- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Retired Marine Col. Thomas M. Fields, a former track star at the University of Maryland and executive director of its Maryland Educational Foundation, died Sunday at his home in Silver Spring. He was 91.

No official cause of death was given, but Fields had been in ill health since suffering a series of strokes in recent years.

Fields and former Maryland athletic director Jim Kehoe were teammates on Maryland relay teams that won the half-mile, mile and two-mile events at the Penn Relays in 1941. As a senior, he was undefeated in cross-country meets. Fields served in the Marine Corps for 28 years, seeing combat in World War II, Korea and Vietnam before retiring from the service in 1969.

Appointed in 1970 as executive director of the Maryland Educational Foundation, which raises funds for athletics through its Terrapin Club arm, Fields built the organization from 300 members to more than 6,000 before retiring from that post in 1989. Kehoe often cited Fields as a major factor in the Terps’ athletic revival under men’s basketball coach Lefty Driesell and football coach Jerry Claiborne in the early 1970s.

Fields, who was elected to the University of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987, is the third person closely associated with Maryland athletics to die in recent months, following noted political columnist Robert Novak and lawyer Jack Heise. In addition, Kehoe has been battling serious health problems for months.

Fields is survived by his wife, Patricia; four children; and eight grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.