New Team Entrance Honors Longtime Terps Supporterby Liam Farrell | Photo by John T. Consoli
As a longtime fan and supporter of Maryland athletics, Mark Butler looked forward to catching UMD teams in action anytime he could.
Though the president and CEO of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and trustee for the university’s foundation died in November, he’ll continue to have a presence at Maryland Stadium.
Starting this fall, student-athletes have taken the field through a dramatic new, turtle-shaped tunnel that bears his name.
“We all wanted it to be that special, iconic point,” Butler said in a September interview.
Butler grew up in Pennsylvania and didn’t attend college before becoming one of four co-founders of the first Ollie’s discount store in 1982. (They now number 345.) The passion and pride of ACC basketball captured his imagination, however, and it didn’t take many trips to Cole Field House before his allegiances shifted from the North Carolina Tar Heels to the Terps.
“There was no other sports feeling like being in Cole Field House for a Duke game,” Butler said.
The tunnel was named in recognition of his $5 million gift for the Cole Field House project. While Cole will have upgraded athletic amenities such as new weight and locker rooms, practice fields, dining facilities and a sports medicine area, Butler was impressed with its broader applications, such as spaces for innovation programs and entrepreneurs, and a new Center for Brain Health and Human Performance.
“The entire student body will be able to benefit,” he said.
You have heard the rumors. Seen the pictures. And Saturday... A new tradition begins.— Maryland Football (@TerpsFootball) August 29, 2019
Presenting the Mark L. Butler Tunnel!
Shout-out to @Shickelcorporation for bringing the vision of The Shell to life. pic.twitter.com/b8PWuWlHcD
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