Coach: Towson to drop gymnastics, 4 other sports

Athletic director denies decision has been made

Colleges

January 27, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Dick Filbert, the school's longtime gymnastics coach, said last night that Towson University most likely will drop women's gymnastics and four minor men's sports in September, but the athletic director said that no such decision has been made.

The four men's sports that appear on the way out are swimming, cross country, outdoor track and field and indoor track and field, Filbert said.

"I've had an inkling this was coming for three years," said Filbert, who is in his 22nd year as the Tigers' gymnastics coach. "Then two years ago, I knew our support from the athletic department was vanishing when we couldn't even get an ad in The Sun when we were hosting our big East Atlantic Gymnastics League championship meet. We always used to at least get an ad in the paper."

Filbert said his team doesn't even merit a poster promoting its meets anymore.

His wife, Lynda, is an assistant coach for the team and she said last night, "It's close to reality. It's hard to understand."

Contacted last night, athletic director Wayne Edwards played down the entire scenario of dropping sports at Towson, saying, "It's all relevant to the new league [Colonial Athletic Association] we're in and to our funding. We're reviewing our entire sports program and haven't made any final decisions."

Edwards said: "We are working with consultants and any moves the athletic department makes would take gender equity in account." He also said the school stands at the bottom of the CAA in terms of funding.

Dick Filbert wants Edwards and school president Robert Caret to make a decision immediately on the future of his team.

"Our gymnasts are risking injury every day in practice and if they get hurt, they'll have no place to go if they wait until April to announce they're dropping the team in September," Filbert said.

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