Year of the Hound

Athletic success could bolster recruitment, alumni engagement, and giving

By Magazine Staff

When a 1967 grad saw the NCAA championship trophy sitting on a table at the Golden Greyhounds Dinner-Dance, he couldn’t resist. Even though he’s still five years too young for the Reunion Weekend event, he sneaked into the room just to see the trophy.

“There’s such a source of pride that comes with this championship,” said Megan Gillick, vice president for advancement, who greeted the man and made sure he got a photo of himself with the trophy. “We had a whole new group of alumni get engaged with the University because of the win, whether they were sports fans or not.”

University leaders are hoping the level of spirit and enthusiasm inspired by the historic win will raise alumni engagement—and giving—while also increasing applications.

“The athletic successes at the national level this year put Loyola’s name out there front and center on the national stage and with the national media in ways we literally could not have otherwise have afforded,” said Marc Camille, Ed.D., vice president for enrollment management and communications. “My hope is that more high school students and potential graduate students who are thinking about where to apply will now be thinking more seriously about Loyola.”

The men’s lacrosse team’s success doesn’t stand alone, as the women’s lacrosse team won its second Big East Championship and also competed in the NCAA Tournament, the men’s basketball team claimed the MAAC Championship and took its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 18 years, and the men’s golf team won the MAAC Golf Championship and went to the NCAA Regionals for the fifth straight year.

Loyola was the smallest institution—and first Catholic institution—to win the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship.

“I can’t think of a better 90 days for Loyola athletics,” said Jim Paquette, assistant vice president and director of athletics. “The impact is going to be widespread. It’s going to take a good 18 months, but it’s going to come in the recruiting. It helps our visibility in all 18 sports.”

As the team drew closer and closer to the championship, alumni and other fans celebrated each success on social media, proclaiming their Greyhounds pride on Facebook and Twitter.

More than 400 people attended each of the pre-game tailgates in Foxborough, Mass., where alumni from the ’60s through the Class of 2012 mingled with past and current parents and students.

Gifts made directly to the lacrosse program have increased 33 percent, and the University saw a jump in annual giving and a high pledge fulfillment rate overall. “The win became a virtual pledge reminder for our alumni,” Gillick said. “We were front of mind for donors because of the win.” A special young alumni effort associated with the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament appearance was successful in increasing gifts from alumni who graduated within the past 10 years.

The support of donors made it possible to build the Ridley Athletic Complex, the home to Greyhounds lacrosse and soccer which opened in 2010 and has helped recruit athletes and build Greyhounds spirit and recognition.

As Paquette watches private support and bookstore sales grow, he looks forward to seeing how season ticket sales are affected, as well. And he—and other Greyhounds fans—are just hoping the Year of the Hound continues with the fall and winter sports.

“Winning begets winning,” Paquette said. “The goal here wasn’t just to win a national championship. The goal is to win national championships—plural.”

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