March 25, 2006
By Mariel Brady, Maryland Athletics Media Relations
That may seem like high praise coming from a two-time national champion, former NCAA Coach of the Year, and former United States National Indoor coach, but to those who are familiar with the University of Maryland track and field team, Costello has it exactly right.
In only his third season as Terrapin head coach, Valmon has helped produce three NCAA All-Americans and nine All-ACC athletes, while working to bring the Terps back to national prominence.
At this point, Valmon knows that the Terps still have a lot of work to do in order to accomplish all of their goals. And he also knows that an important aspect of that is surrounding himself and his athletes with the best coaching available.
In that respect, it made perfect sense for the up-and-coming coach to ask for help from the man who led the Terrapin men to six consecutive indoor ACC Championships, five consecutive outdoor ACC titles and an eighth-place finish at the national championships.
And Frank Costello was happy to help.
"The times I enjoy most are coaching on the field. When Andrew asked me to coach the hurdles and the high jump, I was very glad to do it," Costello said.
This year, Costello has worked directly with All-American Dominic Berger in the hurdles and ACC top-10 finisher in the high jump, Toni Aluko. Because both athletes are only sophomores, Costello expects a lot out of them in the final two years of their careers.
"I don't like using the word potential too much because potential is nice, but it doesn't mean very much. But no question, Berger and Toni have it."
In his second season as a Terp, Berger has done nothing more than simply excel. He was a USA Junior National Champion in the 110-meter hurdles and team MVP of the outdoor season as a freshman. During his sophomore campaign, he broke the school record in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.69 and earned All-ACC and All-America status, placing fifth in the hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
"Before he's done here, Berger is a potential Olympian, no question. He is a great athlete and if he continues to work hard, he will be an Olympic-caliber athlete."
As for Aluko, Costello also sees great talent. Her seventh-place finish in the ACC Championships was an accomplishment, but he is looking for even more from her during the outdoor season and beyond.
"Toni is very talented and should be able to complete with the best jumpers in the nation very shortly. All she needs to do is continue to gain more confidence and learn how to compete better."
According to Costello, as long as Valmon and his assistants continue to recruit athletes like Berger and Aluko, "whose goals aren't just to get a scholarship," the Maryland track and field team will continue to get better and better.
"You can have great coaches, but no matter what, the coaches only have four years with the athletes. We need to continue to get kids who we don't have to worry about scholastically and who will work hard," Costello said.
"And if we have that, then I'll bet on Andrew Valmon every time."