When they threw a party Jan. 29 at Loyola College to celebrate what turned out to be the team's lone victory in a dismal 1-27 season, coach Scott Hicks probably understood that his days were numbered as basketball coach.
Greyhounds athletic director Joe Boylan made Hicks' departure official yesterday, announcing that his contract would not be renewed after his bleak 16-97 record over four seasons.
Boylan made the expected announcement after meeting with the coaches and players yesterday morning and described the entire team as "beaten down" by the 31-game losing streak over two seasons.
"Unless you've been through something like that, you can't understand how it feels," Boylan said. "It becomes a part of who you are."
Hicks could not be reached to comment.
Loyola ended the 31-game streak that drew national attention on Jan. 29, defeating Marist College, 63-57, before 2,311 fans, the largest crowd of the season.
"Despite the euphoria of that night, we were 1-27," Boylan said. "Scott Hicks and his staff have handled themselves with great dignity over the past four years at Loyola. Lack of success on the court, however, has led to the college's decision not to renew his contract."
The 31 straight losses were two short of tying the all-time NCAA record of 33 consecutive losses held by Grambling.
Now, Boylan begins a new search for a coach to turn around the program.
"This is a critical hire for the school and the students," he said. "We need to get a break. We need to bring in someone who really wants to be here, someone who really wants this job, regardless of the obstacles."
Boylan continued: "If the weight room is underwater, they will go outside and lift. Instead of us selling a new coach on the job, they need to sell themselves for the job."
Maryland assistant Jimmy Patsos, a finalist for the job when Hicks was hired, is thought to be an early candidate for the position.
The Associated Press' all-ACC men's basketball team for 2003-04, as voted on by 93 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. (First-team votes in parentheses; points tallied on a 3-2-1 system).
Player, School Points
Rashad McCants, North Carolina (91) 277
Julius Hodge, N.C. State (90) 276
Tim Pickett, Florida State (77) 264
Chris Duhon, Duke (72) 252
Justin Gray, Wake Forest (56) 236
J.J. Redick, Duke (44) 220
B.J. Elder, Georgia Tech (21) 197
Marcus Melvin, N.C. State (1) 157
Sean May, North Carolina (2) 140
Shelden Williams, Duke (6) 125
Chris Paul, Wake Forest 124
Raymond Felton, North Carolina (2) 115
Luol Deng, Duke (2) 111
John Gilchrist, Maryland 78
Jarrett Jack, Georgia Tech (1) 69
Honorable mention (15 or more points): Elton Brown, Virginia, 49; Daniel Ewing, Duke, 19; Devin Smith, Virginia, 17.