I hope that you are ready for an exciting year of Towson Athletics.
Nothing seems longer for me than the stretch of time each year from June through July when the students are away from campus en masse. There is an energy that comes from the young people in a college setting and it is always a highlight to welcome back our Tigers with open arms each August.
This fall, we will be embracing 190 first-time Towson Tigers, which is the highest number of newcomers in the last seven years. Our message to them is clear and concise - EXPECT SUCCESS! When these young leaders complete their time at Towson, our goal for them is to have had an outstanding student-athlete experience across the board, including a Diploma and a championship Ring. That's our Towson Athletics "R&D" - a strong recruiting message and another reminder of our goals as individuals, and as the Tiger Athletics Family.
Having great team chemistry and being in outstanding condition is critical to achieving our performance goals. There were a great many of our student-athletes who remained close to Towson this summer to work on their conditioning in preparation for the upcoming year, which means that a strong level of commitment is alive and well.
I want to personally thank our sports performance staff led by Associate Director of Athletics James Shipp and his staff of Jesse Judy, Jeremy Pick, Kilee Taflinger, Nathan Wilder, Ryan Krach, Michael Leonard-Garner, Lacy Hatfield, Courtney Blair, Chris Martin, and Katelynn Thomas. These people continually go over and above with their care and attention to our Tigers. These people are difference makers for our department of athletics.
To become CHAMPIONS, you have to be in great health and physically dominant. This area has been a point of emphasis for Towson Athletics since my arrival last November and it will continue to be as we move forward. Our goal is simple ... become the class of the Colonial Athletic Association.
Another big thank you goes out to our Academic Achievement staff led by Assistant Director of Athletics Bobbi Madison. During the Spring Semester, our Tiger Student-Athletes posted a grade point average of 3.03. A total of 127 Tigers were named to the Dean's List and 16 Tigers posted perfect 4.0 GPAs with another 111 student-athletes posting a GPA north of 3.5. This is an outstanding achievement by our young people and another example of how they are committed to improving and making the most of the incredible opportunity they have in their collegiate careers here at TU.
We are also achieving great things on the external side of our department as season ticket sales for Towson Football 2011 are already equal to the 2010 season. With three weeks of sales yet to go, our hope is that we will be able to improve the total number of season ticket accounts by 25 percent over last year. Even more impressive is the response that we are generating from Baltimore-area youth sports organizations about developing grass roots relationships with Towson Athletics.
Towson Alumnus Mike Hollis is leading an new sales team of Stephen Toutsis (Baltimore native and former staffer at Major League Soccer's Sporting KC) and Brandon Weiner (formerly of the New York Jets' sales group). They are going non-stop to introduce Towson Athletics to kids from across the region. Group packages can also be tailored to business groups, alumni reunions, other social organizations, and even once in a lifetime birthday party opportunities.
If you have an idea about an outing at one of our many events, please call our Fan Development Team at 410-704-5497 or toll free at 1-855-TU-TIGER (1-855-888-4437).
These dreams can only continue to come true with your support of the Tiger Club. In February 2011 the Tiger Athletic Fund was reformed as the Tiger Club. This is the proactive fundraising team behind the Tigers features an Assistant AD, two Directors of Development and a Director of Operations.
Our new Deputy Director of Athletics, Devin Crosby, has the day-to-day oversight of this group with strategic guidance coming from myself and our Athletics Leadership Team. An additional achiever was also added to this team in May 2011 when former head men's lacrosse coach Tony Seaman moved to Auburn House as a Special Advisor to the Director of Athletics. Tony will work specifically in lacrosse fund development and with me on some other critical projects centered on leadership development within our staff and student-athletes.
In the coming weeks, we will be announcing a new leadership board for the Tiger Club, which will be business focused and will include some very prominent Baltimore leaders who have a passion for our mission and for our University. Our planning for 2011-12 and beyond will be strategic and will yield additional resources to build enhanced opportunities for our student-athletes in our 20 sports.
If you make the drive around Unitas Stadium, you will see that construction is underway in full force for the new 5,200-seat TIGER ARENA - our new home for Tiger basketball, gymnastics and volleyball. A lot of great progress has been made on this site over the last few weeks and we are on target with the Spring, 2013 completion date. Kudos to the crew at Gilbane Construction and the Towson Facilities and Operations unit for moving this project forward. You can follow the progress on this new facility live via a time-lapse web cam at www.TigerArena.com. Log on and see the future of Towson Athletics rise from the ground up.
As we begin to shift our focus to the future, one major project that is now underway is a complete review of the University's athletics compliance with Title IX. We have not reviewed this area in earnest since 2003 and as such, we have engaged a nationally-recognized consultant to assist. The review is a joint project between the University's General Counsel and Athletics. The recommendations from this report will be the genesis for a larger strategic discussion on the competitive future of Towson Athletics.
We have also begun the process to have a joint reporting role for our NCAA Compliance Area, which will be a shared responsibility between Athletics and the University's General Counsel. We are committed to 100 percent compliance with all NCAA rules. For a full understanding of this process click here where you can learn about how you as a fan an comply with NCAA rules.
Finally, earlier today we launched the all-new TowsonTigers.com. Work began on this project in November, 2010 as we committed to completely redesigning all web portals associated with Towson Athletics. I hope that you will find that these new sites are intuitive and comprehensive, and will continue to evolve over the weeks and months to come.
In September, a fourth new site, ThisIsTowson.com, will sign on as the Official Prospective Student-Athlete Recruiting Web Site of Towson Athletics. Our external team, led by Senior Associate Director of Athletics Mike Harris, has logged hundreds of hours to make these sites the best they can be. Even as we launch them, we are seeking feedback on fine tuning each to make them what we need. Special kudos to Damon Lewis and his team of sports videographers and producers who have made this site's development as promising a new addition as we have ever had with Towson Athletics.
Thanks for your support and here's to a great 2011-12. I hope that you are ready to embrace a great new year for Towson Athletics. We are going to make great strides and I am excited to be a part of this drive alongside of you.
With Black and Gold Pride...
Director of Athletics | Towson University