Confident Jaskulski Says Tigers Will Be Competitive

New Towson State Coach Makes No Brash Promises

April 26, 1997|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Mike Jaskulski played it safe yesterday when he was named basketball coach at Towson State.

He did not predict any trips to the NCAA tournament or give out any five-year plans for success.

He just talked about why he is the right man to lead the Tigers in the America East Conference and why he can survive in a recruiting world that often swallows up coaches.

Jaskulski said his six seasons as an assistant at Maine gave him insight into the America East and his four years as an assistant at the University of Miami (Fla.) introduced him to a broad recruiting base in many parts of the country.

But he stopped short of saying he would try to out-recruit ACC schools such as Maryland and North Carolina and Big East teams like Georgetown and Villanova.

"I'm not going to try and butt heads with North Carolina," said Jaskulski. "The key is targeting some of the top 300 players in the country early and telling them how much you love them in the fall, so you can get them to the altar by the early [November] signing date.

"If you don't do that, it always comes down to about 150 premier players that everybody is recruiting and you aren't going to have a chance against the top schools."

Jaskulski said he has a "good feel" for the caliber of players Towson State needs to win in the America East and knows many of them are in the Baltimore-Washington area as well as southern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

However, before dealing with the new players he hopes to bring into the Towson program, Jaskulski knows he has to soothe some wounds among current Tigers players who heavily supported assistant Jimmy Meil for the head coaching position.

"The players were a bit subdued when I met with them Thursday night," said Jaskulski. "I told them I had respect for them for being loyal to Jimmy for all the dedication he has given the program over 15 years.

"But I talked about how change is always uncomfortable and sometimes has to happen. I told them it was hard for me to get on the airplane Thursday and fly up here and leave my players and friends behind in the Miami program."

Jaskulski said he was meeting with Meil and the other Towson assistant, Fred Quartlebaum, last night to discuss the situation.

Towson State athletic director Wayne Edwards said yesterday the decision to name Jaskulski over Meil was "just a matter of picking the right person for the university. It didn't have anything to do with Jimmy doing anything wrong. He is a quality person and has done a great job."

Said Edwards: "Mike Jaskulski has been doing things at a higher level at Miami. Hurricane basketball has been characterized by quality recruiting, on-court success and academic achievement."

Jaskulski will get his feet wet quickly when the Tigers meet Michigan on Nov. 24 in the home opener. The season opener is Nov. 21 at American University.

Pub Date: 4/26/97

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