The 2013-14 athletic season is over for the Tigers' three major men's sports. Unfortunately, the men's lacrosse season came to an end last Thursday when the team lost in overtime to Drexel, 11-10. Towson was an inch from winning the game in regulation, but freshman Jack Adams' shot as time expired hit the crossbar. The Dragons won a minute and a half into overtime.
Making a little history
Even though the men’s lax team could not defend its Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship, the Tigers still finished with an 8-7 record. That means over the last two years, the football, men’s basketball, and men’s lacrosse teams have all had winning seasons two years in a row. Guess when the last time that happened at Towson was? Try never. Hard as it is to believe the Tigers' three major men’s sports have NEVER all had back-to-back winning seasons at the same time. It is a great time to be a Tiger.
As this year comes to a close, I thought I would share some stories about life on the road this past year. As always, not only were the games a pleasure to bring to you, but the road trips are always a blast. That’s due to the fact that I travel with a bunch of great guys.
During this football season, once again I was privileged to work with Tiger Hall of Fame quarterback Ron Meehan. We are always on the road with Zach “Junior” Maskavich and the Director of New Media Damon Lewis.
The season certainly started with a bang as the Tiger football team got its first FBS victory, defeating Connecticut, 33-18, on August 29. The four of us were flying high as we drove home from UConn until we got close to the George Washington Bridge in New York City. Construction or Governor Chris Christie’s minions had us gridlocked for several hours. At 1:00 a.m.!! The time flew by as Ron’s football stories got better and better. So did his career.
On September 28, the football team traveled to Long Island to take on Stony Brook. Ron and I were thrilled to have dinner at the home of former Tiger great defensive lineman Joe Varello. It had only been a month since the UConn victory, but it was amazing to learn from Ron how much better his career had gotten in the past 30 days.
We also got the chance to visit with one of the greatest Tigers of all, Sean Landeta. Sean and his son came to the game, and it was great to catch up with the Towson and hopefully one day NFL Hall of Famer. If Sean’s son is any indication, he is a better father than he was a punter.
Fast forward to the FCS semifinals on December 21 against Eastern Washington, and besides the football game, my memories will be of walking the streets of Spokane in a snowstorm with Meehan, trying to find him a Zero bar. You see, Ron has this superstition that for the Tigers to win, he has to eat a Zero bar before the game. We never did find one, but the Tigers were able to overcome that disadvantage and still beat Eastern Washington in one of the most exciting games in the history of the program.
Then there was championship week. We spent four days in Frisco, Texas, and the whole time was a memory we will all have forever. “Junior” Maskavich was schooled at miniature golf. Ron learned his son is not a big fan of his father wearing a cowboy hat, and Damon showed us all his Butler education made him a pop-a-shot expert.
Through all the great times, though, there was a moment that was not great. That night before the game, after the Tigers had had their final team meetings, getting back to their rooms was not a good experience. The players and coaches had to have a police escort back to the elevators, due to hundreds of North Dakota State fans that were taking full advantage of their time off from work. There were reports of Bison fans knocking on our players doors all night long.
The basketball team set a school Division I record for wins with 25. As I have for the last 10 years, I was joined by another Towson Hall of Famer in Coach Vince Angotti. Traveling with Vince is always neat. He has become a great friend, and we laugh and laugh on our road trips.
In Charleston, South Carolina, Vince went out with an old friend. Damon and I, along with basketball SID Dustin Semonavick later found a restaurant in Charleston called Poe’s. Apparently, the poet spent time in Charleston before coming to Baltimore. The team also got a visit on the bus after the game from movie star Bill Murray. He had nice things to say to the team after their 72-57 victory.
Then, there was the trip to James Madison on February 26. I always like to leave extra early for games, just in case you run into traffic. Or in our case get a flat tire. Our rental car did not have a spare. So we had to be towed 30 miles away from JMU on Interstate 81 to get a replacement car.
The tow truck only had room for three, so with the driver, me and Vince, there was nowhere for “Junior” to go. Except in the front seat of our disabled vehicle on the flat bed of the tow truck. I kept telling the tow truck guy we really needed to hustle, which made “Junior's” trip one he will never forget, going 80 mph on what was to say the least not a smooth ride.
Coach Pat Skerry and his team made the post-season of course, and Damon and I spent 48 hours in about the two most opposite places that there are in this country. First, Murray, Kentucky for a basketball game and then New York City for lacrosse.
Damon and I didn’t see anything alive that resembled a human for about two hours of our drive from Nashville to Murray. Less than two days later, we were landing in Queens at JFK. From there, a train to Long Island, and a taxi to the hotel. We actually lived the movie "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" on March 28. also found out that night Mr. Lewis is a huge fan of Kentucky boosters.
With lacrosse I work with former Tiger great Hunter Lochte. On March 7 we traveled to Marist. I warned Hunter Poughkeepsie, New York is not easy to get to, he didn’t realize how hard. We wound our way through country roads, and Hunter kept saying we can’t be going the right way. Google maps is one of the best inventions of our lifetime.
Finally, last week, Hunter, Damon and I traveled to Philly for the CAA lacrosse tourney semifinal. We all know of the devastation the rain storm did here in Baltimore. It wasn’t much different in Philly as we made our way to Drexel. A boat might have been a better mode of transportation. After the game was postponed, Hunter and I took Damon for his first Philly cheesesteak. Twelve hours later, Damon and I headed to Philly for what was our final road trip of the year.
It was a great season for those of us who live and die with our Tigers. As I thought back over this year to write this blog, it struck me by how lucky I am to work with so many great people.
I cannot wait to make more memories with all of these great guys again next year.
Until next week, hit’em straight!!