Towson football saga: Rob Ambrose is guilty of being tough…as are all quality coaches in sports

October 23, 2012 | Drew Forrester

As most of you know who have listened to me for the last decade, coaches are my favorite people in the world.  I can say this without hesitation (and I’ll recognize that even I, as a high school golf coach, possess some of this maniacal behavior) about coaches.  Almost all of them are nuts in their own way.  They are driven far, far, far more than any player on their roster, regardless of the sport.  If you think Ray Lewis is “driven” to win, I can guarantee you that John Harbaugh has him beat.  Not by much, perhaps, but I’ve never met a player in my life, EVER, who was more dedicated to winning than the coach of his team.

My guess is that no one at Towson University wants to win more than Rob Ambrose.  I also know that a season ago, on six separate occasions — and the public doesn’t know this — Ambrose suspended players for off-field issues that, perhaps, he could have let slide if winning was ALL that matterered to him.

Is Rob Ambrose guilty of yapping at his players with language that might make a sailor blush?

Yes, he is.

Are these the same words that nearly every single player in his locker room uses on a daily basis?  Most likely, yes.

In every locker room I’ve even been in – hundreds and hundreds – grown men behave in ways you’d never believe if you had the chance to watch it through a peep hole.  Foul language, sexual innuendo, open references to drugs and alcohol — it’s all there, every day, every team, every sport, everywhere.

If you are someone that has a personal issue with swearing or naked men walking around or practical jokes and chicanery, you probably shouldn’t even think about playing college or professional sports — that is, unless you have the ability to overlook those things you personally can’t and won’t endorse as acceptable.  No one in the locker room is going to stop swearing because you don’t use the F-word, I can assure you of that.

And yes, coaches at nearly every level of college and professional sports use foul language — including FEMALE coaches, it should be noted.

Does Rob Ambrose practice his players hard?

He sure does.

So do Joe Matthews and Pat Skerry, the two basketball coaches at Towson.

The Towson football program has elevated its level of play and success over the last two years.  That didn’t happen by osmosis or luck.  It happened because of effort.  Do the 96 players on the team have to work out and run and sweat and “focus” on football at 6am in the morning?  Yes indeed, they do.  That’s what happens when you’re a student-athlete and you SIGN UP to play on the team.  You give yourself over to the coach and his staff.

It’s also worth noting that Rob Ambrose hasn’t changed one iota from the guy who showed up here four years ago and inherited a room full of ne’er do wells who probably would have lost a best of three to Gilman.  Ambrose was loud and overbearing and demanding when he walked on the field for his first practice in 2009.  He was that way in 2010.  And again in 2011.  And he’s the same now, in 2012.

You didn’t hear this kind of bellyaching in 2010 when the Tigers were winning one game.

Suddenly, though, it’s become a big deal.

I’m not sure why, but that’s what happens when you’re successful.  Someone’s always laying in the weeds trying to trip you up.

In this case, Ambrose hurt a couple of kid’s feelings with his bad language and his demanding style.

He didn’t doctor any practice logs and he isn’t hiding anything from his administration or the NCAA.

And he most certainly didn’t order a “code red”.

No one got hurt.  No one lost a limb.

It’s football…so I’ll end this by simply saying — and as the coach himself might offer — “If you’re not tough enough to stick it out, f**k it…go take a cooking class.”