The man at the center of Moment No. 12 in the #retriever50for50 countdown came to UMBC without a campus facility to compete or train on.
But the lack of a track and field complex on campus did not slow down the progress of David Bobb. He reached the pinnacle of a legendary collegiate career on June 7, 1997 when he placed second in the country in the meet's premier race, the 100 meters, at the NCAA Championships in Bloomington, Ind.
After winning the Big South Conference's Most Valuable Athlete Award as a sophomore in 1995, Bobb became the Retrievers' first track All-American the following winter with third-place finishes in both the 55 and 200 dashes at the NCAA indoor championships.
By the spring of 1996, nearly 30 years after students first set foot on the UMBC campus, a track and field complex finally debuted at UMBC Stadium. The Retrievers would christen the complex by hosting the Big South Championships and, for the first time, Bobb would get to run in front of the home fans and staff that watched him from afar. He already had a qualifying time for the 1996 NCAA Championships.
But, in his first and only race at UMBC, a qualifying heat, Bobb injured a hamstring and pulled up, unable to complete the race and putting a damper on his junior campaign.
In that senior spring of 1997, Bobb won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the IC4A Championships last month at George Mason. He set a meet record in the 200 (20.63 seconds) and his time of 10.18 in the 100 meters gave him the fourth-fastest qualifying time entering the NCAA meet.
So, on that Saturday in Hoosierland, with CBS cameras rolling (meet was tape delayed and aired on June 8), Bobb, who qualified for the 100-meter finals, lined up against the nation's top sprinters.
Only one man ran faster than Bobb, who finished in a time of 10.21. Texas A&M's Obadele Thompson, a native of Barbados, won the race in a time of 10.13. Thompson, who also won the 200 meters at the meet, earned his nation's first medal, a bronze, at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Therefore, Bobb was the fastest American in the nation in 1997.
The Silver Spring, Md. native earned five All-America citations and still holds eight individual/relay records nearly 20 years after he completed his collegiate tenure.
Of course, that tenure at UMBC has continued as the devout Washington Redskins fan is entering his 17 th season as head track and field coach at his alma mater.
Bobb was inducted into the UMBC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.