New Towson High athletic director stays close to home

For years, Justin Nash's dream was to become a professional baseball player. Nash took a shot at it. He pitched a year in the Orioles' minor league system before injuries to his shoulder and knee forced him to quit.

It took a few years, but he found a second career and ran with it: being a high school athletic director.

This time, things have worked out for Nash, a Towson resident and Calvert Hall graduate

After working the past eight years at Dundalk High School as athletic director, he has a new job he likes even more.

The 33-year-old Nash is the athletic director at Towson, which is only about two miles from where he lives.

Even better, his wife, Erika, teaches English there.

"This is as close as I can get for me to the dream job," Nash said. "I am close to family. People ask me, 'Do you want to become an assistant principal one day?' I say, 'No, I really enjoy doing this type work.' What better job can you have than working with student-athletes at Towson?"

Nash is determined to turn Towson into a powerhouse.

His biggest challenge will be bringing the school's other sports teams up to the same level as squads such as volleyball, badminton, tennis and girls lacrosse.

"I look at Dulaney and Hereford," said Nash, noting in his opinion, the county's premier programs. "There's no reason why Towson can't be on the same level as those schools. There are a lot of sports teams here that have the ability to win state championships."

Joslyn Travis, a Towson assistant principal and former athletic director, said Nash was the right person for the job.

"Is he the perfect athletic director?" said Travis, who sat on the committee that picked Nash. "Yes, he is. What makes him great is that he is thoroughly engrossed in all levels of athletics, the school, county and state. He is extremely organized and efficient. He handles things in a very professional manner. He greets opposing teams when they get off the bus. He wants students' input and is excited to work with parents."

Nash is faced with a number of challenges — hiring coaches, scheduling games and dealing with student-athletes — as he lays the foundation for what he hopes will be a stronger program.

Atop Nash's wish list is upgrading the facilities. He wants a scoreboard for every field and a chain-link fence around the baseball field.

Nash gets excited talking about Towson's new turf field, which he says could be in place in the spring in the school's stadium.

"A lot of things I see facility-wise need to improve," Nash said. "I want a stadium and gym that is second to none. I want to improve all aspects of equipment. It's an opportunity for me to give back."

Convincing some student-athletes to attend Towson instead of a private school is also a priority.

"I believe the right coaches are in place and it's about continuing to work with the middle school kids." he said. "And to make them realize this is an incredible school. They don't have to go anywhere else. They can stay at Towson and win a state championship."

Nash had an impressive career as an athlete. He was a standout baseball player at Calvert Hall and was drafted by the Yankees in 1998 in the 42nd round.

Nash earned a baseball scholarship to Penn State and the Orioles drafted him in the 31st round in 2003.

After leaving pro ball, he served as assistant baseball coach at Hereford for two years and taught special education.

"I have known him for eight years," said Jeff Whalen, who Nash replaced as athletic director. "He took over for me when I left Dundalk. He is well respected and liked by everybody. You know he will do a great job. I can't say enough good things about him."

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