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Ambrose extended through 2020

8 January 2014 By Matthew Hamilton, Associate Sports Editor 12 Comments

Towson Head Coach Rob Ambrose said after the Football Championship Subdivision Championship game loss that his team was on its way to being national power, but “[they’re] not there yet.”

The University wants Ambrose to stick around to see that happen, so much so that it offered him a seven-year extension that extends to 2020. Ambrose accepted that deal Wednesday, as it was announced by Athletic Director Tim Leonard via Twitter.

Although the specific figures of the contract were not released, Leonard said that the contract will be “top heavy,” meaning that much of the money Ambrose will earn will come in the early years of the contract. It also includes a large buyout option, forcing schools to pay Towson if they want to hire Ambrose and take his contract.

Under Ambrose’s previous contract, he was making $250,000 per year, according to The Baltimore Sun’s database of state employee salaries.

“He genuinely cares about the kids and I don’t worry about his ethics when it comes to recruiting, how he treats people and academics. He takes that stuff very seriously,” Leonard said. “We want to win, but it’s not a win at all costs. . . He does things the right way.”

It has been a whirlwind few days for Ambrose, who lost the National Championship Saturday, began recruiting for 2014 on Sunday and watched junior running back Terrance West declare for the NFL Draft Monday.

However, Leonard said that the decision to attempt to extend Ambrose’s contract was made early in the season, when the team began 6-0.

“Obviously, we got out to a hot start. We knew that Rob was going to be a hot commodity and you always know there’s going to be a carousel at the end of the year,” Leonard said. “I just wanted to let Rob know that we wanted to keep him and that he was important to the institution. We had the architect for our program now, so why do we want to try to get someone to replace him?

The football team only had one win with Ambrose as coach in 2010, but has since turned the team around. The success that Ambrose saw at Towson led to speculation that larger, Football Bowl Subdivision schools would be after his services.

After beginning 3-19 at for the Tigers, Ambrose led the team to a 9-3 record, clinching the team’s first Colonial Athletic Association title and a berth in the FCS Playoffs for the first time. The Tigers missed out on the playoffs in 2012, but rebounded with a 14-3 record in 2013.

The 1993 graduate of Towson played wide receiver before an injury ended his career in his senior year. Ambrose was an assistant coach for Towson until 2000, when he accepted the Head Coach position at Catholic University.

Randy Edsall and the UConn staff grabbed Ambrose from Catholic University after just one year. He served as Quarterbacks Coach and Offensive Coordinator during his eight-year term at UConn, but Towson made him its fourth-ever Head Coach before the 2009 season.

Looking ahead, the Tigers will have lofty expectations going into the 2014 season and beyond. However, Leonard feels that he has coach that can get the Tigers to the pinnacle of FCS football.

“We’ve had three straight years as a winning program and we want to continue that,” Leonard said. “Winning a national championship is a tough thing to do, but I think we can do that with Rob. We’re still at the front of this thing, and we’re only going to get better.”


  • Towson2006 said:

    So Ambrose gets a new contract on Wednesday then on Friday the Athletic Department fires four employees, including two alumni, to pay for the coach’s raise. Fired were Greg LaCour, Marjorie Tversky, Stephen Toutsis, and Deanna Terrelle, a recent grad who had only been on the job for 3 months. So sad that the Athletic Department has to cut loyal staff to pay the contract of one coach. Poor fiscal management.

  • Towson2006 said:

    So football makes it to the FCS title game and loses. We are told that $150,000 has been raised to cover expenses of the playoff run, but no where have we heard of any revenues from going all of the way to Frisco. Winning in the “revenue” sports was supposed to make money for Towson, or so we were told. What happened?

    The University signs the football coach to a new contract, doubling his salary from $250,000 to $500,000 annually. Nice story, the alumni coach comes back home to lead the program to the promised land. I am told that all of the assistants also received raises, which is another added expense.

    Two days later (Friday) four employees, including two alumni, are fired, in budget saving moves.

    Tversky $73441
    Lacour $58483 * Alumni, Champion of the Baseball Program last spring
    Toutsis $33521
    Terrelle $33521 * Alumni, has been employed at Towson since October

    So four people lose their jobs, with a total salary of $198966 being transferred over to the football coach who already made a quarter of a million dollars.


    Just before the end of the semester the University made an end run on the SGA to raise student fees for athletics, already the highest for Athletics welfare of any USM institution. This was stopped by the SGA and more debate will be coming when our students return to campus later this month.

    My point is we were sold a bill of goods last spring about not raising student fees and having a budget shortfall. We were told that when teams won, that the money from donors and sponsors would be pouring in. That more people would come to the games. Trouble is none of this is true.

    The football team just had their best season ever, but the playoff game at home in early December drew less than half the crowd that came out in 2011. The football team has won more games over the past three years than any three year period in their history, but no fans are coming out to games and paying for tickets. Less than 1,200 season tickets were sold for the 2013 season.

    The basketball team went 1-31 two years ago, 18-13 last year, and this year moved into a new arena that cost over 70 million dollars and for which naming rights were sold for less than 5 million. But no worry, the basketball coach makes $275000 a year, so I am sure that the sold tickets will at least cover his salary. Wrong again, less than 500 season tickets were sold for this season, or 10% of the capacity of the building and the revenues from the sold tickets do not even cover 35% of the total of the head coach salary.

    Students made up most of the crowds during the football season, more than 60% of the total attendance. None of that beings in “revenue” as it is defined by the University. Student Fees make up 84% of the Athletics Budget each year. Now, the University is going to pay the football coaches more, despite the program not selling tickets, losing money on a home playoff game, and losing money overall through the course of the 4 game playoffs.

    Meanwhile, the head baseball coach who has been at Towson for over 30 years makes $44151 while the football director of operations, here for only 5 years, and not even a on field coach, makes $48000 a year.

    This mismanagement is appalling.

  • Joni Loves Chachi said:

    Towson2006- Excellent write up and spot on. Couple the mismanagement with the ineptocracy of Maravene and her crew and you have a formula for disaster!

  • Brendan Maltese said:

    Towson2006 – Do you know when we’ll find out about revenue from all the TV deals from the last few football games? I’d be very interested to see what kind of money that will bring in, and whether or not it significantly changes how out of proportion your above numbers are. There are also a lot of harder to track dollar amounts from the playoff run, such as the ability to recruit better players and students in the future.

    Also, your commentary seems to suggest that we should downsize the football program to be more sustainable… What do you think we can do to get more people to come to games and spend money like so many other schools do? I don’t understand how winning teams and new arenas aren’t bringing in tons of fans… Just doesn’t make any sense to me. I was overwhelmed with how many NDSU fans came to Frisco, and they all were very supportive of their team. I want that here at Towson and it seems like the school is trying to go there, but the students just aren’t coming to games.

  • Towson2006 said:

    Towson will get $0 from the playoff games being on television. Not a cent. Nada. Zilch. After all of the contractual bonuses are paid, along with other expenses, the money raised for the playoffs will not even pay all of the bills. I am also told the football team is getting championship rings even though they did not win a CAA or NCAA title, go figure. Wonder how much that cost the school? But I guess it’s ok to raise student fees on 21,000 students in order to buy rings for 100 when they did not win a championship. Runner up is first loser, that should look great on a ring.

  • Brendan Maltese said:

    What’s your source on your numbers?

  • Towson2006 said:

    Bit hey, if you do not believe me maybe one of the reporters from the Towerlight will ask Tim Leonard, Maravene Loeschke or Joe Oster the following questions;

    What were the expenses to the 2013-14 budget for the football playoffs?
    What were the revenues paid to Towson University from the NCAA per the football playoffs?
    What is he annual total revenue in from the CAA television contracts to the Towson Athletics budget?
    What is the total financial impact of the new Ambrose contract?
    What new revenues are coming in to cover these new expenses?
    If Towson Athletics is so flush with cash from football success why did soccer need to be cut?
    Why did Loeschke tell the campus community in Spring 2013 that she did not believe I raising student fees to pay for athletics budget shortfalls and then allow two of her top cabinet members to go and forcefully lobby student government to raise these same fees for 2014-15?

  • Brendan Maltese said:

    I didn’t read every word in those articles you posted, but I did thoroughly skim, and I didn’t see any facts about TV revenues. The only time I see TV mentioned is in the last one, where it seems like everyone is just speculating.

    I did, however, see an interesting quote at the end of the first link you posted: “If it’s worth having, it’s worth paying for, just like your music program or anything else.”

    Isn’t the point here that these programs are an important part of the college experience, and we should be paying for them? Personally, I’m glad I didn’t go to a school with no athletics/music/theatre/whatever department.

    It seems like you want to just cut a bunch of things and go barebones, but that’s not how you build a program. You have to invest money in things (whether it be in new facilities or giving your coach a big contract extension) to show prospects that the school cares about their programs so the teams can stay competitive.

    But here’s my question from before that you never answered: How do we get more fans in the stands? More students = more exciting atmosphere = more ticket sales = profits. Personally, I think that’s the best way to solve the money problem, but it just isn’t happening like it is at other schools.

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