC athletes have achieved throughout the years to make the program what it is today. So here are some of UMBC’s best athletes as well as some of their brightest moments across a wide variety of different sports.
UMBC began to shine in athletic achievement since it opened its doors in 1966. Lacrosse athlete Dick Bond was one of UMBC’s first students attending from 1966-1970. He ended up scoring 19 goals for the team in 1970, in the same year he was the school’s first All-American Honorable Mention.
Linda Lyall Sowers was another student who attended UMBC from 1966-1970. Playing three sports for UMBC – the first basketball, volleyball and field hockey teams – was already an accomplishment within itself, but that wasn’t enough. She wanted more for the benefit of the whole school. With sheer determination, Sowers was able to encourage women to join all three programs in order to begin building up UMBC’s athletic recognition in the world of collegiate sports.
The Retriever athletes throughout the mid-late 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s created their own accomplishments worth remembering.
In the mid-late 1970s, UMBC had outstanding gymnasts. Cathy Stocks Beilawski attended the school from 1973-1977 and was so successful in gymnastics that she won every single competition except for one all-around competition her junior year. In both her junior and senior years, she competed in the Eastern Regional Championships for the Retrievers.
Beilawski’s achievements did not go unnoticed. She was deservedly named Outstanding Female Athlete and Outstanding Senior Female Athlete at the end of her UMBC career in 1977.
In 1976, Bill Gerhardt entered UMBC and became a baseball icon. Gerhardt pitched 48 games for the Retrievers and helped the team win 26 of those games. He also managed to get the baseball team to NCAA regional competitions for three of his undergraduate years and got to experience professional baseball afterwards. For one year, he could be spotted playing alongside the Texas Rangers.
From 1981-1985, Michael Sterling attended UMBC as a cross country and track runner. Sterling was known for his consistent honors, including being named the Baltimore Metro Cross Country champion for four seasons in a row and winning eight Mason-Dixon Conference titles. A few years later in the 1980s, Susan Herzog entered UMBC in 1987, graduating in 1989. In her junior and senior years she became the Eastern Intercollegiate champion in two different freestyle events (the 500 and 1650). When she graduated in 1989, she was named UMBC’s Outstanding Athlete that year.
When the majority of today’s Retriever athletes were being welcomed into the world for the first time, volleyball player Lisa Cline was making UMBC history in the mid-1990s. From 1995-1998, the athlete managed to make 1,869 kills throughout her career, which is currently second place in school records. In her senior campaign, the women’s volleyball team made their very first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1998.
Around this time, David Bobb (1994-1997) was showing true national potential in the sport of track and field. He finished third in the United States in two events, the 55 and 200 meters, at the NCAA Indoor Championships when he was a junior. When he became a senior in 1997, he placed second in the 100 meter dash, a monumental time for the university as never before had the winning time belonged to an Olympian from UMBC. He is also UMBC’s most decorated athlete and is the respected head coach of the current track and field team.
The cherry on top for each of these athletes throughout the decades, along with their achievements, was placement into UMBC’s athletic Hall of Fame. Throughout UMBC’s existence, the school has trained excellent athletes and every sport has a Hall of Fame athlete to be inspired by.