NCAA

Towson football coach, Rob Ambrose looking to help community during coronavirus pandemic

Towson football coach, Rob Ambrose looking to help community during coronavirus pandemic

After COVID-19 began to force statewide stay-at-home orders in March, Towson head football coach Rob Ambrose started to post on Twitter that he and his family are willing to assist others in the nearby community with running errands, particularly the elderly, sick and single parents. It's grown to him not just picking up medication or food, but running to the local landfill and doing yard work for others.

"As long as we were healthy," Ambrose said Monday, referencing he and his wife Melissa, "we just decided when this thing started that if anybody needed help, we were going to be there, whatever it is they needed. Funny, when it started, nobody really needed anything, and I talked to my staff about it and said, 'This is community service, we constantly do this. Now more than ever, it's important that people know that they have a safety net, that they don't feel helpless - that if they need, someone's going to be there to answer the call.'"

His offer to help others has been as meaningful as Ambrose's actions. Those who know the 49-year-old coach wouldn't be surprised because of the responsibility he feels toward helping others.

Towson Athletics has often been recognized for public service. The football team, which is coming off a second straight 7-5 season, played a big role two years ago in the athletic program winning an NCAA Division I competition that recognizes giving back to the community.

So while some of his players are volunteering back at home during the pandemic, Ambrose is helping to bring together his community near campus. 

"What it really did was it started a conversation between neighbors," he said. "Like, if this guy is willing to do this for anyone that he doesn't know, why am I not doing this for the guy next door or the elderly lady three doors down or the woman who has four kids and she's a single mom and working from home and homeschooling her kids? All of a sudden, that (social media) post kind of got people talking to each other and the people are casually just helping each other out."

Ambrose is looking forward to getting students back on Towson's closed campus in Maryland and doing what he does best - coach football at his alma mater. Now in his 12th season, he was recognized as the 2011 FCS coach of the year with the Eddie Robinson Award (now presented by Stats Perform), and he guided the Tigers to a national runner-up finish in 2013.

"We need to make decisions from intelligence and not fear as we move forward," Ambrose said. "People are our greatest resource on the planet, we need to take care of them.

"I know sports have always been something that people could look to keep us together, keep us happy, keep us sane in times of stress. I know people need it. I know I need it."

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A poll of 250 college basketball coaches reveals 74% want a semi-normal schedule this year

A poll of 250 college basketball coaches reveals 74% want a semi-normal schedule this year

Several college conferences across the country are preparing for the fall sports season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Big Ten announced on Thursday that it will go to a “conference-only” model for all fall sports. The Pac-12 followed announcing football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball will play only conference games. Earlier in the week, the Ivy League announced no sports would be played until January 1.

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More conferences are likely to follow shortly. But after fall sports, what will happen with winter sports and, specifically, with college basketball? Stadium basketball analyst Jeff Goodman conducted an interesting poll.

Of the 250 Division I head men’s basketball coaches (of a 353 total), 74% want a season with non-conference and conference play. Only 24% of coaches want to push the start of the season to January and play exclusively conference games.

One of the unique aspects of early-season college basketball is the non-conference matchups, sometimes in exotic locations. One of the most notable, the Maui Invitational, is planning to move forward as scheduled.

A handful of local teams are scheduled to travel to tournaments this November. Virginia and Georgetown will both head to Anaheim, Calif. for the Wooden Legacy. VCU is part of an eight-team field at the Charleston Classic and George Mason is reportedly traveling to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam.

There is plenty to be sorted out before the start of the college basketball season but for now, we will take some optimism from the men on the sidelines. 

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How Lamelo Ball playing in Australia factored into 5-star recruit Makur Maker’s decision to choose Howard

How Lamelo Ball playing in Australia factored into 5-star recruit Makur Maker’s decision to choose Howard

When 2020 five-star recruit Makur Maker committed to Howard University in D.C., he sent shockwaves through the entire landscape of the basketball world, becoming the first top recruit to announce his intent to play at a historically Black college or university (HBCU) since Earl Jones played for the University of the District of Columbia in 1980.

While the decision was intricate and monumental on a multitude of levels, Maker revealed an interesting layer of his decision-making process:

He thought of future NBA lottery pick LaMelo Ball.

"I figured if LaMelo Ball could go to Australia, play in facilities like that, and still be considered a top NBA prospect, why not Howard?" Maker said.

Ball's path to the draft very well may be one of the most remarkable in sports history. Fast-forwarding to his final season at SPIRE, Ball was not eligible to attend college, therefore he agreed to a deal with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia to play in the NBL. 

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The decision was heavily scrutinized nationally with many believing it would drastically decrease his draft stock -- one disclosed scout told USA Today “the untraditional route (NBL) will almost certainly cost him (LaMelo) once draft night approaches."

After averaging 17.0 points, 6.8 assists, and 7.4 rebounds in the NBL and having his season cut short due to a bone bruise in his left foot, Ball is in the conversation to go the number one overall in the upcoming draft.

Point made. 

"People also sleep on the competitive nature of the MEAC [Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference]," Maker said. "The pace and open flow style of play of the MEAC is more similar to the NBA, in my opinion. It’s a read-and-react league, so it will definitely help me get ready for the NBA."

Former head coach and NBC Sports Washington basketball analyst Jimmy Patsos, believes in Makers' decision and thinks it could spark a huge movement within college basketball. 

"If one person can lead a revolution, one person can lead a movement, this could be the guy," Patsos said on Friday. "Why not him changing the landscape of college basketball?"

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