Truax finds a following in South Korea Ex-Towson coach lands consulting, practice work


January 22, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Shed no tears for Terry Truax.

A former Towson State basketball coach, he is being treated like a celebrity these days in Seoul, South Korea, where he is serving as a consultant/practice coach for an expansion team, the S.K. Knights, in the professional Korean Basketball League.

Truax not only has a four-month contract that pays him as much as he made in a year (approximately $65,000) coaching Towson, he has free room in Seoul, the use of a liberal expense account, an interpreter and the adoration of the fans who follow the team.

"They couldn't do enough for us," said Truax's wife, Pam, who returned to Towson this week with the couple's daughter, Ann, after they spent three weeks in South Korea traveling around with the Knights. "The people are lovely. I had a ball and Terry is having a great time. Terry has lost about 30 pounds because he eats so healthy over there. There are no dairy products or sugar. He eats fermented kimchi [cabbage] but hasn't been able to eat raw fish yet. He admitted he is getting a little sick of Korean food."

Most of the Korean fans are new to the game and they ask Truax to do things such as "fix the turnovers."

That hasn't been easy for the Hancock native since he first has to gain the respect of the players and the Korean head coach and then overcome language and cultural barriers.

Korean Basketball League rules dictate that Americans serve only as consultants and not head coaches and the roster is limited to two American players. Truax can sit with the team during games, but he can't do any coaching.

Most of the players in the league are drafted from colleges in Korea.

After a rocky 2-14 start for the S.K. Knights, they are playing .500 basketball and have reached a 7-19 record.

Pam Truax said the Korean players all love to shoot three-pointers, the players and coaches practice and live together year-round, the fans yell and cheer for both teams and the cheerleaders change uniforms every 15 minutes.

"If Terry's contract is renewed for next year, Ann and I will move to Seoul," she said of the Truax deal that began in November and runs into March. "There is also a possibility he might get a basketball coaching job in Japan. We just might wind up being globe-trotters."

Truax and the Knights spent this week out of Seoul on a road trip and he could not be reached for comment.

Hopkins soars at home

The Newton H. White Center at Johns Hopkins University has become one of the most feared basketball arenas in the state for opponents.

Through the first half of the season, the Hopkins men and women's basketball teams had reeled off 30 straight home-court regular-season victories.

The Hopkins women, led by senior forward Julie Anderson, have won 15 straight at home and the Blue Jays men, paced by senior forward Greg Roehrig, have a 15-game streak after last night's 66-62 win over Ursinus.

Anderson is averaging 17.1 points and 11.3 rebounds a game for the women's team, which is 13-2 overall and 5-0 in the Centennial Conference.

Roehrig is averaging over 17 points and 5.5 rebounds for the men, who are off to an 11-4 start overall and 3-1 in the Centennial.

Riley leaves UMBC post

The first face almost everybody has seen the past 18 years upon entering UMBC Stadium has been Barry Riley's.

No matter who was playing in the stadium, Riley was always on the scene from the start to the finish, making sure everything was in order at the facility.

All that will end tomorrow when Riley's resignation as UMBC's assistant athletic director of operations becomes effective.

Riley has been named manager for contractual services at the UMBC physical plant department.

Pickens No. 12 in nation

Morgan State junior Tiffany Pickens finished the 1997 volleyball season with a .381 hitting percentage to give her the No. 12 spot in final NCAA Division I statistics in that category.

Pickens and Morgan rolled to a 25-10 overall record and became the first Bears team in any sport to make it to a Division I postseason tournament.

The Bears averaged 2.21 aces a game, which put them in 13th place in the country in Division I.

Pub Date: 1/22/98

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