A lot of Baltimoreans will be pleased to learn that Pat Dennis is the new basketball coach at The Citadel. The announcement was being made today at a news conference at the Charleston, S.C., school.
Dennis, for the past six years the No. 1 assistant to Dick Tarrant at Richmond, was educated here at Loyola High, where he played for coach Jerry Savage.
Dennis became a Division III All-America at Washington & Lee and went on to try out for the Boston Celtics. He lasted until the final cut.
In addition to Richmond, Dennis has served as an assistant coach at Towson State, Loyola College and George Washington.
Tarrant had said publicly he wanted Dennis to stay on at Richmond and succeed him as coach in two years. Dennis has been Tarrant's right-hand man in everything from recruiting to scouting to game plans. But Dennis, 35, felt now was the time for him to become a head coach.
Some observers are wondering if Dennis is making a smart move in going to a military school with tough academic standards.
"If you work hard enough," Dennis says, "I believe you can attract good players to a good school."
Indeed, The Citadel was no career graveyard for Les Robinson, who is now coach at North Carolina State.
One inviting thing about The Citadel: It's a member of the Southern Conference, whose champion gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. East Tennessee State earned that this year.
* Another military institution, the Naval Academy, went the other route over the weekend in naming Don DeVoe its basketball coach.
DeVoe, 50, is one of the game's journeymen. Navy is his fifth Division I stop in a 19-year career.
Since leaving Florida after the '89-90 season, DeVoe has run camps and done consulting. One former college coach says simply that "Don has been looking for a job for two years."
DeVoe and the man who hired him at Navy, athletic director Jack Lengyel, are fellow Ohioans.
* Speaking of basketball coaches, some wonderful letters have come in regarding former Loyola College basketball and baseball coach and A.D. Lefty Reitz, who died at the age of 82 10 days ago.
Chuck Burke, who was a freshman at Loyola in 1937 when Reitz started there and later coached the Greyhounds baseball team when Lefty was in the service during World War II, writes:
"Lefty was an unusual man. Because basketball was the chief sport at Loyola during Lefty's years, his great ability as a 'N baseball player and coach were really overlooked. The only strong language he ever used was 'Holy Cow!' I was honored to lTC be an honorary pallbearer for him."
Writes former Loyolan Gil Dunn from Stevensville: "Lefty Reitz was liked, probably loved, admired and respected by all who knew him. As our coach he was also our friend. I will never forget him and am grateful to be among the thousands he coached and knew as a friend."
* After watching Rick Sutcliffe's masterful, route-going five-hit shutout against Cleveland on Opening Day, I was surprised to see the new Orioles righthander roughed up in Toronto Saturday.
Of course, Toronto and Cleveland are hardly comparable, which helps explain the Orioles' first two series. They looked pretty darned good shutting out the Indians twice; they didn't look so good getting swept over the weekend by the Blue Jays.
* The rash of college lacrosse upsets over the weekend -- Hofstra beating Towson State, Navy winning at Maryland, Duke beating Loyola -- make it all but impossible to pick the top 10 in this week's poll.
It seems clear that Syracuse (7-1) should be No. 1 and North Carolina (6-2) deserves No. 2. After that, toss a bunch of names in the air -- Johns Hopkins (4-2)? Princeton (7-2)? Navy (5-3)? -- and pick anyone you like. You'll get no argument here.