- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
- Law firm that cleared N.J. Gov. Christie in ‘Bridgegate’ gave 10K to RGA, which he heads
- PETA ‘hopping mad’ at Michelle Obama for using real eggs at Easter Egg Roll
- Sneaky Nebraska toddler traps self inside claw machine game
- Biden to lead $600 million work force training effort
- Atheists’ Easter taunt to Christians: ‘Jesus is a myth’
- Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas City show
Towson football rises from the ashes
TOWSON, Md. — Rob Ambrose’s job isn’t finished. Far from it.
Still, the Towson coach is making things happen at his once-moribund alma mater.
Students cascaded onto the field Sept. 10 after a rout of Villanova, startling even Tigers players. The former CAA doormat cracked the Top 25 earlier this month in the former Division I-AA. And Towson, for so long viewed as a commuter school in the Baltimore suburbs, makes its first football visit to Maryland on Saturday in a game loaded with opportunity and symbolism.
It’s a welcome change from the grind of two long seasons littered with more bad days than good.
“I had a woman the first year I was here go ‘You guys have a football team?’ ” Ambrose recalled recently. “And I went ‘Yeah, we got uniforms and everything. It’s great.’ Now I walk into Dunkin Donuts and people I’ve never seen say ‘Hey, coach.’ “
Welcome to life in charge of a 3-0 team happy to dream big after earning just three wins over Ambrose’s first two seasons.
There were, Ambrose admits, plenty of rough times for reasons stemming from things far beyond Towson’s past and present coaching. For years, the school did not adequately invest in the program, and the Tigers’ results reflected the modest commitment.
Enter Ambrose, who returned to his alma mater after a seven-year stint on current Maryland coach Randy Edsall’s staff at Connecticut.
“I came to find out there were a lot of people on this roster who liked having a scholarship to play football, but did not like to play Division I football and did not like the commitment that was involved in that,” Ambrose said. “We spent over two years cleaning house in that way.”
There’s also a push to create awareness of the existence of Towson’s program. Ambrose’s offseason is filled with commitments, from speaking to youth groups and burn victims, rec league coaches and cancer patients, and anyone else who asks for an appearance from the 41-year-old who lives a two-minute drive from his office.
The returns are evident, both numerically and anecdotally. Six of the school’s top 12 football crowds were recorded since the start of the 2010 season. Hours after the 31-10 rout of national power Villanova, Ambrose received a standing ovation after walking into a restaurant on the edge of campus and spent the next half-hour signing autographs.
“There’s a different attitude that I do feel around this program today as opposed to where it was a year ago,” said Towson athletic director Mike Waddell, who was hired last fall.
Now, the Tigers will play on one of the most significant stages in the history of a program founded in 1969 when they visit Byrd Stadium.
Towson will face only its fourth game against a major-college opponent in its history Saturday, hardly a surprising number for a school less than a decade removed from playing in an non-scholarship league. But an in-state game - and a regionally televised one, no less — creates some local intrigue.
“If you ask any alum, they thought this game should have been going on regularly for 20 years,” Ambrose said. “Politically, financially, this game should happen because 85 percent of all the football money in the entire state of Maryland will stay in the state of Maryland that day.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- George Mason's defense dissipates in 84-74 loss to Northeastern
- Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard willing to let others put ball in the basket
- At 7-5, George Mason looks on the bright side entering CAA play
- Terps beat IUPUI, set for ACC after final tuneup
- Maryland's Jake Layman shows signs of progress in freshman season
Latest Blog Entries
By returning to Christian roots, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- Ga. judge won't stop new Vidalia onion rule
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- EDITORIAL: Intolerance at Brandeis silences Muslim dissident Hirsi Ali
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.