Roche among 6 Loyola inductees Daughter to be inducted at Towson HALL OF FAME

March 21, 1993|By John W. S | John W. S,tewart Staff Writer

Stephanie Roche Willson was a keen observer at the annual Loyola College Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies held in McGuire Hall on the Evergreen campus.

It wasn't only that her father, Sid Roche, Class of 1947, was one of the new inductees. She wanted to see how the honored guests conducted themselves and listen to what they had to say.

After all, she will have to go through the same process later this spring.

Willson is scheduled for induction into the Towson State Athletic Hall of Fame in June, apparently making the Roche family the first in the area to claim a father/daughter pairing in local college sports "halls."

In addition to Roche, Loyola inducted Tom Murphy, Class of 1959 (lacrosse and swimming coach for 25 years); Lenny Lewandowski, Class of 1968 (All-American soccer player); Gene Gwiazdowski, Class of 1974 (All-conference basketball player, and the college's top student-athlete as a senior); Craig Callinan, Class of 1984 (All-American soccer player and three-year team most valuable player), and Rita Ciletti Hawkins, Class of 1986 (volleyball and women's lacrosse, where she was a two-time All-American and still holds the school's assist records).

For the Roches, the father and daughter selections surprised both recipients. Sid had been passed over before, and said he had kind of put the thought at the back of his mind, and Stephanie said she thought she was too young (30-something, she says) to be honored.

A Baltimore native and graduate of Loyola High School, Sid Roche was a three-year letter winner in basketball and baseball at Loyola College. He led the basketball team in scoring and was an All-Mason-Dixon Conference first-team selection as a freshman, and was team captain and second in scoring to Jim Lacy, still the school's all-time scoring leader, as a senior.

As a pitcher for the baseball team, Roche compiled a career record of 15-7, impressive when considering the college played a schedule of about 10 games a season. He hit with authority, too, including .364 in his senior year.

At 6 feet 2, Roche was one of the taller college basketball players in the region, although he recalls playing against LaSalle's 6-9 Larry Faust, who was to go on to play in the NBA. "I fronted him, tried to keep the ball away from him."

Two games stand out in Roche's memory, a 60-59 loss to Texas Wesleyan in a game that matched the top two scorers in the country, Clift McNeeley of Texas Wesleyan and Lacy, and a 54-53 win over Seton Hall that stopped a 32-game winning streak.

"Seton Hall had Bobby Davies, Bobby Wanzer and Pep Saul, although Saul had a bad cold and didn't play that night," Roche said of that game. "That might have had something to do with the outcome, too, because they had beaten us 60-38 earlier in the season."

Roche cited Lefty Reitz, who was basically the Loyola athletic department for years, as an influence on all his players.

"I played for him in both sports," Roche said. "He taught you to win or lose graciously and with dignity. He made a better man of me. He made us all more well-rounded and convinced us we'd get more out of life if we participated in sports."

Although Roche and his wife, Harriet, now live in Timonium, they spent 25 years in the Washington suburbs while Sid worked for the FBI, returning to the Baltimore area after his retirement 1976. Along the way, they raised eight children -- five girls and three boys.

Stephanie, the fourth child (third girl), had an outstanding

basketball career at Towson State, finishing as the school's first 1,000-point scorer (she stands seventh in scoring and sixth in rebounding on the school's career lists). She was a two-time All-State selection and Towson State's female athlete of the year in 1979.

Married to Carter Willson, a Towson State graduate and a quarterback on football teams of the mid-1970s, the couple has three children. "Brooke is eight, and she's already into basketball," her mother says. "She's a pretty good passer, but I've been telling her she has to attack the basket."

;/ Like her mother and grandfather before her.

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