Jack Heise

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Heise seated in Cole Field House

John Irvin "Jack" Heise, Jr. (pronounced HI-zee; December 13, 1924 – October 5, 2009) was an important benefactor of the University of Maryland. His dedication to Terrapins sports earned him the nickname "Mr. Maryland".

Early life[edit]

Heise was born on December 13, 1924 in Baltimore, Maryland and attended Baltimore City College.[1] He then went on to the University of Maryland starting in 1941, before he put his education on hold to serve in the Second World War.[2] He served in the United States Army Air Forces as a B-24 pilot over Europe.[2] After the war, he returned to Maryland, where he played on the lacrosse team.[2] As an undergraduate, he was also the manager of the basketball team.[3] He was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, which later honored him with its Significant Sig Award.[4]

Heise graduated from Maryland in 1947, and then attended law school at the University of Virginia, from which he graduated in 1950.[2] In 1949, Heise married Jacqueline née Morley, whom he had met while she was a cheerleader at Maryland.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Heise worked as a trial attorney for the Justice Department, and in the 1950s, entered private practice.[2] In 1970, he became a principal partner in the Heise, Jorgenson, & Stefanelli law firm in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which specializes in government claims and commercial law.[2] Heise worked there until his death.[2]

Maryland fanhood[edit]

Over a 60-year period, Heise attended almost every home and road Maryland football and basketball game,[2] and his avid fanhood earned him the nickname "Mr. Maryland".[1] From 1946 to 2009, he attended all but two Atlantic Coast Conference basketball tournaments, and when Maryland was a member of the league, Southern Conference tournaments.[2] After each game, Heise sent handwritten notes to the teams' coaches.[2] He often attended games with columnist Robert Novak, another avid Maryland sports fan.[2] Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen called Heise "really one of the all-time supporters of Maryland athletics."[5] The Baltimore Sun wrote, "In an era in which other schools' boosters often become best known for trying to unseat struggling coaches, Mr. Heise was relentlessly positive."[1]

Heise served as president of the Terrapin Club and the M Club, the university's two main booster groups.[2] He donated significant contributions to the school and was a member of the Terrapin Club Lifetime Giving Society for donors of at least $250,000.[2] Heise was one of the top donors to the university's athletic program.[1] In 2007, the University of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame inducted him for meritorious service.[2] Heise was the first inductee in that category.[2]

He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on October 5, 2009 at his home in Bethesda, Maryland. He was 84 years of age.[2] After his death, the football team honored his memory by wearing Heise's initials on their helmets for the remainder of the 2009 season.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d Positively Influential; Jack Heise 1924-2009; Maryland Alumnus, Longtime Booster And Devout Fan Was With The Terps, 'Win Or Lose', The Baltimore Sun, October 8, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Terps Booster Jack Heise, 84, Dies, The Washington Post, October 10, 2009.
  3. ^ Pamela Babcock, The Four Jacks; Meet the men who stack the deck in Maryland's favor, Terp Magazine, University of Maryland, retrieved July 5, 2010.
  4. ^ Award Recipients for Maryland, Sigma Chi, retrieved January 12, 2011.
  5. ^ Ralph remembers Jack Heise, The Washington Times, October 6, 2009.
  6. ^ Football team to honor Jack Heise, The Baltimore Sun, October 9, 2009.