Combs scores new contract

6-5 year earns Towson coach 3-year deal

College Football

November 26, 2005|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

First, Towson football coach Gordy Combs delivered a winning season, under trying circumstances in a tough league. Then, he got to enjoy a more personal reward.

After making the Tigers a respectable member of the Atlantic 10, widely considered the best conference in Division I-AA, Combs has a new, three-year contract.

The deal, worth about $110,000 per year, brought a satisfying end to the 2005 season for Combs, who began the year under pressure to produce significant progress in the eyes of Dr. Robert Caret, the university's president.

One year after entering the A-10 by going winless in the league and 3-8 overall, after which Combs received a one-year extension, Towson finished 6-5, including 3-5 in conference play.

"For it to come to fruition like this is not just good for myself. We can continue the progress we've started to make," said Combs, who will begin a three-week recruiting period on Monday. "I think we have the blueprint [for success] because we've been through so many transitions. I'm used to switching gears. I'm very pleased this worked out."

Combs completed his eighth winning season in 14 years at the helm by doing it the hard way. The school restored scholarships to the program in 2003, and the Tigers have 39 scholarship players. About half a dozen were red-shirted this season. The NCAA allows up to 63 scholarships at Division I-AA, a limit Towson expects to reach over the next two years.

A three-game, midseason winning streak marked a turning point in Towson's season. It started with a 35-31 upset victory over then-No. 5 Delaware on Oct. 1, the Tigers' first A-10 win. A week later, Towson got its first league road win at Rhode Island, then easily beat Liberty in a nonconference game.

With a record of 79-69, Combs has been through many changes at Towson during his 36 seasons there as a player and coach. The Tigers have gone from Division III to II to I-AA. Since Combs became head coach in 1992, Towson has gone from a nationally ranked independent in 1993 and 1994 to a non-scholarship independent to Patriot League member before restoring scholarships and joining the A-10.

"Gordy Combs has played a critical role in taking Towson University through many stages of development," Caret said. "I am pleased that he will continue to fulfill that role as we move into a future that looks very bright with his leadership."

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

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