Townsend was honored to the UMES Hall of Fame this past February

April 13, 2012

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore athletics program recently saw a familiar name spotlighted in the national news, when former athletic director, Nelson Townsend was featured in the Capital Outlook. The article was written to distinguish Townsend's ability in breaking the racial barrier within education and athletics.

The article details Townsend's journey throughout education and athletics. It speaks of him being the first African-American to break the color barrier in several different work atmospheres. The story, written by Paul Douglas, commends Townsend's diligence across the past five decades in bringing change to the world.  

Townsend made his first stride towards equality in the 1960s, when he was named the first African-American educator to work in the Worcester County Public School system. Several years later, he became the first black athletic director at the University of Buffalo in 1987. He was a 1995 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame selection in 1995, before being named to the UMES Hall of Fame in February of 2012.

Townsend's selection to the UMES Hall of Fame was a well deserved accomplishment, as he put forth a tremendous effort during his tenure. He served as an athletic director for UMES twice from 1976-79 and 2003-05.

He hired a few noteworthy UMES coaches, including current head women's basketball coach Fred Batchelor in 2004. He also has served as a role model for several key members of the UMES community, including current athletic director, Keith Davidson.

Townsend's journey as an athletic director saw him assist Delaware State and the University of Buffalo in moves from Division II to Division I. As a collegiate administrator, he worked with people of all ages and races. It was a position he enjoyed; one that allowed him the opportunity to touch the lives of everyone around him.

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