Seaman lands on feet, taking over at Towson Former Hopkins coach out of work only a week

July 01, 1998|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

A whirlwind week has landed Tony Seaman just 5 1/2 miles north on Charles Street and back into Division I lacrosse.

Seaman, who was forced out as coach at Johns Hopkins on June 22, has resurfaced only a week later at rival Towson University, becoming the Tigers' sixth lacrosse coach in the program's 40-year history. He replaces Carl Runk, who was asked to step down in early May after 31 years as coach.

"This is a great opportunity. I would not have dreamed in the whole world that it could work out so quickly," said Seaman, who has a 151-70 record in 16 years in Division I.

"It's incredible that they would even allow me the opportunity so late in their search, but I'd go through it again a million times. It's very exciting for me, because it lets me do what I like to do, which I think do well. I'm excited and ready to go."

Towson began its search two months ago and two weeks ago whittled down a list of 60 applicants to Washington College's John Haus, Nazareth's Scott Nelson, Loyola assistant Bill Dirrigl and Navy assistant Matt Hogan.

The Tigers had planned to pick Haus out of that pool last week before Seaman became available, a source close to the selection committee said yesterday.

And Seaman immediately shook up the selection process when he called Towson athletic director Wayne Edwards about the vacancy on the same day he was forced out at Hopkins. After several talks with Edwards and an interview with the search committee, Seaman quickly became the overwhelming favorite by the end of last week.

"We felt Tony's experience and proven success at the Division I level as a head coach made him the best candidate," Edwards said.

The swift hiring of Seaman took many Towson players by surprise, but they sounded ecstatic about his arrival.

"It's like the next thing, you know. Coach Seaman is up for the job," said Spencer Ford, an attackman who was one of three players advising the selection committee. "Then we're like, it's automatic -- he's got to have it. How could he not? It's going to be an honor to play for him."

"This is a great turnaround, quick and for the better," midfielder Todd Paradise said. "He's one of the best coaches in the country. So we're in great hands."

Seaman, the ninth-winningest active Division I coach, has one of the most impressive resumes in college lacrosse.

He directed Penn and Hopkins to the NCAA tournament in 14 of 16 seasons, advancing to the final four five times. The Quakers haven't been the tournament since Seaman left in 1990.

Known as an innovator offensively, Seaman has always molded his teams around the talent available, producing 15 winning seasons.

But Towson fans shouldn't anticipate a run at the national championship next year. The school has had consecutive losing seasons for the first time in more than three decades and hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 1996.

"There's going to be a transition, with a new philosophy and different coaching," Seaman said. "After you get established, it's a lot easier. We can't expect miracles."

When asked if he is looking forward to next season's matchup with Hopkins, Seaman said: "I don't think you can pick out any one team on our schedule and say this is going to be the most important game for some ridiculous reason. I would be just as happy to watch the [Syracuse] Orangemen walk out of here with their tails between their legs. I have no preference on who we beat."

Pub Date: 7/01/98

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