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Athletics
News and Notes From SID Emeritus
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 06/21/2013
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A NOTEWORTHY DAY …

Diamond $aves: The Tiger baseball team’s resolve and “we’ll show ‘em” season hardly went unnoticed, receiving national attention as soon as it captured the CAA championship to earn the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.

The Associated Press’ Eric Olson listed it number nine on his top ten topics in the 64-team field. Olson mentioned the similarity between Towson and the University of California Bears: “(Towson’s) story is reminiscent of the 2011 California Bears, who made it to the CWS two months after it had been announced their program would be saved, thanks to private funding.”

With a little creativity, the Bears’ program has been revitalized. Upgrades to their home field, Evans Diamond, have included lights and a video board. Average attendance for their PAC-12 night games skyrocketed to nearly 1,000. Revenue (they charge for admission) rose 101 per cent to almost $90,000.00. Hmm …

NBA Rings For Former CAA Players: The San Antonio Spurs fell just short in their quest for an NBA championship, dashing the hope of former Tiger great Gary Neal of becoming just the second ex-CAA player to win the coveted title. The Spurs extended the series to seven games before the Miami Heat prevailing 95-88 in the finale.

Gary played in all seven title series games for San Antonio, averaging 9.4 points and 24.4 minutes per game. The only former CAA player in the league’s 27-year history to win an NBA championship - Navy’s David Robinson with the Spurs in 1999 and 2003.

From Bad To Much Better: Three years ago, the combined record for Towson’s football (1-10), men’s basketball (4-26) and men’s lacrosse (3-10) teams was an embarrassing 8-46. In 2012-13 those three programs improved to 35-25 as football shared the CAA title, basketball produced the biggest turnaround in Division I history and lacrosse upset two heavy favorites in the conference playoffs to earn a return spot in the NCAA tournament.

Opinion: Three major reasons for the aforementioned success are Rob Ambrose, Pat Skerry and Shawn Nadelen. These guys are in their coaching prime and they’re putting out more energy than the nuclear power plant at Peach Bottom. Not to be overlooked as the ship sails in this new and exciting direction is the contribution made by its now departed helmsman, Mike Waddell. Athletic directors are convenient targets when the arrows start coming. However, Towson’s pile of recent wins, CAA championships and NCAA appearances demonstrate the program’s competitive rise is also linked to the vision, decisions and ideas of its leadership.

New Faces At The Net: There won’t be many familiar faces in the 2013 lineup for first year volleyball coach Don Metil. The Tigers were 25-4 last year including a whistle clean 12-0 record in CAA play but seven seniors plus highly decorated Katy Buck aren’t coming back. Katy graduated early, opting not to play her senior year, leaving Towson with just two regulars, Dayane Van Ass and Paige Sekerak and a host of untested underclass players.

One of the Tigers’ losses last year came at Virginia Tech where former Tiger coach Chris Riley leads the Hokies. Riley spent six seasons at Towson guiding the Tigers to five straight 20-win seasons, three CAA regular season  championships, the 2004 CAA tournament title and the 2004 NCAA Tournament. He was CAA Coach of the Year in 2003, and the America East Coach of the Year in 2001, compiling an overall record of 144-54. After seven years at Virginia Tech he is 124-94.

World Cup Time: Tiger women’s lacrosse coach Sonia LaMonica, recently named the Colonial Athletic Association’s Women’s Lacrosse  Coach of the Year for a third straight year, will be leaving for Canada soon to help her Australian mates compete in the Women’s World Cup in Oshawa, Ontario July 11-20.

Joining Sonia is her husband, Mike LaMonica, who serves as an assistant coach for Australia’s National Team. Mike is the son of Lynda Filbert, former longtime assistant gymnastics coach who helped her husband, Dick Filbert, build and maintain one of Towson’s most successful programs in the history of Tiger athletics. Sonia is a Darlington, South Australia native who helped her country capture gold in 2005 and silver in 2009.

U.S. Open: Former Kent State golfer John Hahn picked up some national television air time in the second round of the U.S. Open at brutal Merion. Hahn is the only two-time champion in the 15-year history of the Towson Men’s Invitational Golf Tournament, having captured medalist honors in 2009 and 2011. Another former Towson Invitational golfer, Keegan Bradley of St. John’s, was medalist in 2007. Bradley, currently the 12-ranked golfer in the world and winner of the 2011 PGA Championship, missed the cut with a +12 as did Hahn at +13.

Four-Peat: Megan DeGregorio, former Tiger cross country runner, became the first four-time winner in the 33-year history of the Bel Air Town Run. It was Megan’s fourth straight women’s title in the early June event, clocking an 18:12 for the 5K race that included a field of 1,513 runners. She finished 13 seconds ahead of the runner up. Megan McNew, daughter of Lonnie McNew, Towson’s former Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, finished third among the women in 19:47.


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