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Athletics

By: Mike Hermann, Director of Athletics

Recently, the sports editor of the Towerlight posed an interesting question to me. Why should the students believe that this is the year to rally behind the Tigers?

 

I have to admit the question took me by surprise! I may be a little of a Pollyanna, but I thought you were supposed to believe in your team. After all, it’s YOUR team!

 

Stepping back, maybe I can understand the question. The last winning men’s hoops season at Towson was in 1995-96. Most of this year’s freshman class was entering the first grade when the Tigers were 16-12, not a great mark, but above .500 for the last time. The last 20-win campaign the 1993-94 season when the Tigers were 21-9. And I began to think back to last November, following the promising record of 15-17 in 2006-07, when we slipped back to a 13-18 mark in 2007-08.

 

After the fog cleared in my mind, I snapped my response back to the Towerlight writer that the signs were clearly visible. It was the first time head coach Pat Kennedy had all of his own players. Last season, he had five players in suits behind the bench, sitting out for a variety of reasons transfers, injuries, academics. Those five will be big contributors. And, the team has 65% of its offensive firepower from last season returning. Plus, the program has added three strong recruits. The team is deeper, more talented than ever before. As an athletics administrator that had seen Xavier teams march into the NCAA Tournament on a regular basis and watched the Niagara program return to the dance for the first time in 35 years, I felt I was qualified to say that Towson had the tools to turn the corner! I defended the program!

 

But maybe I shouldn’t have. They say in sales, as soon as you begin to defend, you lose the battle. When asked why the students should believe, I should have responded with “Why not?”

 

Believing in a team is a lot more fun than not believing! It’s much better than sitting back waiting waiting to be sure - waiting to see if the team will be successful. What if the team is successful and you missed the ride because you waited to be sure? And, I can tell you from my time at Xavier and Niagara, even when the ride does not end with a final stop at the NCAA Tournament, it’s quite the thrill!

 

The name of the front of the jersey reads “Towson.” Coaches use that fact all the time to motivate players to sacrifice for the good of the team. It’s also a great reason for the students and the Towson community to get behind the team. It’s OUR team. Let’s create the atmosphere at home games that visiting teams talk about after the game it’s the atmosphere that creates the home court advantage.

 

After last Sunday’s game at Niagara, our players were talking about the atmosphere. I can tell you that the atmosphere has not always been there. I saw a student crowd that believed and had fun. The team delivered a win, but by the time the game ended, the fun was already had!  The win was just icing on the cake. And the community had fun, too. It was hard to find an empty seat and everyone enjoyed the celebrations of the students.

 That’s college basketball. It’s not professional basketball where fans sit back on the seat waiting for the game to get important. It is college basketball where fans sit on the edge of their seat believing, hoping, and cheering for the hometown team. I know this is the year to believe in the Tigers because I know that’s the way to have the most fun. It’s the time in the college basketball season when we should all believe. I hope to see you at the Towson Center this season, wearing black or gold and creating that special college basketball feeling. This is YOUR team and YOUR chance to believe!  

 

 


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