Q&A: Charley Toomey, Loyola Lacrosse Coach
As a goalie for Loyola College from 1987-1990, Charley Toomey saw the field from his perch in the goal. This year marks Toomey's fifth season watching from the sidelines as head coach of the Loyola University Maryland men's lacrosse team.
With Toomey at the helm, the Greyhounds have won at least a share of the last two Eastern College Athletic Conference championships and have reached the NCAA tournament in two of the past three seasons.
Toomey was recently a guest on "Inside PressBox," which can be seen on WMAR ABC-2 Saturdays at 11 p.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m., as well as at PressBoxOnline.com. Below is an excerpt from Toomey's interview with Stan "The Fan" Charles and Rob Long from Fox Sports 1570-AM.
How excited are you about the hiring of new athletic director Jim Paquette?
It’s been exciting for the university. As a young guy, he’s very energetic and charismatic. I think he’s going to empower the coaches to coach their programs, and he’s going to go out and try to get us some assets to take it to the next level.
Walk us through the recruiting process because being from the lacrosse capital, so to speak, you are surrounded by other schools all competing for the same players.
The recruiting process is starting earlier and earlier now. You're really identifying kids in their freshman and sophomore years and trying to reach out to them when you can in the summertime with camps, and obviously your first letter goes to them in their junior year and you’re trying to get them to your campus. With this new facility (Ridley Athletic Complex), we think we’re really going to be able to ratchet it up to the next level. We’ve always done a great job of recruiting and I really believe with the Ridley Athletic Complex and with the passion our coaches have and the recent success that our program has had, the sky is the limit.
In college basketball, AAU is paramount in recruiting. Are summer camps the equivalent in lacrosse?
You’re starting to see it. You’re really starting to see club programs are the way to go, and most of our recruiting is done in the summertime. That’s our chance to evaluate players. It’s hard for us to get out and watch Boys' Latin and Loyola play in the springtime because it’s during our season.
How did Loyola land former Duke star Colin Finnerty (who left Durham following the 2006 Blue Devils rape scandal)?
Colin reached out to us. He’s a senior captain for us and just a great kid, a great leader for our program and a great player. He reached out to us. We were on a bus headed to California to play Duke that week and he reached out and we said, "Let’s get to campus." I had a couple conversations with our administration and made sure they were very comfortable. I think anybody who meets Colin Finnerty, the second that they walk away from the conversation they know he's a great kid.
Russ Grimm just got into the Hall of Fame, his son Dylan is playing for you now. How did that come about?
Dylan’s a heck of a lacrosse player. He played in Virginia for Oakton. His brother Cody Grimm is now with Virginia Tech, but Dylan is high on our list. He’s the fifth defenseman for us, and I think you’re going to see Dylan step on the field in some man-down opportunities and possibly in some six-on-six opportunities as well.
Your team's extensive travels seem to highlight how much lacrosse has grown. How is it a good thing?
Our new league features teams from Louisville, Denver, Colorado, obviously up in Connecticut still with Quinnipiac and Fairfield and we still have a presence up in Geneva up in Hobarton. It’s great for us to be in those areas because we need the exposure. Kids are playing lacrosse in Denver and we need to be there.
Issue 147: March 2010