Toomey Anderson ‘02 returns to Allentown

Alumnus recounts his time at Muhlenberg as a student-athlete and hopes for his new role as Athletic Director of Allentown school district

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As senior student-athletes reach their final midterms, their eyes look to the future, wondering where their Muhlenberg experience will take them. Almost 20 years after leaving Academic Row, one former student-athlete looks back on his formative years at Muhlenberg as he enters his new job as athletic director of the Allentown School District.

Toomey Anderson ‘02 came to Muhlenberg from Parkland High School as a basketball player with his eyes set on the education track. As an athlete, he certainly made his time at Muhlenberg count. Anderson scored 789 points wearing the number 10, with unselfish play at the point guard position passing the ball for a career total of 226 assists. 

In Anderson’s sophomore year, the team had made their championship run after a 14-12 season. The road to the championship involved playing Franklin & Marshall College [F&M] who the Mules lost to by 12, but in the conference playoffs, the Mules came back with a vengeance. The team won the semifinal 76-58, in a hard-fought battle of lead changes that included a Muhlenberg 25-3 run in the second half. After making it to the finals, the Mules lost by nine to Gettysburg College, but not without a strong performance from Anderson— who was the second-highest scorer.

It is a moment that remains in Anderson’s mind, as he summarizes his career by saying, “We won a lot of games, didn’t quite win a championship, we lost the championship, my sophomore year here at Memorial Hall so that always stings and burns.”

In his senior year, Anderson demonstrated his overall athleticism when he joined the football team, sporting the number 81. It was the 2002 Muhlenberg homecoming game when Matt Bernardo ‘04, Anderson’s teammate, set the in-game touchdown record. These four touchdowns were only part of the 68 points that the team put up against F&M; One, was when Anderson contributed to this dominating box score by scoring his first career touchdown with 2:06 left in the fourth quarter.

Outside of his athletic career, Anderson entered Muhlenberg College living in “dirty Pross.” “But a little too much fun times in Teak [Tau Kappa Epsilon] and ATO [Alpha Tau Omega] and Prosser Hall” led to a change in major. Anderson decided to study political science, leaving him with fond memories of Mohsin Hashim Ph.D. professor of political science, and Chris Borick, Ph.D. director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. 

While he did not pursue a career in politics, deciding instead to be an educator, he adamantly defends his liberal arts education. “I know some people will tell you I know ‘I want to be a doctor, so why am I learning? Why am I going to an art class and so forth?’ I think about more well-rounded people, [which is what] most people are trying to strive to be. That aspect is very good.” 

On top of an active academic, social and athletic life, Anderson found a way to stay involved in his hometown. “I worked on work-study or study hours for the [Office of Community Engagement]. And through that, we get Jefferson Field Day. That was one of the bigger events where kids from elementary school out here in Allentown come over to Muhlenberg to have a field day.” Coincidentally, that is one of the projects that Anderson is currently working on with Muhlenberg. 

After graduating from Muhlenberg, Anderson had a short stint in Philadelphia teaching algebra to ninth-graders who had school code violations, an extremely rewarding experience. Then, he returned to the Lehigh Valley to assist, “Within the continental united media unit with emotionally disturbed kids, so forth. So I did that for about nine years. And then after that, connected with executive education, and it was starting an athletic program over there.” There he founded athletic programs ranging from softball to a very successful basketball program.

Now, entering his new position as athletic director of the Allentown School District, he will have to organize 16-17,000 compared to previously 1,400. 

Anderson certainly wants to use his connections at Muhlenb“embodies a revolution that involved a clear departure from earlier, often one-dimensional portrayals of women in pro wrestling” (Horton, 159).erg to expand past the general use of the football field. He also wants to connect Muhlenberg dance students with Allentown schools. “I’m trying to develop programs for young students to get involved with, because that’s what keeps them engaged.”

Anderson demonstrates a fraction of the possibilities for Muhlenberg student-athletes. From balancing life as a student-athlete to creating programs for thousands of kids, Anderson is prepared and excited. In true Mule spirit, Anderson says, “It’s a very challenging project, but we’re very much looking forward to it.”

Matthew joined the Weekly Sports Section in his freshman year to tell the inspiring and compelling stories that transpire over points, games, and seasons.

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