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Towson, Notre Dame in best lacrosse circles


A DAY FOR rumbling and rambling:

When Towson University and Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse final four Sunday, it was a great day for both teams and the sport.

The semifinals at Rutgers on Saturday will include two surprise teams in Towson (14-3) and Notre Dame (14-1), as well as the two dominant teams of the 1990s, Syracuse (12-2) and Princeton (12-1).

The odds are in favor of another Princeton-Syracuse championship game, but Towson will be on the national scene for years. Tigers coach Tony Seaman has taken his team from 3-10 a year ago to its second Division I semifinal appearance, its first since 1991.

With the national exposure, Towson's recruiting should continue to improve. The Tigers have only six seniors on their 43-man roster.

As for Notre Dame, it was kind of strange hearing the band playing the school's fight song at a lacrosse game.

But with the athletic department revenues and other features of the school, the Fighting Irish showed you can almost buy a championship in any sport.

If you're a high school recruit and you visit Notre Dame or Johns Hopkins during the fall, would you be more inclined to enroll at Notre Dame after watching a football game against USC or watching Hopkins tangle with Western Maryland?

As usual, there is speculation about the future of Terps men's lacrosse coach Dick Edell at the end of the season, that he will either resign, retire or be fired by athletic director Debbie Yow.

Edell said Sunday after Maryland's loss to Towson that he plans on being coach next season, which leaves the next move up to Yow.

Let's take a look at the Edell file for a second: 171-76 record at Maryland, 13 NCAA tournament appearances, three Atlantic Coast Conference championships, three NCAA championship game appearances.

Leave the Big Man alone. There should be three untouchables at Maryland: Edell, women's lacrosse coach Cindy Timchal and men's basketball coach Gary Williams, the unofficial bank of the athletic department.

Because lacrosse is a non-revenue-producing sport and Yow is a bottom-line, budget-type athletic director, Edell, 57, will return for another season.

Another coach whose voice mail is probably loaded is Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala. He experienced the pressure of playing at Hopkins, but it's an entirely different ballgame as a coach.

By now, all those disenchanted blue bloods have told him why his team lost Sunday to Notre Dame, 13-9.

Yes, they do eat their own at Hopkins.

I love watching former player-turned-jelly roll-turned-analyst Charles Barkley on TNT. He is not the usual kiss-up like Ahmad Rashad. Barkley is refreshing, witty, blunt, offensive, rude at times and cold.

My kind of guy.

I loved when he called the Portland Trail Blazers a bunch of sorry "knuckleheads." And he showed no mercy on the zebras in the playoffs when he said they give calls to Utah at home in the Delta Center.

Now, if only Sir Charles would 'fess up to himself and end his comeback attempt with Michael Jordan, the only person who has ever intimidated him.

Truth doesn't always come in words; sometimes it can be found in the mirror.

A rare case of foot-in-mouth disease was discovered recently when Ravens owner Art Modell said he denied the Chicago Bears permission to speak with James Harris, the team's director of pro personnel, about their vacant general manager's position.

Modell had to reverse his position because he can't stop an employee from seeking another position if it is a promotion.

The guess here is that Harris won't get the position and he'll stay with the Ravens. Several league officials feel that the Bears aren't serious about hiring Harris, but at least interviewed him because Harris, an African-American, is on a league list of qualified minorities.

The Ravens, though, will eventually lose Phil Savage, the team's director of scouting. He is nearly 20 years younger than Harris and shared a lot of the spotlight with Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of player personnel, in the team's draft successes.

Savage, who is white, has done a great job of recognizing talent and organizing the scouting department, and deserves a shot at being a general manager. But if you look at the credentials side by side, Harris has done more as far as negotiating contracts, working on a daily basis with the head coach and dealing with the salary cap. He also has more experience with the salary cap.

On the field, the Ravens can keep talking about receiver Patrick Johnson's potential, but he had a shaky passing camp. On the first day alone, he dropped five passes.

Of course, the Ravens will say it was just passing camp and the players were just in shorts and helmets.

If it's Shannon Sharpe, that's one thing. But this is Johnson, a former Olympic-caliber sprinter who has had more injuries than catches.

Psst, two other things: Reserve quarterback Randall Cunningham and fullback Sam Gash are still in the team's plans. So is reserve outside linebacker Cornell Brown.

But if I were No. 2 middle linebacker Brad Jackson or reserve safety Anthony Poindexter and the team re-signed Brown, I wouldn't buy a house. Sears, though, has a nice sale on luggage.

No matter how much you want to root for heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman of Baltimore, it gets tougher every day.

There are just as many lawsuits as there are boxing organizations, and just when you figure them all out, Rahman signs with boxing promoter Don King for $5 million.

We haven't been able to get rid of the foul odor since.

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