Loyola's Schneider resigns after 1-10 start AD Boylan installed as interim coach

January 16, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

Tom Schneider resigned as basketball coach at Loyola College yesterday, citing "the circumstances of this season." The Greyhounds' top two returning players from last year's team left the college before the season, and the team is 1-10.

Athletic director Joe Boylan, who was an assistant coach at Rutgers from 1973 to 1985, was installed as interim head coach by Loyola vice president Thomas Scheye. Boylan will be on the bench for today's 3 p.m. home game against Iona.

Schneider was in the final year of a four-year contract. In his two previous Division I coaching jobs, Schneider had taken Lehigh and Penn to the NCAA tournament.

A 63-47 loss to Iona Thursday was Loyola's seventh straight since a Dec. 12 victory over Mount St. Mary's, and it gave Schneider a 31-63 record in three-plus seasons with the Greyhounds.

Schneider gave his resignation to Boylan and Scheye yesterday afternoon, and was not present when they announced the head coaching moves to the Loyola players and assistant coaches Mark Lezanic and Rob Jackson before a 4:30 p.m. practice.

Schneider could not be reached for comment last night. In a prepared release, he said: "Considering the circumstances of this season, I am making this decision now. I believe that for myself, the players, and the coaching staff it is in the best interests of the program to resign at this time."

Boylan said that Schneider's contract runs through April, and that it would be honored. He said that a search for a new coach would begin immediately, but that Loyola wouldn't begin on-campus interviews until this season is over.

Asked if he had told Schneider that his contract would not be renewed, Boylan said, "No," but added that Schneider would not have been rehired if the Greyhounds had continued losing at the current rate.

"At this pace, that would be very unlikely," said Boylan, who was an assistant with Schneider at American in 1971-72.

"Tom's been in the business a long time, and he understands that there are some things we weren't happy with. A lot of them were out of his control. It wasn't the team we had last year. One of his best players didn't come back as expected, and I fully understand it was a difficult situation he was in. It put a burden on him."

Despite the graduation of Kevin Green, the No. 2 scorer in the program's history, the Greyhounds were optimistic after going 14-14 last season. It was Loyola's first non-losing record since 1986-87.

Before March was over, however, Tracy Bergan, the Greyhounds' point guard for nearly all of the past three seasons, withdrew from Loyola. The unexpected personnel losses continued in November, when junior forward Michael Reese, a Boston College transfer and the Greyhounds' top returning scorer and rebounder, was charged with assault.

Reese was dismissed from Loyola, and sophomore reserve guard-forward Chad Anderson withdrew after an unrelated violation of the school's conduct code.

Sophomore forward B. J. Pendleton has been the only consistent scorer on a team averaging 55.2 points; the other Greyhounds are shooting a combined 38.8 percent from the field. Loyola's defense kept it in several games.

Last week Schneider went to a three-guard lineup that included freshmen Matt Walker and Teron Owens and sophomore Matt Gabriel, who was limited to seven games by an injury last season. The Greyhounds played maybe their best half of the season Wednesday, leading Iona 31-20 at the half, but they faltered in the second half. Less than 20 hours later, Schneider was gone.

"I talked to Tom this afternoon, and he asked me a few things about St. Peter's," said assistant coach Lezanic, referring to today's opponent. "We [Lezanic and Jackson] found out when the players did. Obviously, the season was wearing on him."

Schneider replaced Mark Amatucci after the 1988-89 season, and the Greyhounds were 4-24 in his first season. They improved to 12-16 in 1990-91 and 14-14 last season, but Loyola, which last won a postseason game in 1987, was beaten in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament both years.

Turnover left the Greyhounds with only two recruited scholarship players in the junior and senior classes, and one of those is a junior college transfer.

"We've been through a lot of stuff in my four years," said senior Mike Malone, who began the season as the starting point guard but was benched in the youth movement. "This year alone, we lost Mike [Reese], Chad [Anderson], now Coach. I never thought we'd be 1-10, and have Joe Boylan as an interim coach in the middle of January."

Schneider's second Lehigh team upset its way through the 1985 East Coast Conference tournament and into the NCAAs, and his second Penn team went to the NCAA tournament, in 1987. His finest moments at Loyola came last February, when the Greyhounds won their last six regular-season games.

Schneider's record

Season ... School .... W-L

1983-84... Lehigh .... 4-23

1984-85... Lehigh ... 12-19

1985-86... Penn ..... 15-11

1986-87... Penn ..... 13-14

1987-88... Penn ..... 10-16

1988-89... Penn ..... 13-13

1989-90... Loyola..... 4-23

1990-91... Loyola.... 12-16

1991-92... Loyola.... 14-14

1992-93... Loyola..... 1-10

Totals ... ..... .... 98-160

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