Other Clarence Thomas courted Morgan success

Bill Tanton *

October 17, 1991|By Bill Tanton

Clarence Thomas has been a familiar name at Morgan State for more than a decade.

Oh, not the Clarence Thomas who was confirmed this week as a new Supreme Court justice.

Morgan had a football coach named Clarence Thomas from 1978 through 1980. He was a pretty good coach, too.

In fact, Morgan -- which is winless this season -- hasn't had a winning season in football since Clarence Thomas left. His '79 Bears were 9-2 and won the Mid-Eastern Conference championship. Thomas' overall record there was 17-15-1.

In light of Morgan's long-running difficulty in rediscovering the winning formula in football, Clarence Thomas, now the head coach at Cal Poly Pomona, is well remembered on Hillen Road.

Meanwhile, first-year coach Ricky Diggs will be in search of his first victory at Morgan when the Bears play Virginia Union at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hughes Stadium.

This will be homecoming for Morgan and Union is a strong 5-1, which is hardly the kind of matchup a win-starved team would choose with the old grads coming back. Many of them will remember when Morgan was winning with Clarence Thomas.

* "With Maryland," says Baltimorean George Litz, a University of Maryland alumnus, "it's always next year."

That, sadly, is true.

Maryland is 1-4 and once again Terps followers are beginning to look to next season, although neither coach Joe Krivak nor his players can do that. They will play at 1-4 Wake Forest Saturday.

"Somebody," says Krivak, "is going to walk out of Groves Stadium at 4 o'clock Saturday afternoon with a smile on his face."

Krivak smiles little these days, naturally. He is disappointed with himself for having gotten testy with a caller to a talk show this week who asked him why Bobby Ross is able to build a winner at Georgia Tech while Joe is losing here.

Part of the answer is that Ross is the college football Coach of the Year. A larger part is that every school has a different situation -- different problems, different negatives.

Maryland has been five years recovering from the Len Bias tragedy and the traumatic events that followed.

Last year Krivak, in the final year of his contract, was perceived as a lame-duck coach. That made it almost impossible for him to recruit -- especially quarterbacks, who want to go with a coach they'll be with for four or five years.

At the end of last season, Krivak was given a four-year contract. That changed everything. This year he could have recruited 10 quarterbacks. One freshman QB he did get, Scott Milanovich, is said to be exceptional. He hasn't played yet. Unless he's absolutely needed, he'll be redshirted. But we'll see him.

Next year.

* Everyone expects Maryland basketball to be better this winter in coach Gary Williams' third year on the job -- and the last year of NCAA sanctions against the school. But the biggest improvement at College Park could be in women's basketball.

Coach Chris Weller has four starters returning, but here's the rub: She may have five new starters in her lineup this year. That's how successful her recruiting efforts have been.

Weller's Terps are ranked No. 15 in the country. Last year they were unranked.

* A possible insight to the feeling of Baltimore football fans regarding the NFL was revealed last Sunday at the 35th reunion of City College's class of 1956.

"We had 100 guys at the reunion," says Lance Holden. "All of us were Colt fanatics back in the old days. We had season tickets. Went to every game, year after year. We knew every player.

"But I didn't hear one person mention pro football all day at the reunion -- and we were together right at the time the NFL games were being played."

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