Remembering Karl V. Binns Sr. | University of Maryland Eastern Shore Marketing Retarget Pixel

Remembering Karl V. Binns Sr.

  • UMES faculty member was a pioneering student-athlete in his hometown

    Monday, April 5, 2021
    Dr. Karl V. Binns Sr. at McCamish Pavilion

    Karl Von Binns Sr., a towering fixture on the faculty in UMES' Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, passed away on Good Friday, April 2.  He was 69. 

    His sudden death unleashed an online response of heartfelt condolences and fond memories, including from an institution where he was a pioneering student-athlete as an undergraduate. 

    Binns, who was 6-feet 7-inches tall, played one year of varsity basketball at Georgia Institute of Technology in his hometown, Atlanta.  He was the first African-American to suit up for Georgia Tech and a visit he made to the campus in February 2018 celebrated his place in school history. 

    His triumphant return after some 45 years resulted in the university's athletics department producing a glowing profile chronicling what could best be described as a life well-lived. 

    He played and studied for two years as at what was then a junior college in Georgia when Georgia Tech's popular basketball coach offered him a chance to play for the Yellow Jackets.  While he performed admirably on the court during the 1971-72 season, Binns acknowledged that he struggled in the classroom. 

    The Georgia Tech website quoted Binns as saying he needed to focus on academics “if I was going to stay in the family.”  He transferred across town to Morris Brown, a private, historically black college, but did not immediately join its basketball team. 

    “I had to get my academics back on track,” he said, and then played one more season of college basketball while completing work on a degree in management.  He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. 

    Binns played two years professionally in German before returning to Atlanta to find work outside the sports arena, and to start a family.

    Introduced to the Ga. Tech faithful - 2018

    When his employer transferred him to Baltimore, he enrolled at Morgan State University, where he earned a Master's in Business Administration.  The Georgia Tech online profile noted he spent a year at Mercer University's law school in Macon, Ga., and taught at Morris Brown and Florida's Bethune-Cookman, another HBCU. 

    The University of Maryland Eastern Shore's personnel records show he was named to the faculty in August 1998 and became one of the hospitality-tourism management department's most popular instructors among students whom he also mentored outside the classroom.  Binns also earned his doctorate in organizational leadership in 2011, making him an alumnus at the school where he also was teaching. 

    His 2018 return to Georgia Tech as Dr. Binns also was captured in a 3-minute 33-second video, which showed him touring the locker room and meeting current head coach Josh Pastner at a practice where he playfully tossed in an uncontested hook shot.  The visit culminated in a VIP introduction at a home basketball game. 

    The earnest, unassuming smile on his face in the video is how most of those whose lives he touched during his 22½ years at UMES will remember him.