Andrew Hollingsworth still goes down as the top pass rusher in Patriot League history, holding the records for career (43) and single-season (18) sacks. The Towson standout was named a consensus first-team All-American in his record-setting senior season in 2000.
Andrew Hollingsworth, DL, Towson (1997-00)
1999: First-Team All-Patriot League
2000: First-Team All-Patriot League, Patriot League Player and Defensive Player of the Year; AFCA, Walter Camp, First-Team AP and Sports Network All-American (consensus First-Team All-American)
Post-Patriot League: Hollingsworth signed with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League in 2002.
Reaction to 25th Anniversary Team selection: I am very proud to have been selected to the Patriot League Football 25th Anniversary Team. There have been many great players in the League over the years, and to be considered among the best is truly a great honor.
The time I spent playing football at Towson, and in the Patriot League, was a great time in my life. I have many great memories of those Saturdays in the fall, which undoubtedly would be even greater had we ever been able to beat Colgate or Lehigh. I would like to thank the Patriot League for including me on this Anniversary team, and again, I am honored to have been selected.
Q and A
Patriot League: What influenced you to make the decision to attend Towson?
Andrew Hollingsworth: The fact that they were entering the Patriot League was a factor, as was the influence of the coach who recruited me, Jay Robinson. I also liked the campus, I had a great visit, and the proximity to home was nice- about an hour and a half away. The other schools who recruited me seriously all had characterisitics that I didn't particularly like, whereas Towson seemed to offer the best overall package.
Patriot League: You still hold the Patriot League career and single-season sacks records....how did you become so adept at rushing the quarterback, and how did your senior season unfold to get so many sacks?
Andrew Hollingsworth: I wasn't known as a pass rusher in high school, even though I had a handful of sacks. Our defensive scheme was heavily predicated on stopping the run, because few teams were pass-heavy; plus I played middle linebacker most of my senior year. I kind of "discovered" I had good burst off the edge my freshman year playing on the scout team. Once I realized I could get off the ball pretty quickly, the rest fell into place over the years: working on technique, pass-rush moves and counter-moves, and gaining enough weight to be an effective every-down DE. It all seemed to come together my senior year, and quite honestly, if not for a high ankle sprain early in the first quarter of our ninth game that year that ended my season, I should have had 25 sacks. That year I really felt unblockable; I was experienced and very confident heading into the season
Patriot League: Do you have a game or moment that stands out as particularly memorable in your career?
Andrew Hollingsworth: Our game on "Halloween Eve", October 30, 1999 at Lehigh my junior year still stands as the most memorable, even though we lost. We came in 6-2 overall, and 4-0 in conference play, after being picked to finish last in the preseason. Lehigh was undefeated as usual, 7-0/2-0, and ranked in the nation. The winner would be in sole possession of first place and in the driver's seat for the playoffs. They had their usual big crowd, and we got up on them early by a few touchdowns, but they staged a furious 2nd-half comeback behind Phil Stambaugh. We ended up losing 44-39 in a game that came down to the wire. It was the closest I got to a "playoff atmosphere" type game. I had 2 sacks, one a strip-sack with the fumble recovery, and a bunch of QB hits. That game was the most difficult loss I ever endured playing football.
Some others were: Our first Patriot League win in 1999 vs Lafayette; my three 4-sack games (vs Drake 1998, Holy Cross 1999, and Morgan St 2000); and a sack for my only career safety vs Lafayette in our 2000 win.
Patriot League:What was your experience like as a student-athlete at Towson both on and off the field?
Andrew Hollingsworth: I had a great time at Towson. I am good friends with many former teammates, and I met my wife Karen, a Towson soccer player, while there. The education and the overall experience were both very positive.
Patriot League: What have you done since your time at Towson?
Andrew Hollingsworth: After I graduated, I had a few NFL tryouts, but long story short I ended up in the CFL for an abbreviated season. I didn't pursue football after that, and I began working in the financial services field. Today I am a junior partner in a tax preparation/financial planning practice in Long Beach, NY, where I am an Enrolled Agent, and I will soon be a CFP as well. As I mentioned, my wife attended Towson too, and we have three kids: AJ (7), Olivia (4), and Allie (2).