If there’s something that will definitely be strange in the coming months in College Park, it will be not seeing Jack Heise just about everywhere you turn around.
Heise, who was for decades connected with Maryland’s athletic program, died overnight. And he was the first person Terps coach Ralph Friedgen mentioned at the start of today’s weekly press conference.
“I’m very sad today,” Friedgen said. “I lost a very close friend and a person dear to me. Really one of the all-time supporters of Maryland athletics, Jack Heise passed away today. I’ve known Jack since I was a student here. He would come to practice every Tuesday. I’m going to miss him quite a bit.”
Omnipresent might be the best word to describe Heise, who was just as likely to pop up at a lacrosse game as he was make a road trip for football and basketball (which he did pretty much all the time).
In fact, it was surprising when during camp when he mentioned he wouldn’t be going to California for the season opener. Of course, he was celebrating his wedding anniversary that weekend, so there was a pretty good reason to stay home.
Like Friedgen mentioned, he was a regular at football practice at least once a week, and we’d usually talk about the events of the day as he looked at his crinkled roster and keep an eye on the proceedings. And he was there last Wednesday, spry as ever and paying close attention.
It’s probably as significant a loss for the Maryland basketball program as any part of the department. Both Heise and Bob Novak were regulars on road trips for years, especially during the national championship season. In a span of two months now, both are gone, something I suspect coach Gary Williams will mention during media day next week.