1956 Maryland Terrapins football
ConferenceAtlantic Coast Conference
1956 record2–7–1 (2–2–1 ACC)
Head coachTommy Mont
Offensive schemeSplit-T
Home stadiumByrd Stadium
← 1955
1957 →
1956 ACC football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#19 Clemson 4 0 1     7 2 2
Duke 4 1 0     5 4 1
South Carolina 5 2 0     7 3 0
Maryland 2 2 1     2 7 1
North Carolina 2 3 1     2 7 1
NC State 2 4 0     3 7 0
Wake Forest 1 5 1     2 5 3
Virginia 1 4 0     3 7 0
Rankings from AP Poll[1]

The 1956 Maryland Terrapins football team represented the University of Maryland in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college football in its fourth season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. They were led by first-year head coach Tommy Mont, who had been promoted from backfield assistant after Jim Tatum left to take over at North Carolina. Preseason hopes were high for the team, but it suffered numerous injuries and other misfortunes. Maryland finished with a 2–7–1 record, and the Associated Press called it "one of the year's most disappointing football teams".

Before the seasonEdit

Maryland head coach Jim Tatum resigned on January 8, 1956 to take the same post at his alma mater, North Carolina, and he was replaced by backfield coach Tommy Mont.[2] Mont was a former quarterback for Maryland and the Washington Redskins.[3][4] Mont came with the personal recommendation of Tatum.[5] Tatum also instructed his former players to stay at Maryland rather than follow him by transferring to North Carolina.[6]

As head coach, Mont was unable to recruit the highly-skilled athletes that Tatum had consistently secured during his tenure.[7] Rod Breedlove, who played on freshman team in 1956 and started on the varsity squad thereafter, was an exception as one of the best guard prospects in the nation.[8] Due to the pressures associated with coaching a major college program, Mont eventually resigned as head coach after the 1958 season in order to take the same position at DePauw University.[9]


The 1956 team consisted of the following letterwinners:[10]

  • Ed Heuring
  • Ted Kershner
  • Charles Kichman
  • George Kolarac
  • Bill Kolmo
  • Bob Layman
  • Dickie Lewis
  • Wilbur Main
  • Bob Rusevlyan
  • Mike Sandusky

The coaching staff consisted of:[11]


Maryland entered 1956 ranked number-six in the Associated Press preseason poll.[12] The previous year, the freshman Terrapins finished with an undefeated record, and Sports Illustrated had called it the "best freshman team in the entire South."[13] Before resigning his post as head coach, Jim Tatum had said before the 1956 Orange Bowl, "Our 1956 squad will have the greatest potential of all, despite the loss of ten seniors."[14]

The roster, however, was depleted by injuries and the team beset by bad luck in general.[8] The 1957 edition of The Terrapin yearbook wrote the most serious blow to the team's prospects occurred when would-be starting quarterback Frank Tamburello was drafted into the Army.[15] Maryland lost another returner when back Phil Perlo did not re-enroll at the school.[15] In another twist of fate, the entire team had to be inoculated against jaundice after starting halfback Howie Dare and a reserve center were diagnosed with the malady.[16][17] Dare would miss the entire season.[18]

In the season opener, Syracuse soundly defeated Maryland, 26–12, which in part, "rudely jolted" the preseason prognostications of many college football experts.[19] After the Terrapins edged Wake Forest, 6–0,[12] 16th-ranked Baylor handed Maryland its first shutout, 14–0, in 70 games.[20] The following week at the Orange Bowl, 13th-ranked Miami resorted to the air to beat Maryland, 13–6. After the loss, the Associated Press called the Terrapins squad "one of the year's most disappointing football teams."[21]

Led by former Terrapins' coach Jim Tatum, North Carolina decisively beat Maryland, 34–6, in one of its two wins of the season. Both Carolina victories, however, were later vacated due to use of an ineligible player,[8] although Maryland records still credit the Tar Heels with the win.[12]

A week later, Johnny Majors led third-ranked Tennessee to beat Maryland, 34–7, and completed three touchdown passes while "hitting his receivers with the accuracy of a mountaineer rifleman."[22] After a loss to Kentucky,[12] Maryland tied 11th-ranked Clemson, which had hoped to secure its invitation to the Orange Bowl as the ACC representative.[23]

Maryland lost at South Carolina, 13–0, and then traveled to Raleigh to face North Carolina State.[12] Maryland trailed in the second half, but a 103-yard interception return from the Terrapins' end zone by back Dickie Lewis sparked a comeback. Maryland won, 25–14, to finish the season with a 2–7–1 mark.[24]

After the season, The Baltimore Sun described Mont and quarterback John Fritsch as "two of the biggest fall guys in college football this year" for events beyond their control.[18]


Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 22, 1956* Syracuse #6 Byrd StadiumCollege Park, Maryland L 12–26   N/A
September 29, 1956 Wake Forest Bowman Gray StadiumWinston-Salem, North Carolina W 6–0   13,000
October 6, 1956* #16 Baylor Byrd StadiumCollege Park, Maryland L 0–14   25,000
October 12, 1956* at #11 Miami Orange BowlMiami, Florida L 6–13   44,304
October 20, 1956 at North Carolina Kenan Memorial StadiumChapel Hill, North Carolina L 6–34   21,000
October 27, 1956* #4 Tennessee Shields-Watkins FieldKnoxville, Tennessee L 7–34   33,500
November 3, 1956*† Kentucky McLean StadiumLexington, Kentucky L 0–14   20,000
November 10, 1956 #11 Clemson Byrd StadiumCollege Park, Maryland T 6–6   18,000
November 17, 1956 at South Carolina Williams-Brice StadiumColumbia, South Carolina L 0–13   N/A
November 22, 1956 at NC State Carter-Finley StadiumRaleigh, North Carolina W 25–14   4,500
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming.


  1. "1956 Atlantic Coast Conference Year Summary". Retrieved January 16, 2013.
  2. Mont Picked To Succeed Tatum, The Miami News, January 18, 1956.
  3. Maryland's Tommy Mont Named Head Grid Coach at DePauw, DePauw University, April 29, 1959, retrieved January 28, 2009.
  4. Tommy Mont Statistics, Pro Football Reference, retrieved June 9, 2009.
  5. Mont, Former Backfield Aide to Tatum, Named Maryland's Head Football Coach, The New York Times, January 18, 1956.
  6. Tatum Tells Maryland Gridders to Stay Put, The Los Angeles Times, January 12, 1956.
  7. K. Adam Powell and Woody Durham, Border Wars: The First Fifty Years of Atlantic Coast Conference Football, 2004, Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0-8108-4839-2.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Atlantic Coast Conference, Sports Illustrated, September 23, 1957.
  9. John Underwood, Bell Of The Ball Game, Sports Illustrated, September 10, 1973.
  10. Year-By-Year Results (PDF), 2007 Terrapin Football Record Book, p. 17–22, University of Maryland, 2007.
  11. Assistant Coaches (PDF), 2007 Terrapin Football Record Book, p. 4, University of Maryland, 2007.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Year-By-Year Results (PDF), 2007 Maryland Football Record Book, University of Maryland, 2007, retrieved January 16, 2009.
  13. Shape Of Things To Come, Sports Illustrated, January 23, 1956.
  14. Allison Danzig, Injuries Curb Maryland's Power; The Terrapin Eleven Will Buckle Down for Wake Forest; Lewis McVicker and Dare Among Those on the Sidelined; High Opinion Shared; Tamburello to Be Inducted; Sandusky at Tackle, The New York Times, September 26, 1956.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Terrapin, p. 212, 1957, University of Maryland.
  16. Maryland Given Shots For Yellow Jaundice, The Baltimore Sun, October 17, 1956.
  17. SQUAD IS INOCULATED; Maryland Acts After Jaundice Strikes Football Player, The New York Times, October 17, 1956.
  18. 18.0 18.1 INJURIES TELL TERPS' STORY; Final-Game Win Brightens Picture For Next Year, The Baltimore Sun, November 24, 1956.
  19. Experts Suffer Rude Jolt in U.S. College Football, Ottawa Citizen, September 24, 1956.
  20. The Terrapin, p. 218.
  21. Miami Edges Terps, 13–6, for 3rd Win, Eugene Register-Guard, October 13, 1956.
  22. Majors Paces Vols to Easy 34–7 Victory, Ocala Star-Banner, October 28, 1956.
  23. Terps, Clemson Need Big Win, The Tuscaloosa News, November 8, 1956.
  24. 103-Yard Sprint Paces Terp Win, The Spokesman-Review, November 23, 1956.
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