When Ex-westminster Lineman Talks About Tsu Football, Thousands Listen

October 20, 1991|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing sports writer

Vaughn Harman always has had plenty to say about Towson State football.

It's just that more people hear him now.

Westminster High graduate Harman, a four-year starter for Towson State and a member of the Washington Federals team of the U.S. Football League, is the new color commentator for Towson State's football broadcasts on WITH-AM.

Harman had helped Towson State as a part-time volunteer coach for several seasons after his December 1981 graduation. He drifted away, however, in the past few years following the birth of his two daughters.

That changed when Towson State began looking for a color commentator after it landed its first commercial radio contract.

"They wanted somebody from within the program," said Harman, a product manager at Xerox in his day job. "They wanted somebody who had played at Towson State."

Harman fit the bill and was selected.

He said the transition has been easy and that he loves it.

The biggest problem so far in first year is that most of winlessTowson State's games have not been too close in the second half.

"In the second half, you find a lot of dead air time," said Harman, who will do all of Towson's games. "We've gotten better at (filling) it."

Harman said his biggest fears were talking in a monotone and sounding too technical on the air. So far, neither concern has become a problem.

"The hardest thing (is) trying to make sure you are giving the information people want to hear," said Harman. "You don't want to get too football-specific. I try to give people a perspective that they're right there."

Harman, who is paired with play-by-play announcer Spiro Morekas, said that despite the fact that he was a lineman, he does not pattern himself after other linemen-turned-announcers like Dan Dierdorf or John Madden.

Although Harman enjoys being behind the mike, he is not ready to give up his job at Xerox.


"There's opportunity out there (in broadcasting)," said Harman. "You never know where it's going (but), I wouldn't want to do anything that . . . would jeopardize something I do at Xerox."

That's because Harman has spent a lot of time building a career at Xerox. He has been with the company since his professional football career ended inthe spring of 1984.

Harman was a three-year starter at defensive end and offensive tackle at Westminster before he graduated in 1977.

He then went to the University of Delaware, but was not happy there and transferred to Towson State at the start of his second year. Since he was moving from a then-Division II school to a then-Division III school, he retained all four years of eligibility. Towson was a Division III school until 1978, then became Division II until 1987, when they moved up to Division I-AA.

Harman started all four years for the Tigers, the first three at defensive tackle and the final at offensive tackle. He also was Towson State's first academic all-American and graduated with a degree in business.

The then-Baltimore Colts signed him to a free-agent contract in the spring of 1982, and he went to camp. Harman was starting at guard before stretching a ligament in his right ankle and developing tendinitis.

After being placedon injured reserve, he was there when the players went on strike. When the strike was settled, Baltimore released Harman.

His ankle bothered him through the winter and the start of the fledgling USFL. Hegot a tryout with the Washington Federals after the first week, madethe team and lasted the season.

In fact, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound guard started the final seven games of the 1983 season. The next year, however, two-a-day practices were just too much for his ankle, and Washington let him go on the final cut.

Harman then had a shot at becoming part of the Michigan Panthers (defending USFL champion) as amember of the developmental squad, but he said no. He also turned down a chance at making the New Orleans Saints of the NFL and went about making a normal life outside of football.

He hooked on with Xerox and has been there ever since, living in Baltimore County. Harman said he just didn't want to be a player who hung by the phone, waitingfor yet another phone call and one more tryout.

In fact, the night he accepted his Xerox job, he received a tryout offer from the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL. Harman said he would come if Seattle gave him a large bonus for coming out. The team said no, and his career was over.

Harman stayed in contact with Towson State, though, assisting as a part-time coach. He worked with the players and aided the growth of Towson State football.

Life slowly changed for Harman. He isnow down to 225 pounds and still enjoying football. Harman calls this just another phase for him.

Harman is not bitter that his football career was shortened due to injuries (his ankle still bothers him). He loves to talk football and said one of his favorite memories in football featured Joe Ehrmann, a long-time Colts defensive lineman who taught Harman the tricks on the other side of the line.

The two wound up, ironically, playing against each other in the USFL. Harman was blocking for Washington, Ehrmann across from him with Chicago. And the teacher looked across at the student and said, "Relax, Vaughn, relax."

Now, it's another story he can tell on the radio.

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