A lot of changes have taken place at Towson University over the last three decades, but when it comes to the Tiger men’s soccer program, one thing has remained constant - its head coach.
Frank Olszewski has been the Tigers’ leader since the 1982 season, guiding the program to a phenomenal amount of success.
The winningest coach in Towson soccer history, he has a record of 283-217-49. He is one of five Colonial Athletic Association coaches who have at least 200 career victories.
During his tenure as the coach, the Tigers have been strong contenders in four different conferences - the East Coast Conference (1983-91), the Big South Conference (1992-95), America East (1996-2001) and the Colonial Athletic Association (2002-present).
In 31 seasons, the Tigers have reached their conference championship game nine times and won four league championships. In 2001, Towson made its first NCAA Division I Tournament appearance after winning the America East championship. The team returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2006, reaching the round of 16 before losing to third-ranked Wake Forest, 2-1.
Coach Olszewski has been honored as conference Coach of the Year four times. In 2006, he earned the CAA Coach of the Year award after leading the Tigers to a league-record 10 conference wins.
Over the last 18 seasons, the Tigers have posted 14 winning records.
In 2012, the Tigers featured a talented young goalkeeper in freshman Felix Petermann who was named to the CAA All-Rookie team and finished third in the league with 66 saves. Offensively, the Tigers were led by CAA First Team Selection Olakunle Banjo. The junior forward led Towson with four goals and 12 points.
The 2011 team was a young squad that boasted talented players like Olakunle Banjo and Christian Höfer. Banjo missed four games during the season and still managed to be selected as a third team All-CAA pick, with four goals and 10 points. Towson finished with a 3-11-2 record, but had a 2-1-1 record in league play over the final two weeks of the season-the best record in the CAA over that time.
After posting a 7-10-0 record in 2009, the Tigers rebounded to post a 9-6-2 record in 2010, including a perfect 6-0-0 mark in non-conference action.
In 2008, the Tigers earned an 8-5-4 overall record and just missed a berth in the CAA Tournament by posting a 4-3-4 mark in league play.
In 2007, the Tigers finished third in the CAA with a 7-4 conference record and advanced to the CAA Championship Game before falling to Old Dominion in a penalty kick shootout. The Tigers posted a 12-7-2 overall record and with a victory over George Mason on November 8, they presented Coach Olszewski with the 250th win of his career.
In addition, goalkeeper Billy Chiles earned second team All-America honors and became the fifth player during Olszewski’s tenure to earn All-America notice.
Seven years ago, the Tigers had the best season in the program’s history, compiling a 15-2-3 record and ending the year ranked 15th in NCAA Division I. With a 10-0-1 CAA record, Towson set a conference record for most league victories in a single season while winning the conference regular season title. The Tigers earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and were seeded 15th, receiving a first-round bye before beating Fairfield by a 2-0 margin.
In 2005, the Tigers earned a berth in the CAA Tournament for the second time. After an 8-1 start which earned them top 20 recognition, the Tigers finished fifth in the CAA with a 4-4-3 league record. With a final record of 10-6-3, the Tigers were ranked sixth in the final South Atlantic regional poll, the highest-ranked team in the region that didn’t earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament.
In May, 2004, Olszewski earned one of the greatest honors of his career when he was inducted into the Maryland Soccer Hall of Fame by the Oldtimers’ Association.
In 2004, the Tigers bounced back from their worst season under the coach’s guidance to post an 8-7-2 record. Towson was the tenth-most improved team in the nation.
Prior to the 2003 season, the Tigers posted eight consecutive winning seasons, the longest stretch of winning seasons since the program was started in 1921.
In 2002, the Tigers finished the year with a 10-8-2 overall record. Towson ended its first Colonial Athletic Association season with a 4-4-1 league record. The Tigers made the CAA playoffs as the number four seed and beat fifth-seeded James Madison, 3-0. But, the Tigers lost to nationally-ranked Virginia Commonwealth in the CAA semi-finals.
On September 26, 2002, the Tiger coach joined exclusive company when the Tigers beat George Washington, 4-0. That victory gave him 200 career wins, making him one of 32 active NCAA Division I coaches with 200 victories.
In 2001, the Tiger coach enjoyed another great season as the Tigers won the America East championship in their final league season and made their first appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament.
It was a memorable trip. In the opening round of the NCAA College Cup, the Tigers beat CAA champion James Madison, 4-1. It was the largest margin of victory in the tournament’s 16 first round games.
However, the season ended in the second round when North Carolina beat the Tigers, 3-0. The Tar Heels went on to win the NCAA title while Towson ended the season as the 25th-ranked team in the nation.
The Tigers’ final 16-5-1 record was the best mark in school history.
In their final season as members of America East, the Tigers compiled an 8-2-1 league record and were seeded third in the six-team conference tournament.
After a 2-0 opening round win over New Hampshire, the Tigers stunned second-seeded Hartford on the road, 2-1. When fourth-seeded Northeastern beat top-seeded Boston University, the Tigers hosted Northeastern in the league championship game.
An incredible goal by Alfonso DeMares early in the second half gave the Tigers the only goal they needed as the defense shut out the Huskies, 1-0, to win the title and earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
In seven years of America East membership, the Tigers were one of the top teams on an annual basis. Over the years, they had a very impressive 42-20-3 league record. They qualified for the league playoffs five times in seven years and finished as America East runners-up in 1995, 1998 and 1999 before winning the title in 2001.
In 2000, the Tigers came on strong after a slow start. Towson opened the season by losing six of its first nine games. Towson went 6-1-1 in October to finish in a second place tie in the league standings with Vermont. But, Towson’s season ended in the semi-finals of the tournament when they dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Vermont.
In 1999, Olszewski guided a very young Towson team to an 11-4-4 record that included a second straight league championship game appearance and a number seven regional ranking. In the America East Tournament, the Tigers edged Northeastern by 1-0 in overtime in the semi-finals. In the finals, Towson dropped a 2-0 verdict at Hartford.
A two-time America East Coach of the Year, Olszewski became the winningest coach in Towson soccer history in 1998 while leading the Tigers to the America East regular season championship.
Olszewski etched his name into the Towson record books on October 23, 1998 when the Tigers beat New Hampshire by a 2-1 score. That win enabled Olszewski to earn his 157th career victory as he eclipsed the mark of 156 held by Doc Minnegan, who coached Towson for 29 years. Minnegan is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
In 1998, the Tigers won seven straight league games to finish the conference season with an 8-1 record and the regular season title. The Tigers advanced to the championship game with a 2-1 win over Hofstra before third-seeded Drexel upset them to win the title, 2-1.
In 1995, Towson made its debut in the America East and it was an impressive one. The Tigers opened the season with eight straight wins and spent most of the season ranked among the top 20 teams in NCAA Division I. They finished with a final national ranking of 20th and posted a 14-4 record. In their first season in the league, the Tigers were runners-up and Olszewski was honored as the conference’s Coach of the Year.
Over the last 15 seasons, Towson has compiled a 164-119-30 record while competing in three different leagues.
From 1989 to 1991, the Tigers left their mark on the now-defunct ECC by winning the last three ECC titles. Towson beat Drexel by 2-1 to win the 1989 championship as Olszewski earned ECC Coach of the Year honors. Towson and Drexel tied for the 1990 title and the Tigers edged Rider by 2-1 in 1991 for the title.
A native of Baltimore, Olszewski became the Tigers’ coach under difficult circumstances. After four years as an assistant coach to Rich Bartos, he was named as interim head coach in September, 1982, when Bartos lost a battle with leukemia. In his first season as the Tigers’ coach, he led Towson to an 8-9-2 record. After the 1982 season, he was named as the Tigers’ head coach on a full-time basis.
In 1984, the Tiger coach led his team to its first ECC playoff appearance. The Tigers posted an overall record of 11-6-2 and won the ECC East Section title. Towson advanced to the conference championship after winning a penalty kick shootout against Delaware. But, the Tigers lost to Lafayette in their first ECC title game appearance.
A 1978 graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Olszewski was a four-year starter for the Blue Jays and helped Hopkins reach the NCAA Division III Final Four in 1975. In 1977, he was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic Team. He was picked by New York in the professional indoor league draft. He earned his Psychology degree from Hopkins and his Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Maryland.
Very active in NCAA soccer activities, he has served as the regional chairman for the NCAA championship tournament. He has also been a member of the regional selection committee for several years. In addition, he has been a member of the Maryland Olympic Developmental staff and the Eastern Regional Olympic staff. He has his USSF “A” License.
In the Spring of 2008, Coach Olszewski was selected to the U.S. Soccer National Teams Staff as a scout, working specifically with the Development Academy.
Coach Olszewski and his wife, Diane, reside in Lutherville. They are the parents of two children, Frank and Kaitlin. Frank Jr. is a Towson University graduate who played golf.