7 surprising facts from Greyhounds basketball history

By Rita Buettner  |  Images courtesy of Jimmy Smith

Jimmy “Jumpshot” Smith, 76, has compiled a history of the first century of Loyola University Maryland basketball in his book, Running with the Greyhounds.

Loyola magazine invited him to share some things from Loyola’s basketball history that would be surprising to our readers.

Inside back cover of Running with the Greyhounds

Here are a few facts you may not know:

1. Jim Lacy, Jr., 49, left a lasting impact on Greyhounds basketball history. “We knew him as ‘Gentleman Jim,’ and we shall be forever grateful that he is a part of our history,” said Jim Paquette, Loyola’s athletic director. Lacy and his teammates’ achievements were phenomenal for their time. What they actually did for Loyola is far greater than the legends that exist about them.

2. Loyola Athletic Director and most successful basketball coach, Emil “Lefty” Reitz, Jr., built the foundation for what Loyola athletics is today. Lefty is to Loyola what Knute Rockne is to the University of Notre Dame. Loyola’s athletic bloodline extends from Rockne’s coaching philosophy at Notre Dame.

3. Loyola played a major role in social change by participating in the first interracial college basketball game South of the Mason-Dixon Line on Feb. 12, 1952. Morgan State College and Loyola together broke the “color barrier” in college basketball.

4. Famous Loyola alumni who got their start at Evergreen include: Governor Herbert O’Conor, Maryland’s first Catholic governor; perennial Maryland Sportscaster of the Year Vince Bagli, who was a WBAL-TV sports anchor for 31 years (1964-1995); National Sportscaster Hall of Famer and Emmy Award Winner Jim “McKay” McManus of ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

5. A LaSalle College player and ex-Marine from South Philadelphia was hired by Mount Saint Mary’s College specifically to defeat Loyola. One of the greatest rivalries in college basketball swung in favor of Loyola’s bitterest rival. The duel for supremacy in the Mason-Dixon Conference would never be the same from the moment Mt. St. Mary’s hired Jim “Bowtie” Phelan as head coach in September 1954.

6. When Rev. James Donahoe, S.J., coached the team, he may have been the only Jesuit coaching in college basketball in his day.

7. Loyola influenced the growth and development of basketball in Baltimore and Maryland by hiring their first coach, William “Pop” Schuerholz, in 1912. Schuerholz was the grandfather of the Atlanta Braves president and two-time Major League Executive of the Year.

Rev. Brian Linnane, S.J., Loyola president accepts a copy of the book from the author.

Rev. Brian Linnane, S.J., Loyola president, accepts a copy of the book from the author.

Read more about Running with the Greyhounds.

Order a copy of the book.

Bookmark and Share

No Comments

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment