Running With The Greyhounds

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About the Book

About Running With The Greyhounds

Loyola University Maryland’s Jimmy “Jumpshot” Smith (’76) loved basketball and the coaches who made it possible for him to enjoy the game he loved. He decided to tell the story of his alma mater’s extraordinary basketball program, as a “thank you” to his coaches, teachers, and Loyola’s Jesuit community. After seven years of research and interviews, consulting over 70 alumni, their families, friends and foes, Smith teamed with Greg Miller(73), former Greyhound newspaper sports editor to produce Running with the Greyhounds, a 390-page epic with more than 280 photographs, tells of Loyola’s largely forgotten basketball century.

Smith’s research reveals an abundance of prominent names of both regional and national importance, including Jim McKay, Governor Herbert O’Conor, Frank Cashen, Paul Menton, Vince Bagli, Father Aloysius Galvin SJ, Valentine Lentz, Jim Phelan, Morgan Wootten, Gene Shue, Jim Lacy Jr. and many more.

When “basket-ball” was in its infancy, Loyola was right there by the crib. Loyola’s first gym had eight posts in the middle of the playing floor giving explicit meaning to “posting up.” When you hear the name “Schuerholz,” you think of Major League Baseball executive, John Schuerholz, but it was his grandfather, William “Pop” Schuerholz of South Baltimore who first coached Loyola, back in 1912, challenging the best teams in the East for over a decade.

The story of Loyola basketball parallels the story of America, in particular, the development of college sports in the Middle Atlantic States. In the beginning, there were no competitive leagues. Loyola was a prime mover in organizing competitive structures at both the high school and college level. Many natural and geographical rivalries developed, including the greatest of all, with Mt. St. Mary’s University.

Part of Loyola’s basketball legacy established by Emil “Lefty” Reitz, was that players contacted Loyola—they were not recruited. Loyola’s athletic directors and coaches used basketball to round out the education and shape the character of players who chose Evergreen as their home.

Young Lefty Reitz, transferred from Loyola High School to Calvert Hall College in 1927, resulting in a scholarship to Villanova College, whose coaching staffs were heavily influenced by Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne. Reitz would become the “Knute Rockne of Loyola.”

Lefty transformed the mindset of Greyhounds fans, scheduling mostly major schools. Under Reitz, Loyola won 12 championships, and Jim Lacy Jr. (’49), the most revered athlete in Maryland, retired as college basketball’s all-time scorer.

Coach Nap Doherty—a Loyola star player in his own right—succeeded Reitz, and the beat went on. Nap’s teams carried on the same tenaciousness as Lefty’s teams and resulted in championships in 1963, 1971 and 1973, the Greyhounds first venture into the NCAA tournament.

Coaches Tom O’Connor, Gary Dicovitsky, Rev. James Donahoe SJ, and staff guided the Greyhounds to 100 wins from 1974-81, the final stage in elevating the program into NCAA Division I. Read about the efforts of 75 Greyhound teams that elevated Loyola to college basketball’s highest level in Running With The Greyhounds.