Father Garanzini: Loyola athletics is on the move
Dear Loyola Community,
I am writing to share the exciting news that Loyola University Chicago will join the Missouri Valley Conference on July 1. This opportunity to compete on a higher level as a member of one of the most reputable Division I conferences is a testament to the passion, talent, and commitment of our student-athletes and coaches.
We join the Missouri Valley Conference at a dynamic time in athletics and student life at Loyola. Just this month we completed phase three of the reimagine campaign with the opening of the silver LEED-certified Arnold J. Damen, S.J., Student Center. Loyolans from across our campuses joined our students on April 3 in dedicating the new student union, which has already become a center of student activity from dawn to dusk. This new student center, along with the Norville Center, a renewed Gentile Arena, and now this move to the Missouri Valley Conference, are all part of a multi-year strategic effort to enhance the co-curricular program and experience for our students in partnership with our tradition of academic excellence.
Loyola athletics is on the move. For the first time in history, Rambler athletics finished both the fall and winter sports seasons on top of our current conference’s all-sports rankings. What’s more, just this week we welcomed Sheryl Swoopes as the new head coach of our women’s basketball team. Widely regarded as one of the greatest female athletes of all time, Sheryl is a four-time WNBA champion, NCAA champion, and three-time Olympic gold medalist who brings tremendous talent to developing our women’s basketball program. Loyola is looking ahead at all we endeavor to achieve while celebrating our tradition of excellence, including the honor of having our 1963 NCAA championship-winning men’s basketball team be the first team ever inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame next November. I think it’s fair to say that this is a very exciting time to be a Rambler.
As we move forward with the development of an increasingly robust and competitive athletic program at Loyola, we enthusiastically join Missouri Valley Conference members Bradley University, Drake University, the University of Evansville, Illinois State University, Indiana State University, Missouri State University, the University of Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois University, and Wichita State (who, by the way, made it to the NCAA Final Four this year). Our student-athletes are ready to compete on the national stage, and together we will build on Loyola’s legacy of excellence, both on the court and off.
Michael J. Garanzini, S.J.
President and CEO