Benefit honors longtime Towson coach
Players set up event, raise $900 for research into the cancer that’s sidelining Dase
Towson’s longtime soccer coach, Randy Dase, isn’t one to get overly emotional, but this past Monday was different.
Dase, 62, hasn’t been with the team this season, making a successful recovery from prostate cancer. A week after surgery Sept. 1, he was deemed cancer-free and is set to return to the Towson sideline (and the classroom where he has taught for 40 years) on Oct. 13.
Until then, it was important for his players to make sure he knew how much they’ve been thinking about the 29th-year Towson coach.
On Sept. 21, the Generals turned the game against Sparrows Point into a benefit night for men’s cancer awareness. They won, 2-1, the junior varsity also won, and they raised $900, all donated to the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital in honor of their coach.
It was a surprise to Dase until team captains Adam Coplai, Jack Baker and Austin Kirts stopped by his house Monday with photos and a recap of the event.
When Dase says that is the nicest honor he has ever received as a coach, it covers a lot of ground. The 1972 Towson graduate, a charter member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, played soccer, basketball and lacrosse, and has also coached all three sports. On Monday, he couldn’t help himself. “I looked at the pictures and just started bawling, so they watched a grown man cry for about five minutes,” he said. “It was player-driven and they only had six or seven days to get going with it. So I was very proud and very honored that they pulled off an event that was so highly successful.”
Since September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, the idea of hosting a benefit night was the way the players wanted to show appreciation for their coach. They reached out to athletic director Justin Nash, who agreed to lower the admission cost to $1, with all proceeds going to the donation. They also put out a donation box at the entrance and the booster club agreed to give all concessions earned to the cause. The players from both Towson and Sparrows Point wore plastic blue wristbands.
“We wanted to do something to honor him because he’s been doing this for 40 years Randy Dase and he really gets to all of us. He’s a mentor to us all and not just a coach,” said Coplai, who is in his third year on varsity. “We figured a great way to do that would be having the game so we could both give awareness to cancer that affects a lot of men and also honor him and show him he’s not alone in this. We’re all behind him.” Like Dase, Nash was moved. “It was really inspiring to see them all work together. From start to finish, the boys organized the whole night,” he said. “Everyone was on board, the kids were excited about doing it, and it showed howmuchthey cared about their coach and wanting to do something for him to show their support.”
The boys have made their coach proud on the field as well, showing they’re successfully working together with a 6-1-2 mark. Assistant coach Jon Becker has run the team while Dase has been on leave.