Towson University football coach Rob Ambrose has agreed to an extension, athletic director Mike Waddell said Thursday night.
Ambrose received three years on top of the two left on the deal he signed when he took the job in 2009. Financial terms of the new contract were not announced.
"It's more than a job to Rob," Waddell said of Ambrose, a 1993 Towson graduate. "He wants to build a championship program, not just from a professional standpoint, but for personal reasons."
Ambrose's new deal comes nearly three weeks after the Tigers finished a 9-3 season with a 40-38 loss to Lehigh in the second round of the Division I football championships, Towson's first postseason appearance as a Football Championship Subdivision team. Towson won the Colonial Athletic Association title for the first time.
Ambrose called it "an honor to get an extension and a new five-year contract."
In a telephone interview Thursday night, Ambrose said he took his family into consideration.
"With a wife and young kids, it was important to get some continuity," he said.
Ambrose said that he had been contacted recently through a third party -- "a very respected person in college football -- to gauge his interest in a Football Bowl Subdivision job. Ambrose declined to name the school or the person who contacted him but added that he never took the inquiry any further.
"I didn't have any much interest," Ambrose said. "The goal is to make [Towson] legitimate for a very long time."
Ambrose said his desire to remain at Towson has to do a lot with second-year athletic director Mike Waddell's aggressive marketing of the program, which included paying $60,000 to host a home playoff game that sold out Johnny Unitas Stadium for the first time in history.
"It's great to know that the people you care about so much care about you," Ambrose said.
Waddell, who acknowledged that Ambrose made him aware of the situation, said, "It's rare these days where as a coach you can live where you want to live and coach at a school that has so much meaning for you. The grass is not always greener [in FBS]."
Ambrose grew up outside Frederick, where his father was a high school football coach and his mother is a judge.
Ambrose said he began to discuss the new contract with Waddell early in the season but had to put discussions on hold as the Tigers were making their run to the school's first playoff since they were a Division II team in the mid-1980s. Ambrose has much higher aspirations for the program now than he did a year ago.
"I am confident that we can win a national championship at Towson as everyone is showing a strong commitment to create a positive environment across the board," he said in the statement.
Ambrose, 41, is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award given to the top FCS coach. Freshman tailback Terrance West (Northwestern) is in the running for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the top FCS freshman.
The extension for Ambrose follows the Tigers completing the biggest turnaround in Division I college football this season. Towson finished 1-10 last season and 2-9 in Ambrose's first season as head coach since returning to his alma mater.
"Rob and his staff are building a strong foundation that will give our football program an opportunity to sustain success over the long term," Waddell said in a statement that will be released by the school Friday. "The 2011 season has energized our campus with a swell of Towson pride, and as we move into a new year that will only continue to build. Our student-athletes are achieving on the field, in the classroom and represent our university in the community as we drive to establish ourselves as Baltimore's college football team. It takes time to build a football program and after three years, Rob's leadership has put us ahead of schedule in many aspects."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun