| @Towson_MBB: How Sweet it Is
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 02/25/2013

For the first time since the 1995-96 season, the Towson University Tiger men's basketball team will finish with a winning season. That was clinched on Saturday with the Tigers' 72-71 win over Drexel. Towson is now 16-13 overall but even more impressive is their 11-5 record in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

Coming into this season, the closest the Tigers had ever come to a winning conference record was in Gary Neal's senior season in 2006-07 when they were 8-10. If head coach Pat Skerry is not the CAA Coach of the Year, there ought to be a serious investigation.

Coming off of last year's 1-31 season (1-17 in the CAA), this turnaround has been phenomenal. The hard work of every member of this staff, players, athletic trainers, strength coaches, and managers should be so proud of what they have done for this university we all love.

Having been around for all 17 of the losing seasons, I know this year has been very special. By beating Drexel on Saturday, the Tigers swept the Dragons for the first time since 2001-02. If the Tigers can beat Hofstra this Saturday, it will be the first sweep of the Pride since 1991.

There have been some very dark moments over the last 17 seasons. There was the night the Tigers had a big lead against Drexel at the DAC back in 1998. Then-Tiger Derrick Newton threw a punch at the Dragons' Joe Linderman and got thrown out. Every call over the final seven minutes went against Towson, and the Tigers lost 72-71.

Then there was not once winning the Battle of Baltimore in the six years it was played (1998-2004). There was winning one conference game in 2002-03. So many sad bus rides and gloomy faces in airport terminals. 

Even last year, the Tigers went 1-31. But it was different from Day One. The atmosphere  created by Coach Skerry and his staff was not what I had felt over the previous 16 seasons. I also believe the culture of not just the basketball team, but the entire department changed with the arrival of Director of Athletics Mike Waddell. There is no denying Mike laid the groundwork for this program to be successful.

Coach Skerry took that foundation and built from it. This season is just the ground floor. It's solid and it's built to last. To paraphrase the great John Lennon, this season was just breakfast. We haven't even gotten to lunch or dinner yet. I don't know about everyone else, but I can't wait.


With this being the final season of the Towson Center, I have been counting down my Top 10 moments. My top three could all be No. 1 or No. 2. They all have one thing in common.: Head Coach Terry Truax

Terry took over the Tiger program from my partner and good friend on the Towson Sports Network, Hall of Famer Vince Angotti.  Vince coached the Tigers to the top of Division II during the late '70s. In 1979, the Tigers moved to Division I. The transition was not easy.  Once Vince decided to retire, the Tigers brought in an assistant from Mississippi State in Coach Truax in 1983.

Through his first five seasons, the Tigers never got over .500. But progress was made year by year. In 1988-89, the Tigers went 19-10 and lost in the semifinals of the ECC Tournament. The following year, the Tigers broke through by winning the ECC and earning their first birth into the the Division I NCAA Tournament.

The 1990-91 team brought back the man who finished as Towson's all-time leading scorer and assist leader, Devin Boyd. But they were without Kurk Lee, who in his senior year averaged 26 points a game. Chuck Lightening also returned for the Tigers. He was joined in the front court by junior college transfer Terrance Jacobs and freshman John James

Jacobs was only 6'3, but he played 6'8. There has never been a guy who got every ounce out of his talent like TJ. James ended up being the Tigers' all-time leading shot blocker.

On March 5, 1991, the Tigers took on Rider to try and repeat as ECC champs. The game was on ESPN with the winner going to the Big Dance. As it had for years, the ECC held its tourney at the Towson Center.

Close to 3500 were on hand as the Tigers battled back and forth with the Broncs. With less than a minute to go, the Tigers led 62-61. Lightening took a pass at mid-court and went in for a thunderous dunk. The crowd went as crazy as any I have seen at the Towson Center, and the Tigers went on to win, 69-63. As it had the year before, the crowd stormed the court as the Tigers headed to the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight year.

As had happened in the '89-'90 season, Towson was a 16 seed, and the Tigers gave the No. 1 seed a scare. In 1990, it was Oklahoma. In 1991, it was Ohio State. Director of New Media Damon Lewis claims to remember watching this game from his crib. Growing up in Michigan, you learn from birth to hate the Buckeyes. Even at that young age, his eyes were attracted to the Tigers' black and gold.

The Tigers gave Ohio State all they could ask for but eventually fell to the Buckeyes, 97-86.  Unfortunately, the Tigers haven't been to the NCAAs since. But after what we have seen this year, the wait may not be too much longer.

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