Combs rewarded with 5 more years

Football coach led Towson to best season since '94

State notebook

January 28, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

After the school's best season since 1994, Towson University signed football coach Gordy Combs to a five-year contract extension that would run through the 2004 season.

Combs, 49, led the Tigers to a 7-4 record and third-place Patriot League finish in 1999, his team fighting for a NCAA Division I-AA playoff berth up to the final week of the season.

The coach, who enters his ninth season this fall, has a 48-34 record at Towson.

"Coach Combs has done an excellent job in developing our football program into a highly competitive position within the Patriot League," Towson athletic director Wayne Edwards said in a news release. "I'm pleased with the progress, and feel the future for Towson University football is bright."

Though the season ended in November and his current contract was scheduled to end in June, the coach said that recruiting, the holidays and other engagements prevented an agreement before last week.

"I felt that was one of the important things," he said of the extension's impact on recruiting. "Our incoming freshman class would know that I would be around for their time here. It's a selling point."

As it is, the Tigers return nine defensive starters and seven offensive starters for next season.

The coach, a Baltimore native who says he never imagined he would stay in the area this long, is entering his fourth decade in the program.

"Can you imagine that?" said Combs, who played football at Dayton for two years before attending Towson. "I've been able to become an assistant to a coordinator to a head coach. All while we moved from Division III to Division II to Division I. It's been a great ride so far, and I'm looking forward to continuing it."

Arc attacks

Last week featured a pair of outside shooting exhibitions that went beyond the ordinary.

The first came on Jan. 19, when Western Maryland's first-time starter and freshman Greg Hill hit all eight of his three-point shots and scored 27 points in a 72-68 win over Gettysburg. It would have been 9-for-9 if his successful 50-foot-plus heave had beaten the buzzer.

Hill, who went to Ijamsville High in Frederick County, had scored 31 points in the season up to that point. Of course, he then went scoreless on Saturday against Johns Hopkins.

On Sunday against the Georgia Tech women, Maryland guard Marche Strickland -- already enjoying a respectable 15-point effort -- took it up a notch in the final 65 seconds of a 73-67 loss.

In that time, the sophomore from Kingston, Mass., cut into a 17-point Yellow Jackets' lead by hitting five consecutive three-pointers and finished with a career-high 32 points.

MEAC sweep for locals

A pair of Baltimore City basketball players -- Joe Brown and Monique Liddell -- earned Player of the Week honors from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Brown, a junior forward at Coppin State, had 36 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, as the Eagles beat Hampton and lost to UMES last week.

Liddell, a senior forward at Morgan State, had 30 points and 17 rebounds in a pair of Bears wins over Navy and Norfolk State.

JCs in the spotlight

Several Maryland junior colleges find themselves among the leaders in NJCAA Division I and Division II. Allegany Community College (20-1) is ranked No. 6 in Division I, while Dundalk CC (17-2) and Cecil CC (16-2) are No. 3 and No. 7, respectively.

Allegany is second nationally in team defense, allowing 65.1 points, while Dundalk and Catonsville CC (14-4) are among the nation's top scoring teams. Dundalk's 96.4-point average ranks fourth in Division II and Catonsville is eighth at 90.9 points a game.

Harford County CC's James Clark leads Division II scorers at 31.4 points. Anton Jennifer of Catonsville (27.4 ppg) and E.T. Jackson of Dundalk (26.3 ppg) rank third and fifth, respectively.


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