Jimmy Patsos does it his way, and Loyola keeps winning

"They said: 'What's this? Two little kids lost in the woods in Maine at a camp in the 60s, there's no black people in the movie, this stunk and you got it wrong,'" Patsos says with a laugh. "I said 'I'll take it, you're right.' I took the F."

But Patsos hasn't taken many F's at Loyola. Look what he's done for this basketball program.

Back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in the school's Division I history dating back to the '81-82 season. Players who graduate. (Erik Etherly, the big forward who dropped 30 points on Manhattan, is a grad student. So is starting forward Anthony Winbush.)

Players who don't show up in the police blotter.

Loyola came into this season with a target on its back after winning the MAAC tournament last year and going to the Big Dance. But Patsos coached his butt off with a veteran team that bought into his system.

Some will tell you he's mellowed, which sounds laughable when you watch him stomp and scream at his players and work the refs as he did Sunday. But the volcanic temper is kept in check more these days. And he's cleaned up the legendary swear-fests that would peel the tiles off Reitz Arena and make little old ladies in the first 20 rows faint.

"I didn't coach differently," he said. "I like this team. I've been calmer the last two or three years. I'm older, anyway. I'm 46, not 36. I'm married."

Now he gets another shot at three games in March. It starts Friday night with a 9:30 p.m. rematch against Manhattan in Springfield, Mass.

No one knows where it ends. But right now, Patsos is OK with that, too.



Listen to Kevin Cowherd Tuesdays at 7:20 a.m. on 105.7 The Fan's "The Norris and Davis Show."

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