Experience important at Loyola, Towson Schools want new coaches in position by mid-April

April 06, 1997|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

Loyola College athletic director Joe Boylan says that he hopes to name a new head coach by the middle of the month and that he'd like to find someone "who's familiar with what Loyola is all about."

Boylan said Friday that he has received about 15 official applications and that another 10 prospective candidates have inquired about the job left vacated by this week's departure of Brian Ellerbe.

Ellerbe, who had no head coaching experience before coming to Loyola after being an assistant at Virginia, left after three consecutive losing seasons.

Asked if the person he hires would have to be a Division I head coach or have had Division I head coaching experience, Boylan said, "We'll lean in that direction but I wouldn't say it's a necessity. It's important for the person to have recruiting experience on this level."

Two former Loyola assistants who fit those profiles are Pat Dennis and Jeff Battle.

Dennis, 41, has been head coach at The Citadel for five years. A native of Baltimore, he was an assistant at Loyola for two seasons under Mark Amatucci before becoming an assistant at George Washington and Richmond.

Dennis is 55-79 at The Citadel, which hasn't had a winning season since 1988-89 and is considered one of the country's toughest Division I jobs. The Cadets finished 13-14 last season, but have shown improvement in each of Dennis' five years.

ZTC Battle, 35, joined Skip Prosser's staff at Loyola for the 1993-94 season, the year Loyola went to the NCAA tournament. Battle then left with Prosser to go to Xavier, where the Musketeers have gone to the NCAA tournament two of the past three years.

Battle's only head coaching experience was three years at Cesar Rodney High School in Dover, Del. Battle's previous Division I coaching experience was as an assistant at Delaware State and a graduate assistant at Marshall.

Boylan is still close with Prosser and his staff, and according to a Xavier spokesman, "has probably seen more of our games than some of our season-ticket holders."

Boylan's daughter, Heather, is married to another of Prosser's assistants, former Loyola standout Dave Wojcik.

Neither Dennis nor Battle could be reached to comment.

Boylan declined to comment on specific candidates.

The search also goes on at Towson State, where longtime coach Terry Truax wasn't renewed recently after 14 years. Athletic director Wayne Edwards was at the Final Four last weekend in Indianapolis talking to potential candidates.

Edwards was not on campus Friday. Assistant athletic director Pete Schlehr said that Edwards "was out looking for a basketball coach." Schlehr said Towson's timetable was similar to Loyola's. "We're hoping to have somebody by the middle of the month," he said.

Among those who have inquired about the job is former Navy and Pitt coach Paul Evans. After being fired at Pitt three years ago, Evans had been out of coaching until becoming a part-time volunteer assistant at Gonzaga High School in Washington last season.

Chuck Driesell, who was an assistant under his father, Lefty Driesell, at James Madison, has applied for the Towson job and also said he was interested in the Loyola position.

Pub Date: 4/06/97

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