Goucher College didn't need to do an extensive national search to find its new head men's basketball coach. Tom Rose was just 20 minutes away.
Rose, who played at Goucher from 1993-95, was hired April 13 to return to his alma mater from Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School in Essex, Md. Rose becomes the second head coach in Goucher's 25-year basketball history. He succeeds Leonard Trevino, who served as the Gophers' mentor from the inception of the program in 1990 through the 2014-15 campaign. Trevino guided the program to 274 victories, four Capital Athletic Conference championships and three NCAA Division III tournament appearances.
"This has always been a dream job for me," said Rose, who compiled a record of 218-162 during his 13 seasons at the helm of Mount Carmel. "It's always been a special place. I've wanted to be a small-college coach, and nothing could be better for me than to be at my alma mater."
When Rose took over at Mount Carmel in September 2002, the program was playing at the lowest level of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association. Rose led the Cougars to the MIAA C Conference title during the 2004-05 season and coached them to MIAA B Conference crowns in 2005-06 and 2007-08. Mount Carmel moved to the MIAA A Conference and joined the Baltimore Catholic League in 2011-12, and it took the Cougars three seasons to reach the A Conference title game. Rose was named the 2014-15 Baltimore Catholic League's Coach of the Year after guiding the Cougars to a 32-11 record last season.
Rose will face a stiff challenge at Division III Goucher. The Gophers have endured 10 consecutive losing seasons. During the 2014-15 campaign, Goucher finished with a 4-21 overall mark and a 3-13 Landmark Conference record. But Rose will inherit several promising returnees, including senior guard Kevin Miles (11.1 points, 3.7 rebounds) and junior forward Chris Outing (10.6 points, 7.2 rebounds).
Rose, who received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from Goucher, was on the Gophers' staff during the program's most successful stretch. Goucher recorded three seasons of 20 or more wins from 1996-99. Rose understands the program needs to improve in several areas to return to that level.
"You have to look at it as a three-year plan," said Rose, who served under Trevino from 1996-2002. "We've got to instill a new culture here, where the expectations are high. We want to be a championship-level program and play in the NCAA tournament.
"That means we'll have to take the current players, instill our philosophy and get them to buy in. I've met with them already, and I think that we're all on the same page. Then, we need to recruit kids in the area and build this program up."
Rose intends to focus his recruiting efforts in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Most of Goucher's current roster hails from that region.
"There's strong talent in this area that we need to make sure we tap into," said Rose, who began his coaching career as an assistant at Calvert Hall. "Within a two-hour time frame, there are definitely enough players in this region to build us into a national power."
For Goucher to reach its highest goals, it will have to win the battles with two national-level programs in its own conference. Catholic University and the University of Scranton are the annual favorites to win the league and advance to the NCAA tournament.
"Scranton and Catholic have done an incredible job in the league, and they're the two top [Landmark] programs," Rose said. "I'm not sure that we're going to model ourselves after them. We're going to define ourselves and build our program off of our own philosophies."
Rose also brings recruitment and fundraising skills to the Goucher program. In addition to his coaching duties at Mount Carmel, Rose also directed the school's admissions and institutional advancement offices.
"The pitch to our alums is that we need to get the program back to where it was, and we need them to support us," Rose said. "There's several ways that they can help, whether it's showing up at games, supporting us financially or talking about our program to the public. We're going to reach out to them and use their energy to help us move forward."