In This Corner: Peace, Towson
Last Saturday, I covered the men’s lacrosse game against Drexel. For me, it was no ordinary game. A bittersweet feeling entered my gut as I took the lonely elevator ride to the fourth floor of the Johnny Unitas Stadium press box an hour before the game started. Then it hit me — it was going to be the last Towson sporting event that I would cover for The Towerlight. Although I would like to have gone out with a better outcome than the 13-5 defeat, I thought it was fitting. When you consider my track record, I have covered a plethora of losses: I dealt with a season of men’s basketball, in which not a single conference game was won (2010-2011), a men’s lacrosse season in which just one conference game was won (2011), and disappointing men’s soccer seasons.
It seems like just yesterday when I walked into The Towerlight office and asked for an application. But in reality, that was in August of 2008. So much change has occurred at Towson in the four years I’ve been here.
When I got to Towson, there were no signs of the Liberal Arts building or the West Village Commons, I had no idea who Mike Waddell was, and smoking was allowed on campus. Then again, when I arrived at Towson, Rob Ambrose was not the head football coach, Pat Skerry was not the head basketball coach, Shawn Nadelen was not the head lacrosse coach, Vicki Chliszczyk was not the gymnastics coach, Sonia LaMonica was not the women’s lacrosse coach—you get my point.
There has been nothing but change circulating in Towson athletics in the last four years.
Along with the name changes on the coaching office doors in the Towson Center/ Field House, there’s been a change in attitude and devotion to success.
When Mike Waddell was hired to replace Mike Hermann as the director of athletics in September 2010, it was clear that attitudes around the department were going to change. With a new arena on the way and a new athletic director and personnel in place, heightened expectations were placed on the athletics programs.
When Waddell took office, many of the 20 Tiger sports teams were not performing to the level that was expected, and today, many of those teams still aren’t. When I was a freshman, the only teams that were representing this University at the highest levels were swimming, gymnastics and women’s lacrosse. Today, multiple sports are competing at a level that can bring pride the University: football, women’s lacrosse, swimming and diving, gymnastics, men’s lacrosse and volleyball. In the last two years, five Towson coaches have been named the Coach of the Year in their respective leagues.
With the University’s focus on building a successful athletic department, much focus has been put on four sports: men’s basketball, football and men’s and women’s lacrosse. All four of those programs have gone through coaching changes in the last few years. The one constant theme with all the coaching changes has been a movement toward youth. Ambrose, Skerry, LaMonica and Nadelen can all be considered younger coaches with a will to prove themselves. Young blood and energy has helped put these programs in a possession to be extremely successful in near future. We have already seen the payoffs for the Ambrose and his football program and LaMonica and her team.
But with all the change that has occurred during my college career, it will be extremely tough for me to walk away from this University and its growing athletics department. But at the very least, I was told I will be getting a Towson Basketball Media Guide sent to my house next fall.
For The Towerlight, I am Sam Smith.