Loyola's Gaudio is moving to Xavier

Assistant position unites 'Hounds coach with Prosser again

College Basketball

May 18, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

For the third time in the past six years, Loyola College announced its need for a new men's basketball coach yesterday, after Dino Gaudio resigned to take an assistant's position under Xavier coach Skip Prosser.

Gaudio, 43, leaves with a 32-52 record in three seasons, including a 7-20 campaign in 1999-2000 that was marked by the departure of three key players."I have tremendous respect for the college and the administration," he said. "I feel, however, that the school will be best served in going in a new direction."

Loyola president Rev. Harold Ridley and athletic director Joseph Boylan said that a search for a new coach would begin immediately. One assistant, Darryl Brooks recently took the head coaching job at Western Maryland, and another, Dave Wojcik, took a non-basketball related position at Xavier, so the replacement would probably come from beyond Loyola.

Gaudio moved despite what he described as Loyola's offer to extend the contract that was to end after the upcoming season.

In the end, though, Gaudio said: "It was time to move on. The parting was very amicable. The friendships will last a long time."

The coach had little opportunity to inform players such as incoming recruit Greg McBain, from Waldwick High in New Jersey.

He had heard rumors of Gaudio's departure, but didn't expect them to be true."I can't say I'm happy; it's upsetting because he and Coach Brooks recruited me," McBain said. "I know that I still have to work hard to produce for the team. I just have to have the same mentality."

Gaudio is replacing Mark Gaffney, whose resignation from the Xavier staff was announced a week ago. In doing so, Gaudio comes full circle to work at the school where he began his college coaching career as an assistant along with Prosser. Gaudio spent six seasons there.

Prosser, who later coached at Loyola for a season before returning to Xavier as a head coach, was excited about getting Gaudio.

"To be able to find someone with his exceptional experience is a big plus for the program," Prosser said in a release. "Dino is someone that I really respect and have a great working relationship with, which should make his transition a very smooth one."

To replace Brian Ellerbe, Gaudio came to Loyola in 1997 after three seasons at Army, possessing the potential to follow in the footsteps of Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski -- also former Army coaches.

But coming into a program that already had four straight losing seasons, he was also considered a risk because of a 36-72 career record at the time, as Loyola athletic director Joe Boylan noted then.

"Not everyone is going to be Mike Krzyzewski," Boylan told The Sun in 1997. "But it gives you a benchmark. At this point, I think Dino is the best person for this job."

Unfortunately for Loyola, Gaudio couldn't stop the four-season swoon since an NCAA tournament appearance under Prosser and his subsequent departure.

After a 12-16 record in Gaudio's first season, the Greyhounds got off to strong starts in each of the next two seasons, only to collapse over the last half of both.

The mitigating factors in the last season were the decision of Ryan Blosser to leave the team, a knee injury to Clifford Strong (who later transferred) and the expulsion of Jason Rowe, who was the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference preseason player of the year.

"I feel badly that I wasn't able to bring [success] to Loyola, but it wasn't for a lack of effort," he said. "I really believe that we were going to have an outstanding year if not for the things that happened to us."

When Gaffney left, the Xavier opening slipped into the already frequent conversations between Prosser and Gaudio.

The excitement of a new arena - as Xavier has - and the prospect of NCAA tournament appearances were enough to move Gaudio.

This was a decision based on what I felt was best for me at the time," he said. "There aren't many people I can work for, but one person I can work for is Skip Prosser. The ties I have here are special ones."

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