Less than 24 hours after the unveiling of the 16-team field for the upcoming NCAA tournament, the men's lacrosse programs at Towson and Navy parted ways with their head coaches.
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Seaman, who had signed a series of three one-year deals after the 2010 campaign, couldn't hide his disappointment about being ousted, which was first reported by WNST 1570 AM.
"It's not the way I wanted to end my legacy at Towson," said Seaman, whose went 3-10 overall and 1-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association this past spring. "This is really the first bad year I've had since we joined the CAA and the first time we were ever under .500. Just disappointed because I think this team is going to be pretty good. We weathered the storm with some young people, and we're going to get better."
Former Army coach and current ESPN analyst Jack Emmer said the academy's decision to cut ties with Meade — whose team went 4-9 this season — was short-sighted.
"Richie has totally poured himself into the culture of the Naval Academy," Emmer said. "He's all about developing these young guys from a leadership standpoint to be better officers in the United States Navy. … He loves that role, and I can't imagine his former players would do anything but stand on their heads for Richie."
In a brief interview Monday evening, Meade — who compiled a 142-97 record with the Midshipmen, captured five Patriot League regular-season and tournament titles in six years, and qualified for the NCAA tournament seven times, including advancing to the championship final in 2004 — said the Midshipmen will be fine under new leadership.
"The Naval Academy lacrosse program is a ship in the Navy, and I was the captain of that ship," said Meade, who is 169-120 in 21 years at Navy and the University of Baltimore and will continue to teach as a fully tenured professor in the academy's Physical Education Department. "I was proud of it. In the Navy, captains change all the time, and the ships still have to float and the ships still have to fight. The Navy lacrosse program will do that and do it every well."
Athletic director Chet Gladchuk declined to comment. In a news release issued by the school, Gladchuk praised Meade, saying, "Although today he is leaving the playing field, educating in an even broader context for the Brigade of Midshipmen can be personally rewarding and to the great benefit of the Academy. Our gratitude will continue to be with Richie."
Seaman's 13-year run at Towson ended with a 99-93 record there and a 263-166 mark in 30 years as a head coach at Johns Hopkins, Penn and C.W. Post. But the Tigers had gone 2-16 against Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Loyola, UMBC and Navy over the past four years — a trend that did not escape the attention of athletic director Mike Waddell.
"I think it's our results against our local teams that have really made me take a look," said Waddell, who said he would like to find a successor shortly after the final four at M&T Bank Stadium on Memorial Day weekend. "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."
Associate head coach and defensive coordinator Shawn Nadelen will be named the interim coach and could be a candidate for the vacancy. The status of offensive coordinator Michael Allan was not as clear.
A few candidates on Towson's short list might include former Maryland coach and current Chesapeake Bayhawks president Dave Cottle, Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene and Johns Hopkins offensive coordinator Bobby Benson.
Cottle, who was forced out by the Terps after last season, said he had not expressed an interest in the job.
"I have not spoken with anyone at Towson, and I am very happy where I am," Cottle said. "I am the president of the Chesapeake Bayhawks and am preparing for a game Saturday. That's all I have to say."
Cantabene declined to speculate on his candidacy, saying, "You never know. I don't know if they're going to be interested in me. If they want to talk, I'm sure I'll hear what they have to say. … But I'm just worrying about Stevenson University right now. They've really treated me well, and sometimes the grass isn't always greener on the other side."
Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston contributed to this article.