Q&A with Towson AD Mike Waddell
Whether you want to argue that Tony Seaman resigned or was forced out as the head coach at Towson, there’s no denying that the Tigers are looking for a new leader. The man behind that search is athletic director Mike Waddell, who spoke about the reasoning behind Seaman’s departure, the status of the program on the national level and the qualities he’s seeking in a successor.
What went into this decision at this time?
This was obviously not a strong season, but if I’m looking at it across the board in recent history, we’ve not been able to get over the top. That’s the best way to put it. There are a number of ways that we just haven’t won the big game. We’ve been in some big ones over the last few years, and it’s not been something to where we’ve won the championship or advanced onto the NCAA tournament. We haven’t won an NCAA tournament game here since the early 2000s. … I think it’s our results against our local teams that have really made me take a look. It wasn’t just the 2011 season. But I think there were some expectations coming off of last year about where we were going to be. For whatever reason, when I looked at it – not just over my time here, but also over the last four or five years – I saw a program that was … I don’t know if we were going up. I think we were more or less at a point to where we needed a little burst of momentum.
Would you say that a new, fresh approach from the top was needed?
Obviously, we’re making a change. We’re obviously very thankful to Tony. The guy’s a legend, and this is one that weighs on you. You want to make sure that you’re making the right call for the kids, and that’s what this is. I looked at it and evaluated it, and it was a decision we made to move in a different direction. It’s our hope that Tony and his family will remain a strong part of Towson athletics for many years to come. He and I are talking about ways to possibly get that done.
Is this a program capable of competing for championships?
This is a program that should be at the top of the Colonial Athletic Association. It’s a program that has the potential to do great things on a national scale, and we have to approach every day with that sense of urgency, that sense of we’re going to get it done. It’s easy to sit back and look around and say, ‘Well, we could do this, but for this.’ We need leadership moving forward that’s going to look at it and say, ‘This is a challenge, but I’m not going to be satisfied unless we’re winning.’ … This is a program at Towson University that should – year in and year out – be competing for a championship and win one every now and then.
What are you looking for in the next coach?
If you look at who we hired as our next basketball coach [former Pittsburgh assistant Pat Skerry] and our women’s golf coach [former Towson assistant Kate Stepanek], I want somebody who’s very aggressive on the recruiting, high-energy, somebody that’s going to cast the net far and wide. We want to recruit Baltimore, we want to recruit Philly, we want to recruit Long Island, we want to recruit the whole Tri-State area on the East Coast. But lacrosse is a national game. It’s growing, it’s expanding, it’s international. We can’t limit ourselves to any one region because we want to get the best players and have them come in here and get a diploma and a ring. That’s the goal. It’s R&D, championship rings and diplomas from walking across the stage, knowing that you got a first-class education from one of the best universities in the nation.
Are you looking for candidates with head coaching experience or younger hopefuls who might be toiling away as assistant coaches?
I don’t really want to paint myself into a box either way. I want to get the best fit for Towson University. There are a lot of very qualified people out there that are on a very short list that we have. I’m sure there are going to be other people that reach out to us. It was not prerequisite in my last two coaching hires that they had been a head coach. So I wouldn’t say that’s a prerequisite here either. I think there’s a high interest level in the job. I think we have a great job, I think we have great facilities, I think we have a great university, I think we have the tradition in lacrosse going from Carl Runk to Tony Seaman. We play in the heart of lacrosse. So the coaches that want to come here and coach want to be in the best place for lacrosse. They want to be associated with a program with tradition, they want to be associated with an administration that will get behind them and give them the resources they need to win.
What’s your timetable for filling the vacancy?
When we did the basketball search, I wanted to do it within a month. So I’d like to get this down as soon as possible. Definitely within a few days after the Final Four, if not before.