Citing a Southwest Conference interview process that laste several weeks longer than he anticipated, Terry Truax said last night that he would withdraw from consideration for a job with that league and remain as the basketball coach at Towson State for the 1991-92 season.
"I'm not conceding, and no one has forced the issue, but I never had any intention of being involved in this process this long," Truax said. "One way or another, I want to try to put this behind us."
Truax and Chuck Nagle, an associate athletic director at Bowling Green (Ohio) State University, were interviewed last Wednesday a Southwest Conference committee searching to fill a new position of assistant commissioner in charge of basketball operations. Truax had a regularly scheduled compliance meeting with his players the following day, and told them he wanted to have the situation resolved by last night.
"I told them I hoped a decision would have been made by tonight," Truax said last night. "Classes started last week and there are a number of important things starting regarding our program this week. I wanted to get this settled now. Initially, I thought that the appointment to this position would be made in mid-August. It's the second week in September."
Truax's name surfaced in July as a candidate for a new assistant commissioner's position in the SWC. In August, he reportedly was one of two finalists for the director of basketball operations. When the other, John Erickson, an official in the Big Eight Conference, withdrew from consideration, Truax was reported to a front-runner, but at that time he still hadn't been interviewed.
He and Nagle were the only candidates interviewed at Southwest Conference offices in Dallas last week, but Truax was told the search committee would bring in others if they found neither acceptable. That would lengthen what has already been a too-long process for Truax, who stood to nearly double his salary if he had been selected.
Truax said he planned to meet with Towson State athletic director Bill Hunter this morning, then notify the Southwest Conference of his decision. He also had already scheduled a meeting with his players to discuss policies regarding study hall, preseason conditioning and other matters.
Towson State returns all but one player -- including all five starters -- from a team that went 19-11 and won its second straight East Coast Conference championship last winter. ECC Player of the Year Devin Boyd, all-conference forward Chuck Lightening and Terrance Jacobs will lead a team capable of winning 20 games.
All is not rosy, however, as membership changes will deny the ECC champion a berth in the NCAA tournament next March. Towson State's only entry into the tournament would be as an at-large bid.
"There are still a number of potential distractions facing the team, but I have every bit of confidence that our players will be able to deal with them," Truax said. "I didn't want the coaching situation to be another one."