A Look Back at Towson Athletics
Towson University has come a long way since first opening its doors to 11 female students and three faculty of drawing, music and calisthenics in the final year of the Civil War.
It wasn't until the 1920s when the University's male enrollment started to increase that its teams began scheduling outside competition. The women's program evolved from intramurals.
Towson began organizing collegiate athletic teams in the late 1910s, fielding men's basketball and soccer teams during the 1921-22 academic year. The first women's basketball team was the first women's sport; the team began competing in 1947-48.
Today, the University, with an enrollment that exceeds 21,000, offers the most comprehensive sports program in the metropolitan Baltimore area, fielding 20 varsity teams composed of more than 540 student-athletes who compete in the very competitive Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).
Since joining the league in 2001-02, the Tigers have won CAA titles in men's and women's lacrosse, women's swimming and diving, volleyball and men's golf. Towson has sent teams and individual student-athletes to NCAA post-season competition in baseball, basketball, football, golf, gymnastics, men's and women's lacrosse, men's soccer, men's and women's swimming and diving, track & field and volleyball.
Tiger student-athletes have distinguished themselves in the classroom as well as on the field of competition. A total of 12 Tigers have been named CAA Scholar-Athlete Award Winners for their respective sports, including the 2010 cross country recipient, Brandi Gervais, a Biology/Pre-Dentistry Major with a perfect 4.0 GPA, and men's golf recipient Nyasha Mauchaza, a Finance major with a 3.757 GPA.
Towson has had six student-athletes earn NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, including Gervais (Cross Country/Track 2011), Gregg Davies (Baseball 2002), David Adkins (Swimming 2002), Ben Whitacre (Football 2003), Nigel Marples (Soccer 2007) and Randall Cooper (Lacrosse 2009).
A number of Towson student-athletes have gone on to enjoy professional sports careers, including most recently Jermon Bushrod, the starting left offensive tackle for the 2010 Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints; outfielder Casper Wells with the Seattle Mariners; shooting guard Gary Neal with the San Antonio Spurs; and soccer player Pat Healey with the MISL's Baltimore Blast.
Two National Titles
Towson has claimed two national titles: the 1969 AIAW Division II National Gymnastics Championship and the 1974 College Division Men's Lacrosse National Championship. Later, each competed for a national title again, but on the NCAA's Division I stage; gymnastics in 1990 and lacrosse in 1991.
Women's gymnastics finished ninth ahead of Florida, Arizona and Ohio State at the 1990 NCAA Nationals at Oregon State where Tigers' coach Dick Filbert was named National Coach of the Year for directing Towson to a 23-1 record. Over the years, Towson Gymnastics has won an unprecedented 15 ECAC championships, qualified for 12 NCAA Southeast Regionals and claimed two USA Gymnastics NIT titles plus a USA Gymnastics National Championship.
In 1991, the men's lacrosse team bowed out to an unbeaten North Carolina squad, 18-13, in the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament National Championship game.
Click here to view a complete chart of Towson's championship history.
The men's basketball team compiled a 53-7 record over its final two years at the NCAA Division II level in 1976-77, 77-78, making post-season appearances both times. In 1979 Towson moved its entire athletics program (with the exception of football) to Division I.
Eleven years later, the Tigers were competing in their first NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament after capturing the East Coast Conference (ECC) title and its automatic qualifier. They repeated their ECC championship in 1990-91, earning their only other trip to the Big Dance. Devin Boyd, who became Towson's all-time leading scorer with 2,000 points, and Kurk Lee (1,541 points), who played one year with the New Jersey Nets before enjoying a successful professional career overseas, were key members of both those teams. Both Boyd and Lee garnered ECC Player of the Year honors along with Terrance Jacobs.
Over the years, the Tigers have had several impressive wins in men's basketball, including a 66-65 upset at St. John's in the 1993 Pre-season NIT, and an 81-69 victory over former national champion Louisville.
Women's Hoops Expand
Women's basketball began expanding in the 1950s and 1960s when Towson teams played a very limited, parochial schedule. In 1969, the Tigers participated in the first National Invitational Women's Intercollegiate Tournament, winning the consolation championship after victories over Ball State, Central Michigan and Purdue.
In 2007-08, the Tigers posted their first 20-win season (22-10). All-time leading scorer Shanae Baker-Brice, who finished her career with 1,806 points, led Towson into its first post-season activity since 1969 when, fueled by a 67-55 win over former national champion and No. 25-ranked Maryland and a 64-56 victory at Old Dominion, the 2009-10 Tigers (15-15) accepted a bid to compete in the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitational.
Baker-Brice is Towson's only women’s player to continue her career professionally, playing overseas in Turkey.
Stagg Bowl Runner-up
Football grabbed the spotlight with its inception in 1969. Tiger Football is one of a handful of NCAA programs to have competed in all three of its divisions. Towson was the Division III runner up in the 1976 Stagg Bowl when St. John's (Minn.) kicked a 19-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Tigers, 31-28.
In 1979, Towson moved its football program to Division II where it made three NCAA post-season appearances (1983-84-86). In 1987, the Tigers climbed up to Division I-AA, now the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
Towson existed as a football independent until 1997 when it joined the Patriot League as an associate member for football only. After seven seasons, the Tigers moved on to the Atlantic 10, a group that was consumed by the CAA in 2007.
Quarterback Dan Dullea surfaced as Towson's first All-American when he was honored on Kodak's Division III first team for leading the Tigers to their only unbeaten season, 10-0 in 1974. Since then, for a program with such a short history, the Tigers have an impressive list of accolades.
There have been 15 first team All-Americans, six second teamers and a locker room full of honorable mentions. Players of the Year have included wide receiver Dale Chipps (ECAC 1986) and defensive end Andrew Hollingsworth (Patriot League 2000). Wide receiver Jamal White, who led the nation in receiving yards in 1999, was the Patriot League's Pre-Season Player of the Year in 2000.
Running back David Meggett was named recipient of the 1988 Walter Payton Award, an honor symbolic of the FCS' most outstanding college football player.
Sean Landeta (1979-82) was selected as the NCAA Division II's all-time punter. He was also inducted into the Division II Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
A number of former Towson players went on to professional careers. Landeta enjoyed a lengthy career as an All-Pro punter with the New York Giants, L.A./St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles. Meggett made his way as an All-Pro return specialist with the New York Giants, New England Patriots and New York Jets. Stan Eisenhooth was a utility lineman for the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts. Running back Tony Vinson played for the San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens. Quarterback Dan Crowley, currently a member of the Towson athletics staff, made his mark in the Canadian Football League with Baltimore (Stallions), Montreal, Edmonton and Ottawa. Offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod remains active with the New Orleans Saints.
Linebacker Joe Vitt, a member of the 1974 unbeaten team, is an assistant coach with the Saints. Previously he served as interim head coach of the St. Louis Rams.
Former Tiger players wearing Super Bowl rings include Landeta (2), Meggett (1), Bushrod (1) and Vitt (1). Crowley, along with Towson teammate and wide receiver Mark Orlando, helped the Baltimore Stallions win the CFL Gray Cup in 1995.
Lacrosse Weighs In
Lacrosse, a staple among sports in the state of Maryland, has added handsomely to Towson's success story in athletics.
The men's program was launched in 1959. In its 10th year, Carl Runk assumed command as head coach and directed the program for the next 31 seasons, compiling a 262-161 record that included the 1974 national championship, nine NCAA tournament berths and five conference titles.
A number of Runk's players received widespread acclaim, including Jim Darcangelo (1974 and 1975 College Division Player of the Year), Wendell Thomas (1974 College Division Defenseman of the Year), Bob Griebe (1975 College Division Attackman of the Year), Rob Shek (1991 Division I Midfielder of the Year). Darcangelo and Griebe, who helped Team USA to world championships in 1978-82-86, have been inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Shek, Lindsay Dixon and Tony Millon also performed for Team USA in the World Games. Shek and midfielder Tim Langton (1996) are Towson's two, first team All-Americans.
In 1999, Tony Seaman took over the reins as head coach. In 2000 Towson suffered through a 3-10 season. The following year, the Tigers rebounded with a 14-4 record (the biggest single-season turnaround in men's collegiate lacrosse history) that included post-season wins over Duke and Maryland. Towson's magical run came to an end in the NCAA Division I semifinals where they lost to Princeton, 12-11, in the final minute of play. That achievement earned Seaman his third USILA Coach of the Year award.
Under Seaman, Towson participated in five NCAA tournaments and captured four conference championships. The reins now belong to Shawn Nadelen.
Since its inception in 2001, 24 former Tigers have played professionally for one of 10 Major League Lacrosse teams. The list includes Ben DeFelice, the CAA's 2004 Player of the Year, and defenseman Danny Cocchi, the 2003 CAA Defensive Player of the Year.
One of the most interesting stories in the Tigers' men's lacrosse history happened to a bench player, Ricky Beecher, who gave up a hard-earned spot on the team to recover from donor surgery that saved the life of an uncle in need of a liver transplant. “Beech” was honored as the CAA's 2003 John Randolph Inspiration Award winner and received the ECAC’s Award for Valor.
Women’s Lacrosse Makes Noise
Women's lacrosse began in 1970 with Maggie Faulkner as its coach, competing under the umbrella of the AIAW (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) and its regional EAIAW and MAIAW conferences, until Towson joined the East Coast Conference in 1983. Faulkner steered the Tigers to three state (MAIAW) titles and two ECC appearances before stepping down. Over the years Towson has earned berths in 19 conference tournaments, winning three ECC crowns and three CAA titles.
Towson's most successful run in women's lacrosse occurred during Missy Doherty's tenure as head coach. In her first year at the helm, the Tigers set a program record for most wins in season with a 14-4 record. The following year, 2005, they won their first CAA championship, earning their first-ever berth in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament.
Two more league titles and three more NCAA appearances would follow before Doherty left Towson to assume the head coaching duties at Penn State in 2010. Former Tiger assistant coach Sonia LaMonica succeeded Doherty.
The Tigers' first All-American on the women's side was Leigh Buck in the early '70s. Pat Dillon, who played defensive wing on Towson's first team in 1970, joined Sandy Hoody, one of the best goalies ever in the sport who played at Towson from 1971-74 and then coached the Tigers from 1987-90, as members of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Hillary Fratzke (2008) is Towson's lone IWLCA/US Lacrosse first team All-American. A two-time conference player of the year and three-time All-America pick, she and Becky Trumbo, a two-time league Scholar Athlete for women’s lacrosse, were named to the CAA's 25th Anniversary team.
Soccer Doc Minnegan-Style
In 1927, Donald "Doc" Minnegan became its coach. Over a 29-year period, "Doc" (a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame) racked up 152 wins. Current coach Frank Olszewski completed his 30th year in 2011 and is approaching 300 career coaching victories.
Olszewski has taken the Tigers to their only two NCAA post-season tournaments in 2001 and 2006. He has been named conference coach of the year four times in four different conferences. Former Tiger Pat Healey, who was the 2007 CAA Player of the Year and the National Indoor Soccer League Rookie of the Year, currently plays in the Major Indoor Soccer League with the Baltimore Blast.
Women's soccer was started in 1992. Its highlight thus far is the America East Conference championship it won in 1996.
Former Oriole Assumes Command
Baseball can trace its history back into the 1930s. The program moved to Division I in 1980 with Bill Hunter, former Baltimore Orioles third base coach and manager of the Texas Rangers, as its skipper. In 1988, current coach Mike Gottlieb took over the program. With future Montreal Expo Chris Nabholz on the mound, the Tigers presented their first-year coach with an East Coast Conference championship and a first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. Three years later, the Tigers won the ECC title again for a second NCAA berth. Since then, Towson has been league runner up four times.
Gottlieb continues to coach the squad and reached his 600th career win in March 2011 against Central Connecticut. Fourteen of his players have been selected in the Major League Baseball amateur draft.
Softball moved from club to varsity status in 1976. The Tigers have been runners up nine times in four different leagues. Jen Weaver rises as one of the program's top players. She was the 1996 NCAA batting champion and a first team Academic All-American.
Swimming on the Rise
The arrival of Ray Riordon on campus in 1968 signaled the start of the men's swimming program. Riordon coached the men for 30 years. In 1998, Pat Mead took over the reins of the program and has carried it to new heights, especially on the women's side.
The name that pops up in most conversations regarding Tiger men's swimming is Aaron Krause, winner of 13 CAA championships. He was the league's Swimmer of the Year in 2003 and 2004, and was named Most Outstanding Performer at the conference championships both years.
Women's swimming debuted in 1972, but it wasn't until Mead had command of the program that the sport took off. Under his leadership, the Tigers have won four consecutive CAA titles, dominating the conference championships since 2007-08.
Over that period, the Tigers have compiled a 61-5 dual meet record. This success coincided with the presence of four-year letter winner Meredith Budner, the first female swimmer in school history to earn All-American honors. The holder of eight school records, she was the 2009 and 2011 CAA Swimmer of the Year.
Track Takes Off
Women's track broke from the blocks in 1976, and by the mid 1980s, the sport at Towson was dominated by Maureen Shaneman, arguably the best distance runner in school history. Three of her program records still stand. More recently, hurdler Ashley Adams has become legendary, by breaking and holding every Towson hurdle record. Named as the CAA's Female Track Athlete of the Year in 2010, she was instrumental in helping the Tigers to a third-place finish in the 2010 CAA Meet, their highest place ever in a conference championship.
Shaneman was just as dominating in cross country which began in 1982. In her senior year, she finished third in the East Coast Conference meet. It was the only meet in 1988 she did not win.
Field Hockey and Women's Tennis in History
Women's tennis was started in 1967. Although the team has not netted championships, several individuals have picked up honors, like two-time (1998 and 1999) America East All-Conference player Stephanie Knouse, whose 73-15 career record includes the program's most match victories.
Field hockey predates all other competitive outdoor sports for Towson women. Records indicate a five-game schedule was played in 1948 with a record of 2-3 under coach Mary Roach. The contemporary Tigers feature the program's most decorated player, forward Christina Boarman (2006-09) who holds all the single season and career scoring records. She was named All-CAA three times and the league's Rookie of the Year as a freshman. In 2008, she was selected first-team All-NFHCA Mid-Atlantic.
Volleyball Eyes NCAAs
Margo VerKruzen initiated the volleyball program in 1969 and coached the Tigers until 1978. The Tigers won league championships in 1984 (ECC), 1994 (Big South) and 2004 (CAA), earning spots in the NCAA Tournament for the latter two titles. Liz Goubeaux (2001-04) and Mary Clare Coghlan (2002-04) were named to the CAA's 25th Anniversary Team.
Tigers Hit Links with Success
Men's golf teed off in 1969. In 1976, the Tigers won their first conference title by taking the Mason-Dixon championship. Tom Grem became the first Towson golfer to qualify for NCAA Division II post-season play. It wasn't until 2000 when current coach Brian Yaniger directed Towson to the NCAA Division I Regional after winning the America East championship. In 2004 and 2005, the Tigers earned at-large berths to the NCAA Tournament. In 2010, Towson won its first CAA men's golf title and fourth trip to the NCAA post-season.
Two of Towson's golfers, Billy Wingerd and Jeff Castle, who were both conference Players of the Year, were picked to be honored on the CAA's 25th Anniversary Team.
The women's golf program is still in its infancy. It was begun in 2007. Morgan Reich went down in Towson history as its first female golfer. Emily Kwak became the first medalist when she captured first place at the 2011 Lonnie Barton title.
Facilities Keep Pace
Campus athletics facilities have kept pace with the rising level of competition. For much of the decades in the '50s, '60s and '70s, Burdick Hall and its surrounding fields were home to all Towson teams. Prior to 1950, Wiedefeld Gym (now the site of Cook Library) served as the main athletics facility.
In 1976, the Towson Center complex opened featuring a 4,500-seat arena and separate fields for lacrosse, soccer and field hockey, as well as tennis courts lit for evening play.
The Burdick Hall natatorium remains the venue for the men's and women's swimming & diving teams.
The Tigers' baseball venue was the first facility to undergo renovation. Schuerholz Park was dedicated in 2001 in honor of John B. Schuerholz, a 1962 Towson graduate who has served as a member of the Atlanta Braves organization since 1991. That follows his tenure as a vice-president and general manager of the Kansas City Royals.
In 2002 renovations to the football stadium were completed. The venue was renamed Minnegan Field at Johnny Unitas® Stadium in honor of former Baltimore Colt quarterback Johnny Unitas and longtime Towson athletics director, Donald "Doc" Minnegan.
In addition to the seating bowl that now accommodates 11,198 fans, making it the third-largest outdoor venue in the metropolitan area, a 48,000-square foot adjacent field house was constructed. The complex houses the Tigers' football, men's and women's lacrosse, field hockey and track teams.
Completion of a new $68 million 5,200-seat Tiger Arena is expected by the spring of 2013. Featuring state-of-the-art technology, NBA-style practice facility and strength facility plus loge club seating, Tiger Arena will be a basketball fan's dream.
CAA Silver Anniversary Tigers
The Colonial Athletic Association celebrated its 25th year of existence in 2009-10 by picking Silver Anniversary Teams. Although the Tigers had been CAA members for only nine years, they still managed to be well represented:
Jeanne Bosch, Softball (2002-05): Selected to the All-CAA first team and the CAA All-Tournament team in 2004 and 2005 ... outstanding defensive player who committed only two errors in her final two seasons ... ranked among Towson's career top 10 in doubles (40), RBIs (91) and steals (36).
Brooke Clyde, Softball (1999-2002): Honored as the first CAA Player of the Year in 2002 ... four-time all-conference selection, including 1st team All-CAA accolades in 2002 ... set five Towson career records, including runs (139) doubles (46) and RBI (113).
Katie Mumbauer, Softball (2002-05): Four-time All-CAA and CAA All-Tournament selection ... batted over .300 in all four years and set Towson season mark for total bases (99) in 2004 ... owns Towson career records for runs (140), stolen bases (62) and walks (110).
Nina Navarro, Softball (2005-08): Selected to the All-CAA first team in 2006 and 2008 ... one of only two Towson players in history to score 100 runs and have 100 RBIs ... ranks among Towson's career top five in hits (212), runs (117), homers (17) and RBI (100).
Jessica Wides, Softball (2002-05): Two-time All-CAA selection who was the CAA Pitcher of the Year in 2003 ... set Towson career records for wins (48), strikeouts (434), shutouts (15) and saves (8) ... led the CAA in wins (15), ERA (1.31), strikeouts (147) and shutouts (7) in 2003.
Hillary Fratzke, Women's Lacrosse (2006-2010): Towson's only three-time women's lacrosse All-American (2007, 2008, 2010) ... three-time All-CAA pick who was the 2008 and 2010 CAA Player of the Year and 2006 Rookie of the Year ... set NCAA season records for draw controls per game (6.29) and total draw controls (107) in 2006.
Becky Trumbo, Women's Lacrosse (2003-06): Four-time All-CAA honoree who was the CAA Rookie of the Year in 2003 ... selected to the IWLCA All-America third team in 2005 ... among the top three in Towson history in goals (178), assists (79) and points (257).
Casey Cittadino, Men's Lacrosse (2002-06): Three-time All-CAA selection, including first-team honors in 2004 and 2005 ... selected as the Most Valuable Player of the 2004 CAA Championship ... ranks third in Towson history with 65 caused turnovers.
Danny Cocchi, Men's Lacrosse (2000-03): Earned second-team All-America honors in 2001 and honorable mention in 2002 and 2003 ... two-time All-CAA selection who was the CAA Defensive Player of the Year in 2003 ... ranks second in Towson history with 283 ground balls.
Ben DeFelice, Men's Lacrosse (2001-04): Honored as the CAA Co-Player of the Year in 2004 ... received USILA honorable mention All-America honors in 2003 ... ranks fifth in career groundballs (231) and sixth in faceoff wins (357) at Towson.
Jonathan Engelke, Men's Lacrosse (2004-08): Selected to the All-CAA first team in 2004 and 2008 ... set CAA career record with 113 goals and ranked second in career points with 156 ... honored as the CAA Rookie of the Year in 2004.
Reed Sothoron, Men's Lacrosse (2002-05): Three-time All-CAA selection, including first-team honors in 2003 and 2005 ... 2005 CAA Tournament MVP who helped lead Towson to three CAA titles ... ranks second in career GAA (9.13) and third in career saves (578) at Towson.
Jeff Castle, Men's Golf (2003-07): Selected as the CAA Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006 ... earned All-CAA and All-Region honors during all four seasons with the Tigers ... Towson record holder for lowest round (63) and 54-hole score (70-67-63—200).
Billy Wingerd, Men's Golf (2001-05): Honored as the CAA Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005 ... three-time All-CAA and All-Region selection (2003-05) ... chosen as Towson University's Athlete of the Year in 2005.
Meredith Budner, Women's Swimming and Diving (2007-11): Two-time CAA Swimmer of the Year (2009, 2011) and CAA Rookie of the Year in 2008 ... holds CAA records in 500-free, 1650-free and 400-IM ... won 12 individual CAA titles and 6 relay championships ... three-time NCAA qualifier who earned All-America honors in five events ... national runner-up in 500-free and 1650-free at 2011 NCAA Championships.
Jennifer Irby, Women's Swimming and Diving (2002-05): CAA Swimmer of the Year in 2005 and two-time Most Outstanding Swimmer of the CAA Championship Meet ... 13-time CAA Champion, including four titles in the 50 free and three in the 100 butterfly ... 2005 NCAA Championship participant in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 butterfly.
Liz Lebherz, Women's Swimming and Diving (2004-07): Eight-time CAA champion, including two titles in the 200 free and 500 free ... named CAA Rookie Swimmer of the Year in 2004 ... set Towson school records in the 200 free and 400 free relay.
Aaron Krause, Men's Swimming and Diving (2001-04): CAA Swimmer of the Year and Outstanding Meet Performer in 2003 and 2004 ... 13-time CAA Champion, including three titles in the 100 and 200 backstroke ... NCAA qualifier in the 100 back, 200 back and 200 free.
Mary Clare Coghlan, Volleyball (2002-04): Selected as the CAA Setter of the Year in 2003 and 2004 ... CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree who was the CAA volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2003 ... set Towson season assists record (1,400) in 2003 and ranks fourth in career assists (3,078) ... two-time All-CAA team honoree.
Liz Goubeaux, Volleyball (2001-04): Honored as the CAA Player of the Year and CAA Tournament MVP in 2004 ... three-time All-CAA pick and earned honorable mention All-Region twice ... Towson's all-time leader in blocks (565) and ranks third all-time in kills (1,404) ... led CAA in hitting percentage for three straight seasons.