On a steamy turf field in Owings Mills, more than 100 young men are baking in the nearly 90-degree heat while coaches run drills like army sergeants and a few fatigued players stand on the sidelines sipping water under the watchful eye of a team trainer.
Welcome to Stevenson University football — the newest marketing tool for a school aiming to shed its small-time image since it changed its name from Villa Julie College two years ago.
Men’s football is the second athletics team the school has added since it changed its status to a university (women’s golf is the other), and Athletics Director Brett Adams said investing in sports is part of the plan to attract more students, offer a well-rounded college experience and keep alumni connected.
“It helps develop a passion for the university, and down the road those people give back,” Adams said after a news conference in which Stevenson unveiled its new Mustangs logo and football helmet. “In the short term, you can’t get better marketing [during the off-season] than happy football players wearing their Stevenson shirts at the beach.”