We love Rutgers. Why? Lots of reasons, personal, professional, emotional. But the people we play, their fans, love their schools, too. Why? Each week we’ve been telling their story. And here we are, the end of the season. Today with go with this week’s opponent, the University of Maryland, our partners in joining the Big Ten. And we look to Terp alum Dan DeSantis, to do the honors.
OTB: Why do you love Maryland?
Dan: I grew up in NJ in the suburbs and Maryland is in many ways similar. Plus I've really enjoyed getting to explore two major cities that are within 30 minutes of each other (Washington D.C. and Baltimore). And the CRABCAKES and crab dip - can't be beat - every restaurant you go to in Baltimore seems to have something great with crabs in it. When you walk into an Irish pub and get crab dip, that is when you may think you are in heaven.
OTB: Why did you decide to go to UMD ?
Dan: I grew up in New Jersey, but in going to college, I really wanted to get away from home. At the same time, I really wanted a school that had a sports scene, which was really important to me, in particular basketball. And UMD has a beautiful campus. I have had some really great times visiting Rutgers with friends, but I didn't love how Route 18 cuts the school into so many campuses.
Lastly, it is ideally located between Washington D.C. and Baltimore. I had an interest in studying government and politics, so it is a good place to go for that. And it is located close enough to where I could still get home to NJ in only 3-4 hours drive.
OTB: Do you love Maryland now and why? What makes it great in your mind?
Dan: I remain a very loyal Terps basketball fan. I've been getting season tickets for five years and love the electricity of Comcast Center (it still doesn't feel like Xfinity Center to me). I look forward to many years watching them.
Football, I did buy season tickets for a few seasons, and still try and watch as many games as possible on T.V.
It was a great place to go to school, and a great place to go back and root for the Terps.
OTB: Were you a sports fan while at Maryland ?
Dan: Was I a sports fan. That must be a rhetorical question. In particular, basketball has always been the sport I have followed the hardest. I still get sick to my stomach when I think of the Michigan State buzzer beater against the Terps in the NCAA tournament, Greivis Vasquez's senior year. And storming the court for Duke and UNC wins before we left the ACC are memories I won't soon forget.
The football games were also a load of fun and I attended pretty much all of the games in my four years, but importantly the tailgates are great memories I won't soon forget (whereas the games, as Rutgers fans too can attest, are sometimes forgettable). Our soccer scene is also really interesting. We have a die hard fan base dubbed The Crew that really are a great group of folks to hang with.
OTB: What was the best thing about being on campus? (e.g. location, the people, the food, whatever)
Dan: Great friends, lots of fun bars just a walk away. And while the food in the campus diners were nothing to write home about, I thank god for the buffalo chicken wraps that I ate 4-5 times a week to get me through.
OTB: What was the best thing to happen to you (or in general) while you were at College Park ?
Dan: Not to harp too much on college basketball, but it was really special to watch Maryland beat Duke at Comcast, to storm the court, and to celebrate with friends afterwards in the dorms, in the bars, all across town.
OTB: Tell me one or two really cool or important things about College Park ?
Dan: This isn't exclusive to College Park, but there is a D.P. Dough in College Park. There were no locations from where I was from in NJ and it is hands down the best drunk food you could ask for. The Buffer Zone (Breaded Chicken, Mozzarella, Hot Sauce, Blue Cheese) at 3 AM was more or less a birth right for us Terps.
OTB: How does/did Maryland make you feel a part of the school as an undergraduate? How about now as an alum?
Dan: It was a really welcoming place to be as a student. You felt like a part of a big community. As an alum, other than the calls asking for more money (does any school not do that?), the school does a fairly good job trying to reconnect with alumni.
OTB: How important is it to you personally being a graduate of UMD ?
Dan: I am very proud to have graduated from UMD and will always be a Terp.