UMBC Night of Celebration Recap + Chatting with coach Ryan Odom

It was a night of festivities Tuesday evening here in Catonsville, MD as the Retrievers Men’s Basketball team were welcomed to a celebration for their historic tournament run.

 

The Retrievers received a warm welcome in front thousands of fans in the new $85 million UMBC Event Center. Along with the student & staff body in attendance, the event center was filled by local reporters, parents and UMBC administration including Chairman of the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland James T. Brady and of course UMBC’s biggest celebrity President Freeman A. Hrabowski.

Here come your Retrievers!!

A post shared by UMBC (@umbclife) on Mar 27, 2018 at 2:40pm PDT

“Remember this young people, you are UMBC. This team is UMBC, but every one of you is UMBC, in the classroom, in the world. When you walk out and they tell you we know UMBC you tell em’ we always knew UMBC.” President Hrabowski stated, kicking off the night of powerful speeches by getting the attendees hype about the school’s long-standing winning tradition in the classrooms and all-around.

 

The event hosted by six-time Maryland Sportswriter of the year WBAL radio host Peter Schmuck was filled with performances from UMBC’s best, powerful speeches from Athletic Director Tim Hall, President Hrabowski along with Coach Ryan Odom followed by Q&A and autograph session with the players. At one point Joe Sherburne and Nolan Gerrity showcased their wonderful voices by singing “One Shining Moment” the song of the tournament for the past 30+ years. 

Nolan Gerrity and Joe Sherburne everyone

A post shared by Barstool UMBC (@umbcstool) on Mar 27, 2018 at 4:10pm PDT

 

The night was filled with overflowing amounts of joy in an extremely delighting environment displayed with everyone in the building from our one of a kind mascot True Grit doing his traditional body roll to 5-year-olds jumping up and down trying to get President Hrabowski’s attention to students like myself chatting it up with the players during the autograph session.

 

As the event began to wind down, I found myself chatting briefly with the mastermind behind the greatest upset in NCAA tournament history coach Ryan Odom who as you’ve probably heard by now agreed to a contract extension just yesterday.

 

“I’m so thankful to each one of you [AD Tim Hall, Vice President for Student Affairs Nancy Young, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Gregory Simmons and President Freeman A. Hrabowski ] for the opportunity that was presented to me here and I’m excited to continue to lead these guys,” Odom stated showing his appreciation to getting the opportunity to continue to coach at UMBC.

 

Earlier in the evening President Hrabowski even requested a round of applause for Odom due to him “deciding to stay at UMBC.”

 

“…My family, we like it here, we love it here, great place to raise a family. Secondly, the people, the people at the university and the people in the community were tremendous, with the support it feels like home. And lastly, these players, these players are close and dear to my heart and our staff is looking forward to leading them.” Coach Odom told me during the event.

 

One thing that sets Ryan Odom apart from other NCAA Division I coaches or even coaches, in general, is the fact that he almost never likes taking credit for the success this program generates.

 

“Sometimes you look around the country, the teams that win, the head coach gets the majority of the credit and that shouldn’t always be the case,” Odom said shortly before naming his coaching staff one by one who then received warm cheers from fans in attendance.

 

“The work that you do in the dark, will reveal itself in the light, ” Odom stated referring to the banner that will soon hang in the Retrievers locker room in the new Event Center and so, of course, I found it necessary to ask him about what will go on behind the scenes this offseason to get ready for opening day as the Retrievers strive to mimic this past remarkable season with these current and incoming players such as guard from London, England RJ Eytle Rock throughout this offseason.

 

“They’ll begin to really work on their bodies, on their skills, those are the two things that we attack until the end of the year and they’ll work on their school work ” Odom told me describing the teams offseason efforts, “We have good students, we have high character kids and those three areas, they really try to focus on.”

 

While Odom’s primary focus remains to be with Retrievers basketball, he told me he’s still a fan of the NBA.

 

“It’s always been the [San Antonio] Spurs, because of Timmy D,” Odom unsurprisingly stated as his father, Dave Odom coached future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan during his four seasons with Wake Forest, “but now that he’s retired who knows maybe it’s Steph, I kind of like the Warriors.”

 

While Odom isn’t as big on the Spurs as he was as a child he has now jumped on to the Warriors hype which got me curious to find out if he’d try out Fortnite, a game which along with all of his team has captivated millions throughout the world.

 

“My son tries to get me to play because he plays with the players,” Odom answered, “so you’ll never know.”

I’m just as excited to see Odom playing Fortnite as I am in seeing how he’ll continue to mimic the success he has generated with this program for the past two seasons this following season.

Tonight won’t be the last celebration for the Retrievers as the Baltimore County Executive announced at the celebration that March 27, 2018, will forever be remembered as “UMBC Men’s Basketball making history day,” which will enable this historic upset to be remembered and celebrated for years to come.

 

Nahom Nega

I'm a current freshman at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, majoring in Media and Communications and Finance. I'm a huge Ravens, Wizards, Arsenal, Retrievers, Blue Devils and Lebron Fan. I've been writing for MD Sports Blog since October of 2017.

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