Ex-Towson coach Truax joins BayRunners as assistant

Ex-Terp Elliott IBL team's initial territorial selection

June 25, 1999|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

More than two years after the Towson University program dropped him, Terry Truax is coaching basketball again in the Baltimore area.

The Baltimore BayRunners, the International Basketball League franchise, announced yesterday that Truax, 55, will be an assistant to head coach Herb Brown. The team also said it had picked former Dunbar and University of Maryland forward Rodney Elliott as its first territorial player.

The team also introduced its logo, a blue-and-gray crab with apatch over one eye.

Truax, an All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection for the Terps three decades ago, coached Towson for 14 years (202-203 record), earning two NCAA tournament appearances, before his contract expired at the end of the 1996-97 season.

Since then, he's spent his time as an assistant coach for a Korean league team, coaching youth teams and working as a consultant on several basketball-related business opportunities.

Truax said that while he had gotten comfortable with life outside of college basketball, his hunger for coaching rose during the NCAA tournament. It was during this period that former Hawaii coach Bruce O'Neill asked him to work at a camp for professionals in Eugene, Ore.

There, he enjoyed the interaction with players minus the administrative duties that accompany college jobs.

"It was strictly basketball," Truax said. "That's when I realized that I was getting the passion back for coaching."

Truax's reputation for knowing the Baltimore area basketball scene is to his advantage because each team has three territorial selections -- picks of players whose home areas are within 100 miles of each franchise.

More important to BayRunners general manager Greg Smith was Truax's aptitude for the community outreach that the IBL will stress.

Smith said that, in speaking with Truax, "I didn't ask about X's and O's, but I asked him if he's willing to do camps and clinics.That's the first thing he wanted to talk about and that's why I wanted him for this team."

Truax played a role in selecting Elliott, 23, who averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds last season while playing for FLV Anthlon Ieper in Belgium. He has a low six-figure offer from another European team, Limoges of France.

While IBL officials are hoping the charms of home will attract the 6-8 forward, he missed yesterday's news conference while working out for the NBA's Toronto Raptors.

His agent, Frank Catapano, said Elliott has workouts scheduled with Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami, in addition to prior appointments in Milwaukee and Boston.

"We're trying to get the most exposure for him, where he wasn't able to get it last year because of the lockout," Catapano said. "We're very interested [in the IBL]. We're very happy with the coach and we're happy that it's a city that [Elliott] comes from."

Pub Date: 6/25/99

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