Did UMBC save Hawkins' job?


March 09, 1995|By GARY LAMBRECHT

Despite its first-round loss to Liberty in the Big South Conference tournament, UMBC's men's basketball team enjoyed its best season in six years. The Retrievers recovered from a 1-7 start to finish 13-14, including a third-place, 10-6 finish in the Big South.

Was it good enough to save the job of seven-year head coach Earl Hawkins?

Hawkins, whose contract expires this spring, will find out this week, possibly today.

"That [decision] is on Charlie [Brown, UMBC athletic director] and the administration. I think the guys responded to me this year," Hawkins said. "Being 1-7 and playing without our leading scorer and rebounder from last year [academically ineligible senior Kevin Bellinger], the players responded. If I'm not here, I did all I could."

Since the 1988-89 season, his first at UMBC, Hawkins has not had a winning year. After going 6-21 last season, Hawkins brought in a new coaching staff in Randy Monroe, Doug Nicholas and Eugene Pehoua-Peleha. They developed the Retrievers into the best defensive team in the Big South, guiding them to a 12-7 record over the season's last two months.

Hawkins' UMBC record is 77-119.

Move on hold?

UMBC hopes to follow Towson State into the North Atlantic Conference next year, but the Retrievers could be in for a longer wait. NAC commissioner Stu Haskell said the league's school presidents, who decided last year to add Towson State and Hofstra this summer, expanding the league to 10, have postponed discussions on further expansion for "at least one year, maybe two."

UMBC has notified the Big South of its intentions to withdraw from the conference in the summer of 1996. Retrievers AD Brown plans to rescind the withdrawal if the North Atlantic expansion talks drag on too long.

Beathard says so long

While Towson State prepares for its first season as a Division I-AA, nonscholarship football program, the Tigers are adjusting to another sign of the times.

Tomorrow, secondary coach Kurt Beathard will leave Towson State after two seasons to become the secondary coach at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.

Beathard, 31, the son of San Diego Chargers general manager Bobby Beathard, threw for 4,768 yards and 38 touchdowns for the Tigers over two seasons in the mid-1980s. He returned to coach at Towson State after stops at Colgate, Bloomsburg, James Madison and Louisville. Kurt moves on to his first Division I-A job.

"I knew all along that Kurt would get a I-A job. Forget that he's Bobby's son. He's a real good coach and a good recruiter. We were 16-4 while he was here," said Towson State head coach Gordy Combs. "If I had another opportunity to hire him, I would, again and again."

Beathard's departure continues the downsizing of football at Towson State, where 25-year assistant coach Rich Bader was reassigned as the Towson Center ticket manager last fall. Combs has been left with three full-time assistants -- offensive coordinator Jay Robinson, running backs coach Jim Hagan and receivers/special teams coach Rob Ambrose. Hagan and Ambrose have restricted-earnings positions.

Making their splashes

Johns Hopkins and Frostburg State will send some strong representatives to the NCAA Division III swimming and diving championships, which begin today at Wesleyan University (Conn.).

Senior Michelle Mazur will represent Frostburg State. As she did last year, Mazur has qualified to compete in two events at the national meet. Early this season, she qualified for the 100-yard breaststroke, then followed that last month by qualifying in the 200 individual medley. She is the first woman in school history to break the five-minute barrier (4:56.63) in the 400 individual medley. She also owns school records in the 1,000 freestyle and 200 individual medley.

Seven swimmers from Johns Hopkins qualified for the national championships: senior Whitney Jordan (100 freestyle, five relays), junior Ann Girvin (200 individual medley, 100 butterfly, five relays), sophomore Tanya Kowalczyk (200 IM), sophomore Shayn Peirce (200 IM, 100 and 200 backstroke), sophomore Lori Starowitz (400 medley relay), freshman Rocio Lopez (100 and 200 butterfly) and freshman Kelly Vikstrom (100 backstroke).

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