1958 Terps' hoops champ guarded players and Presidents

WUSA9 Sports Anchor Diane Roberts got a chance to speak to Terps' champ who not only guarded players but also presidents.

COLLEGE PARK, MD - WUSA9 Sports headed out to do a preview piece on Maryland basketball.

They will honor the 1958 ACC championship team on Sunday.

The Terps' public relations staff arranged for us to talk to Jerry Bechtle, a guard for that team.

We even got the 81-year-old to shoot a little hoops.

But at the end of our interview, we found out what he did after his college career.

That really caught our attention.

Jerry explained he was, "actually drafted by the Knicks,  the wife said why don't you get a real job."

No NBA career for Jerry, but his real job took him from the Maryland National Guard, to the Army Reserves, and ended with the Secret Service.

"I spent 25 years with the service started after 5 months I was immediately assigned to LBJ when they first passed legislation to protect VP."

Lyndon Baines Johnson was the Vice President under John F Kennedy.

Bechtle was not in Dallas when Kennedy was assassinated on Nov 22, 1963, but he was at LBJ's ranch, awaiting the VP's arrival.

The former hoops guard guarded so many in his long career.

"I was with Agnew, Ford as VP and President and during the campaigns of George Wallace, Sgt Shriver, Tom Eagleton."

Bechtle retired as Deputy Director of the Secret Service, but all things lead back to basketball and family with this former Terps' hoops champ.

"Last year, Sept 7th, I celebrated not only the 60th anniversary of this team, but also the 60th wedding anniversary. I'm proud of both of them."

Bechtle said protecting Presidents and Vice Presidents was his major responsibility, but that he enjoyed the criminal side of his Secret Service career.

This included check forgery which was his area of expertise.

© 2018 WUSA-TV


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