The list of African-Americans coaching Division 1 men’s college basketball today can seem endless. The ACC alone boasts at least three African-American coaches. This, however, was not always the case. Being a child of the eighties, I can remember the days when my father’s love of Temple and Georgetown’s basketball programs was rooted in the fact that they were two of the most visible African –American coached teams of that era. The careers of John Thompson and John Chaney and their accomplishments in college basketball are also very well known. A lesser known name of that era, however, was Bob Wade at the University of Maryland.
Wade, the first African-American coach in ACC basketball history, came to prominence in basketball during a his career as head coach of Baltimore's Dunbar High School where he coached ten years and produced four future NBA players. Wade however had no college coaching experience when he took the job at Maryland. The challenges facing Wade were endless due to the fact that College Park was still dealing with the tragic death of Len Bias, the end of the Dreisell era, and the loss of several players. But amid all of this Bob Wade did manage to coach the Terps to one appearance in the NCAA tournament during his three years in College Park. His tenure at Maryland only lasted from 1986-1989 and opinions vary on Bob Wade’s performance as a coach during his years at Maryland, but Bob Wade will always be fondly remembered as one the few African-American college head coaches in an era when that list was very short.