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Sports GPS: Carl Runk

November 12, 2008

By Kent Baker

For a man who stopped coaching the Towson University lacrosse team almost a decade ago, Carl Runk has managed to remain extremely busy.

Now 72, Runk remains on the Towson faculty in the kinesiology department, coaches the high school team at Hereford, spends more than a month between semesters in Florida conducting lacrosse clinics, wrote a wrestling manual and is in the process of publishing a book on lacrosse fundamentals and strategy.

Retirement? Not for him.

"My wife (Joan) would like to see me retire, but I'm having too much fun," said Runk, who lives in the Parkton area. "I've got a drive that isn't bad to coach some nice kids to work with at Hereford, have my foot in the door with the high school coaches around Naples, and I'm still teaching.

"As for college coaching, if you didn't have to recruit, it would be a hell of a job. My mind is alert about it, but physically, recruiting now is unbearable You get so bogged down with paperwork and there is tremendous pressure to win. It's a younger person's game now."

Not that Runk has to justify anything about his 31 years coaching the Tigers. He is seventh on the NCAA's Division I list in victories with 262 and led the school to seven straight College Division tourney appearances. In 1974, Towson won the national title in the division with an overtime win over Hobart.

Later, his teams made the Division I tournament five times and in 1991 shockingly reached the final game with victories over Virginia, Princeton and Maryland before losing to North Carolina. That made Runk the only coach to have a team reach the national championship at both levels. The Baltimore native coached 67 All-Americans and four national players of the year.

He shares his insight with current Towson coach Tony Seaman and catches as many Tiger games as his schedule permits. His heart remains in instruction.

Also Towson's first head football coach (1969-71) during the years the program was established, Runk said: "I enjoy getting out and watching youngsters do something they haven't done before. When you get a good response, it's gratifying."

Issue 131: November 2008