Grace Calhoun, Loyola University Chicago’s Assistant Vice President and Athletic Director, recently discussed updates to the university’s athletic department, including this year’s accomplishments, the men’s basketball program, the department’s new logo, and upcoming summer events.
“The top-down support from the university has been fantastic and I really feel like we’ve laid down a great foundation for next and future years,” said Calhoun, summarizing her first year at Loyola.
Calhoun said she feels she has accomplished a few things in her first year of office including the opening of the Norville Center, a training center for athletes, a renovated Gentile Arena and some new coaches. Her mission for the department is not immediate change; instead it is more focused on building a strong foundation that is going to serve the school well for years to come.
Calhoun also discussed the men’s basketball team and the newly assigned coach Porter Moser. Although this year did not see too many wins (7 wins- 23 losses), Calhoun is confident that with the return of key players and the entrance of a talented recruiting class that the program will improve.
“Rebuilding was more challenging than once thought of on the onset, but the style of play, the intensity, and the level of play are all things that our fans noticed,” Calhoun said.
In January, the athletic department unveiled a new logo, although this seems to go unnoticed by most of the school’s students.
“I really had no idea about the athletic department’s new logo. I guess that shows the level of athletic involvement students feel here at Loyola,” said Tessa Kuipers, 19, a sophomore psychology major.
“The new logo is a perfect marriage of past tradition in history with a forward looking edgy aggressive new look. That combination of the black ‘L’ with that modernized sleek wolf really sends that message that we’re going to play with anyone, anywhere and that Loyola can be a nationally competitive program again,” Calhoun said.
At the end of her report Calhoun discussed upcoming summer events to engage the Loyola community and to show them what the future holds. The summer’s events are designed to pull players back in and get the population excited about Loyola athletics. Some of the summer events planned include Cubs and White Sox games, the Arlington park race track, a boat cruise, and other opportunities to get alumni, students and the fan base to meet coaches and hear about incoming student athletes.
Some Loyola students feel Calhoun’s efforts to breed excitement about Loyola athletics is a waste of time.
“When it comes to sports, Loyola isn’t exactly high up there. I feel like the student body just doesn’t care about the athletics here and any attempts to change this are futile,” said Ryann Howard, 19, a sophomore anthropology major.
Some students say that this lack of a strong athletic program leads to a major lack of school spirit.
“Loyola athletics sucks and the lack of a strong athletic program has lead to a lack of school spirit: one thing that a lot of students feel is a key component missing in the Loyola experience,” said Adam Reninger, 20, a sophomore marketing and economics major
Other students, however, are more hopeful.
“I went to some of the games this year and there was a definite change in attitude and determination in the players. This could be due to a the new coach or the new players or even the new stadium, which seems to have gotten people at least a little more excited about the future of Loyola athletics,” said Claire Tyler, 19, a freshmen undecided major.