Two weeks ago, basketball coach Terry Truax was looking at other jobs, and high school recruits knew it. At the same time, Towson State was awaiting a conference transfer that would aid its athletic image.
Now, it appears that Truax will remain on board, and the Tigers have made the most significant basketball signing of his tenure, getting Dunbar guard Terrance Alexander, the area's top senior. Towson State teams, however, will be staying in the East Coast Conference because the North Atlantic told the Tigers it didn't want to expand after all.
Here is where Towson State, UMBC and the rest of the ECC stand as of yesterday afternoon:
Before the month is over, the conference is expected to make Buffalo its seventh member. The first weekend in May, the NCAA Division I Championships Committee will weigh the ECC's appeal to be included in next season's basketball play-in. Later in May, the ECC will decide where it will hold its 1992 postseason tournament. It has been held at the Towson Center since 1984, but UMBC athletic director Charlie Brown said the Retrievers are interested.
* Towson State swept UMBC in a baseball doubleheader yesterday, all but locking up an ECC tournament berth for the Tigers and sending the Retrievers scrambling. Towson State is 18-17-1 overall, 10-4 in the ECC, while UMBC dropped to 4-8 in the conference, 18-16 overall.
Jay Baker, a junior righthander, tossed a three-hitter as the Tigers took the opener 5-1. Jay Logwood, a junior from Randallstown, had a two-run triple, and Bruce Rupp, a senior catcher from Westminster, followed with a two-run homer in the fifth. UMBC jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second game, but Towson State came back to win 7-6 with four runs in the bottom of the seventh. The game-winning blow was a three-run homer by Erik Sheetz, a junior first baseman from Havre de Grace.
Weather permitting, the top baseball attraction this weekend is Clemson's visit to Maryland for games tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday. The Tigers are 35-6 overall and ranked No. 11 in the nation. Jim Crowley, a senior from Dulaney who's playing second base this spring, is hitting .389 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs. He's the son of former Oriole Terry Crowley, who is now batting coach for the Minnesota Twins.
In Division III, Frostburg State had won eight straight before dropping both ends of doubleheader to York. The Bobcats (15-9) are getting a big year from junior third baseman Mark Liller, who's hitting .449 with 26 RBIs. He's from Keyser, W.Va.
* Sonny Askew, the best player the Knights' soccer program ever turned out, has been tabbed by Essex Community College to take over the coaching vacancy created when Pete Caringi went to UMBC.
Nearly unstoppable at Patterson High in the mid-1970s, Askew continued as an All-America goal-scorer for Essex in 1976. He then became a back, and earned 20 international caps representing the U.S. National Team. Askew spent much of the last decade with various pro teams based in Washington.
* Maryland's Walt Williams is one of the 66 players who have been invited to try out for the United States basketball team that will play at the Pan American Games in Cuba Aug. 3-17. The trials will be held April 25-29 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Four players from NCAA champion Duke -- Grant Hill, Thomas Hill, Bob Hurley, and Christian Laettner -- are on the invitation list.
Williams, by the way, will most likely open the 1991-92 season Nov. 23 at Cole Field House against Mount St. Mary's.
* He didn't get the publicity of those Atlantic Coast Conference stars, but Coppin State's Larry Stewart was recognized as the outstanding player at an historically black college. Stewart was honored last Saturday in Atlanta, where he received the John B. McClendon Trophy.
Stewart, a 6-foot-8 forward, was not invited to any of the collegiate flea markets staged by the NBA. The last player from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference to go to the NBA was Larry Spriggs, who got out of Howard in 1981. Stewart and teammate Reggie Isaac went in the territorial phase of the United States Basketball League draft to Philadelphia, along with Maryland seniors Matt Roe and Cedric Lewis.
* The Northeast Conference holds its golf tournament in Altoona, Pa., today and tomorrow, and one of the favorites is Robert Morris' Shawn Hlavay, a junior out of Arundel . . . Joanne Fotia, a junior from Edgewood, has 27 goals and 11 assists for the women's lacrosse team at Salisbury State . . . The John Brady who is taking over the Division I basketball program at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., is not the one who works at Annapolis High. The new Samford coach was an assistant at New Orleans.