Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gary Neal: Greatest Pro Sports Moment in Towson History


To say Towson University's list of great professional sports moments is limited is probably a massive understatement. The school has produced three Super Bowl winners, but two of them were special teams players and the other was a backup left tackle who was thrust into the starting role due to an injury. None of the handful of baseball players who've reached the majors from the school have ever made a huge mark, and prior to this season, the Tigers had only produced one NBA player.

Well, now that number is two, and thanks to Gary Neal, Towson has a signature pro moment from one of its former athletes.



Prior to Neal's game-tying buzzer-beater against the Grizzlies -- keeping the Spurs season alive, at least for now -- the "signature" highlight for Towson athletes in the pros was probably, sadly, Sean Landeta's whiffed punt. Actual strong individual performances are few and far between. Landeta was a two-time all-decade selection, but no one really goes to YouTube to watch precision punting. Dave Meggett had a series of highlight plays in a three-touchdown game (2 rushing, 1 passing) against the Redskins in 1994, and that was the third time in two seasons he'd thrown a TD pass against Washington. Going over to baseball, Chris Nabholz's best game probably came as a rookie in 1990, when he nearly no-hit the Mets. He also had a 10-strikeout game a couple years later.

And while that's all well and good, none of it matches the pressure of the playoffs, with one shot to stave off elimination. And that's what Gary Neal was facing last night, and he stepped up big time. And because of his awesomeness, I'm a little more proud to call myself a Towson Tiger today.

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