Loyola hopes to hire a replacement for Prosser by next week

April 06, 1994|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

Loyola College athletic director Joe Boylan said yesterday that he hopes to hire a men's basketball coach next week.

Boylan is seeking a replacement for Skip Prosser, who became the head coach at Xavier last week. Prosser was the top assistant for eight seasons at Xavier, before assuming his first head-coaching position at Loyola last year.

"We're starting to move, getting permission to talk to people who have called and things like that," Boylan said. "The interest has been good. It's been what you'd expect after the year we had."

Four weeks ago, the Loyola campus was celebrating one of the nation's most dramatic one-year turnarounds.

Behind Prosser, the Greyhounds won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament as the fifth seed by beating Manhattan. The Greyhounds, who improved from a 2-25 record in 1992-93 to 17-13 this season, advanced to their first NCAA tournament as a Division I program. The Greyhounds lost to eventual West Region champion Arizona in the first round, but still enjoyed their first winning season since 1986-87.

The scene was drastically different yesterday at Loyola, where Prosser met with his former players to say goodbye.

Boylan said he talked to "a couple of viable candidates" last weekend while he was in Charlotte, N.C., the site of the Final Four. He added that he intends to narrow his search quickly to a short list of serious prospects.

"I'm figuring on four to six [candidates] at the most, more toward four," Boylan said.

Meanwhile, Darius Johnson and Milton Williams, freshman guards whom Prosser recruited, said they have no plans to leave Loyola.

"At first, I looked at my options, looking at the big picture. But I'm pretty sure I'm happy here," said Johnson, a member of the MAAC's All-Rookie team. His family resides in Cincinnati, where Xavier is located.

"As soon as I see the type of coach they bring in, and if I like his style of play, I'm pretty sure I'll stay," Johnson said.

"My teammates are the most important thing to me right now, and basketball is only going to take me so far. I've got to worry about my education. I think we'll still be good next year, as long as we get the right type of coach who wants to play how we played this year."

Johnson also said that the thought of sitting out for a season -- a rule for players who transfer from one Division I school to another--does not sit well with him.

"We'll always be able to count on each other. We'll be all right without Coach [Prosser], unless the coach that comes in is night-and-day compared to Coach Prosser," said Williams, whom Prosser recruited out of Greensboro, N.C.

"I'm sure Mr. Boylan will make a good decision. He'll make the transition as smooth as possible."

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