BALTIMORE – Shawn Nadelen understood his connection to Towson’s four straight losing seasons might prompt some pause as he sought the school’s head coaching job.
Instead, he turned it into an advantage.
Nadelen was named the Tigers’ head coach on Sunday, filling one of two Mid-Atlantic openings in Division I. Towson will introduce him Tuesday at an on-campus press conference.
He replaces Tony Seaman, his boss for the last seven years. Seaman resigned May 9 after 13 seasons at the suburban Baltimore school.
The Tigers are coming off a 3-10 season, a fact Nadelen didn’t shy away from as he discussed his first head coaching job in a telephone interview on Sunday.
“I take responsibility, but I also had great insight into what I possibly felt we needed to correct and how we needed to go about making those a difference in those one-goal games,” Nadelen said. “I tried to point out what they’d see in with passion and a desire to build a great lacrosse team.”
Nadelen said he interviewed for the job Thursday, and athletic director Mike Waddell called to offer him the position Sunday.
Seaman took Towson to five NCAA tournaments, including the final four in 2001. Nadelen joined the Tigers’ staff for the 2004 season after a three-year stint as an assistant at Princeton. The 2001 Johns Hopkins graduate played in two final fours with the Blue Jays.
Seaman, who recruited Nadelen to Hopkins, was the first person the new coach called with the news.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach Seaman and what’s he’s done for me and how he’s supported me through the process,” Nadelen said. “He was happy for me. He was just happy that I’m going to be there and again try to carry on and build upon what he and coach [Carl] Runk established.”
Towson is an intriguing job in some ways. It has two final four appearances (1991 and 2001), yet it is 22-37 in the last four seasons while typically facing a difficult nonconference schedule. In the meantime, the CAA has grown more competitive with the addition of Massachusetts and Penn State and the continued improvement of Delaware and Hofstra.
Simply making the league tournament cannot be considered a sure thing for the Tigers. It’s a difficult situation for Towson, which already face a crowded local landscape of typically capable teams. The state’s other six Division I programs – Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary’s, Navy and UMBC – have all made the NCAA tournament at least once since the Tigers’ last trip in 2007.
Nadelen, then, will have some work to do improve the Tigers, who have not played a game as a top-10 team since an NCAA tournament loss to Cornell in 2005. Re-emphasizing Towson’s hardscrabble identity might be a way he goes about that task.
“I think we need to maybe get back to who we are as a program and understand the right people to bring to our university on the lacrosse side as far as recruits and get a bit more of that blue-collar edge,” Nadelen said.
Nadelen’s hire leaves Navy as the only vacant Division I job in the Mid-Atlantic. Richie Meade was ousted after 17 years on May 9, just hours after Seaman’s resignation was announced at Towson.