Ten things you didnt know about Towson
Northwestern takes on Towson in its season opener on Saturday, and chances are most Wildcat fans know very little about the school or the program.
WildcatReport will scout the Tiger team later this week but for now presents 10 facts that you probably didn't know about the FCS school located outside of Baltimore.
1. The basics: Towson is a public university located in Towson, Md., just eight miles north of Baltimore. The total enrollment in fall 2008 was 21,111, including 15,231 full-time and 2,041 part-time undergrads. Towson is the second-largest public university in Maryland and produces more teachers than any other school in the state.
2. It's academic: The U.S. News & World Report ranked Towson University eighth in the Public Universities-Master's (North) category for its 2009 America's Best Colleges issue, and Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine named it one of the top 100 best values in public colleges for the 2008-2009 academic year.
3. What's in a name? Towson has gone by five different names in its 143-year history. It was founded in 1866 as the State Normal School, and then was called State Teachers College at Towson (1935), Towson State College (1963) and Towson State University (1976) before deciding on its current Towson University moniker in 2007.
4. Famous alumni: Graduates of Towson include John Schuerholz, president of the Altanta Braves; actors Charles S. Dutton and Howard Rollins Jr.; and Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. Tigers who made a name for themselves in the NFL include punter Sean Landeta (1985-2006), special teams dynamo David Meggett (1989-98), former first-round draft pick Chad Brown (1997-2007) and current Minnesota Vikings linebacker Madieu Williams. (Brown and Williams transferred to Maryland after starting their college careers at Towson.)
5. Movin' on up: Towson has played in three levels of NCAA football: Division III (1969-78), Division II (1979-86) and Division I-AA/FCS (1987-present). The high-water mark for the program was a national runner-up finish in Division III in 1976. They were last ranked in the FCS Top 25 at the end of a season in 1993.
6. Stability at the top: Towson began playing football in 1969 and first-year head coach Rob Ambrose is just the fourth man to lead the program. That's three head coaches in 40 years. Northwestern has had eight in that same span.
7. Johnny U's U: Towson plays its home games at Johnny Unitas Stadium (cap. 11,000-plus). The NFL Hall of Fame quarterback did not attend Towson (he went to Louisville), but he did play for the Baltimore Colts and sent three of his children to the school. Johnny U. began serving as community liaison for Tiger athletics just weeks before his untimely passing on Sept. 11, 2002.
8. Fond memories: Northwestern's women's lacrosse players have a special place in their hearts for Towson: they won the last two of their five straight NCAA national championships on the friendly turf of Johnny Unitas Stadium. The good news for the Wildcats is that Towson is hosting the event again in 2010.
9. Dancin' shoes: Don't laugh, but Towson is particularly known for its National Champion Dance Team. The squad won its 11th consecutive collegiate title in April 2009.
10. Remember him? Towson's basketball coach is former DePaul head man Pat Kennedy, who did not leave the Blue Demons program on the best of terms when he was forced out after the 2002 season.