Towson dismisses Jaskulski as coach

Men's basketball team had 4 losing seasons

0-28 vs. top 3 in league

College Basketball

March 21, 2001|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

In the end, Mike Jaskulski's 0-28 record against Delaware, Drexel and Hofstra was too much to overcome, and he was fired by Towson University yesterday.

"I was told at the end of the season I'd be retained, and then I was called suddenly into [Towson athletic director] Dr. [Wayne] Edwards' office Monday and given the news," Jaskulski said last night from his Hunt Valley home.

"I was caught completely off guard. I ran a program of integrity, graduated eight of nine players, and the ninth is working on his degree. Also, fund-raising and attendance are up.

"People can talk all they want about the graduation rate, but it doesn't mean a thing these days unless you win, and winning is the only thing we didn't do."

Jaskulski had a 37-76 record in four years at Towson and had one year left on his contract. His 12-17 record this past season was his best, but it didn't measure up to the high expectations that accompanied the arrival of Tamir Goodman.

"While I appreciated Coach Jaskulski's efforts and commitment, I feel a change at this time is necessary," Edwards said. "We're concerned with the program's lack of progress and with the level of competitiveness in America East, in particular a lack of success against Delaware, Drexel and Hofstra. Those are three schools with which we will continue to maintain [a] long-term athletic affiliation."

The leading early candidates to replace Jaskulski are former Towson assistant coach Jimmy Meil and current Catholic University coach Mike Lonergan.

Meil, an assistant coach at Wagner College on Staten Island, didn't want to comment on the vacant Towson position, but it's obvious he's interested and is a strong contender. Wagner College improved from 11-16 the previous year to 16-13 this season.

Lonergan did not return phone calls yesterday.

Lonergan guided Catholic to the NCAA Division III championship last week and is a hot name in coaching-vacancy circles.

A long shot for the Towson job is former Towson coach Terry Truax.

"I doubt if they'd be interested in me because of my differences with the school president [Hoke Smith]," Truax said last night.

Truax was fired four years ago and was replaced Jaskulski. At that time, Truax spoke out about the low pay (about $55,000 a year) he was receiving.

Jaskulski had to deal with the same financial restrictions, and felt he deserved another year to turn the program around.

"I always put a team that played hard every night on the court," Jaskulski said. "If that team stays together next year, I believe it will win. But Dr. Edwards did what he felt was right, and Dr. Smith endorsed it. I will accept it and move on. We'll all be better people for it."

Jaskulski took his firing well and spent some of the afternoon with his children.

"It was great to enjoy my family again," Jaskulski said. "You have to keep things in perspective."

Jaskulski said he didn't believe his recruitment of out-of-town players had anything to do with his demise.

"I'd do it the same way if I had it all to do over," Jaskulski said.

Edwards said, "It was not a fun thing to do, but a move I felt was necessary."

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