Jimmy Patsos, whose Loyola College men?s basketball team is already assured of a second consecutive winning season, has earned a nomination for the Hugh Durham Coach of the Year Award. He is the only coach from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to be nominated for the national mid-major honor.
Patsos, in his third year at Loyola, has a career record of 36-46, which includes a 6-22 mark in his first season. A year before he took over the program in 2004, the Greyhounds went 1-27 and hadn?t posted a winning season since 1993-94, the team?s last trip to the NCAA tournament.
"After Jimmy came, there was such tremendous change, and he turned the whole program around," senior Josko Alujevic said earlier this season. "The students started showing up for games, and we started winning."
Patsos has used name recognition to his advantage at Loyola, as well as his experience from 13-year stint as an assistant coach to Maryland?s Gary Williams. Patsos landed Maryland transfers Andre Collins and Hassan Fofana, as well as local talent transferring back to the region like Gerald Brown and Omari Isreal. He has also put a focus on recruiting local kids.
"Coach Patsos having the Maryland connection was definitely a draw for me," said sophomore guard Marquis Sullivan, an Archbishop Spalding alum from Westminster who is the team?s second-leading scorer at 13.7 points.
Patsos was nominated for the honor with 14 other coaches around the country, including Mike Lonergan, another former Maryland assistant. Now Vermont?s head coach, Lonergan has guided the Catamounts to a 21-6 record this season.
The success of two former assistants has not gone unnoticed by their old boss.
"The first thing [Jimmy] did was go up there and get them excited again, and that is the key," Williams said. "You want the fans? support because you are doing it for the students and the alumni of the school. He did that his first year, and after that, he has gradually gotten the program better."