A Team for the Ages

Loyola grads shine in Masters Basketball

December 3, 2008

In 1979, the Loyola Men’s Basketball team lived for rival games against Mount St. Mary’s; sported hair that was longer than their shorts and spent nearly every hour together on the court and in the dorms. It was a brotherhood—a fraternity of friends who created memories that would be retold, time and again, year after year.

Post-graduation, they embarked on careers, raised families and some moved out of the area. Their lives changed, but what didn’t was their passion for the game, the desire for competition and the Loyola bonds that tied this group of men together.

Those who stayed in the area played in local basketball leagues for many years. About six years ago, Tim Koch, ’79, discovered Masters Basketball, which sponsors a national tournament each year in Coral Springs, FL. The tournament plays five-on-five court basketball using NCAA rules.

While the players are all over 40, and some are in their 70s, the tournament is not a recreational league. Teams are typically composed of topnotch, ex-professional and college athletes from the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Koch, who has played in various leagues since leaving Reitz Arena, assembled a roster of Loyola alumni Jack Vogt, ’79, Rich Britton, ’79, Kevin Robinson, ’75, John Morris, ’78, Steve “Nino” Collins, ’80, Steve Mitchell, ’80, and Brian Shannon, MBA ’85, and headed for Florida. The team reached the semi-finals in its first appearance.

The reunion of the Loyola teammates and the success in their inaugural appearance gave the men the confidence to enter six more tournaments.

“Basketball is part of our life. Most of us started playing as kids, and when you get older and stop doing it, you miss it,” says Collins. “You discover it feels good to compete again and hang out with your friends.”

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