Towson's secret weapon seeks cloak-and-dagger career

The Baltimore Sun

There's a spy in Paul Perry that wants to come out. If Towson University's senior wide receiver doesn't play in the NFL next season, he very well might be headed for a career in the CIA.

"I want to be a spy, I guess, a James Bond type," Perry said this week. "I watch the movies, and I know it's not like the movies, [but] I'm just interested in what's going on in the government, how the government works."

Perry, the fastest player on Towson's team, had an internship with the Department of Homeland Security last summer, and both his mother, Wanda, and father, Paul, have government jobs.

A criminal justice major from Oxon Hill High in Prince George's County, Perry said he doesn't watch much television, but when he does, it's usually a news program.

Obviously, he's a serious-minded student-athlete.

In football, he has become Towson's secret weapon. Lined up in the slot against linebackers or safeties, he creates a mismatch that quarterback Sean Schaefer has been quick to capitalize on.

Perry, 6 feet 2, 185 pounds, caught a career-high 11 passes for 131 yards in last week's loss to Massachusetts. He leads the team with 19 catches going into tomorrow night's crucial Colonial Athletic Association game against Delaware.

This is his reward for persevering. Perry, who redshirted in 2003, has spent the past three seasons trying to get on the field more. He has had his moments, like 49- and 26-yard touchdown receptions against William and Mary in 2004, but not enough of them.

"I've been patient, waiting to get on the field and showcase what I could do," Perry said. "Now I finally got my opportunity and I'm making the most of it."

Coach Gordy Combs thinks there's a lesson there for Perry's teammates to heed.

"It sends a message to your team. You don't know when your opportunity's going to present itself, and when it does, you [need to be] prepared," Combs said. "He was prepared."

Delaware (3-0, 2-0) is the Tigers' first CAA South opponent of the season. At 2-1, 0-1, another conference loss would damage their chances to make the playoffs.

"This is a huge game for us," Perry said. "I feel like this can determine our season. Two losses would be tough."

Soccer streak ends

It passed without fanfare, but when UMBC's Steve King was replaced by sophomore Matt Henderson late in the second half of Wednesday's 3-0 soccer loss at Lehigh, it ended a streak of 3,300 consecutive minutes of playing time for the junior goalie.

King had played in 34 consecutive complete games before he was subbed out after 76 minutes at Lehigh. He had allowed only one goal in the Retrievers' first four games, but has allowed five in the past two games, both losses.

UMBC is 3-2-1 this season.

More construction

Add Coppin State to the list of local universities in construction mode. Coppin is building a 246,359-square-foot physical education complex that will include a new arena with 4,100 seats and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009.

The new building will house indoor and outdoor facilities for athletics, health/physical education/recreation and dance, academic programs and community outreach.

In addition to the arena, it will also have an eight-lane competitive pool, fitness center, auxiliary gym, racquetball courts, maintenance facility, public safety facility and a satellite central utility plant.

Adjacent to the building will be an outdoor track, tennis courts and softball field.

Towson is renovating Towson Arena for the 2009-10 basketball season, and UMBC hopes to build a new arena in the not-too-distant future.

Towson on TV

Comcast SportsNet will air the first of four Towson football games tomorrow night starting at 7. Also scheduled are the Tigers' home games against Richmond (Oct. 6), Hofstra (Oct. 13) and Villanova (Nov. 10).

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