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Lynam Quits His Job at Loyola to Become Assistant With 76ers

Times Staff Writer

Loyola Marymount University, which fired Ed Goorjian in March because it wanted to take a new direction in basketball, is back in the market for a coach. Jim Lynam, Goorjian’s successor, resigned over the weekend and became an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers Monday.

Thus, the Lynam regime at Loyola lasted approximately 2 1/2 months, and his only official acts were the signing of one recruit, guard Enoch Simmons of Riverside North, and the hiring of two assistants, Jay Hillock and Judas Prada.

Lynam, who is from Philadelphia and was an assistant coach at St. Joseph’s when Matt Guokas, the 76ers’ new coach, played there in the mid-1960s, said that the desire to go home, coupled with the chance to get back into the NBA, was too attractive to turn down.

“Philadelphia is home and Matt Guokas is a long-time friend,” Lynam said in Philadelphia. “This is an opportunity for me to be a part of one of the premier franchises in the NBA.”

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Loyola officials were caught by surprise. School president Father James N. Loughran, who had fired Goorjian to bring in what he described as “my own team,” has been in New York on vacation. He said in a prepared statement that he and Brian Quinn, the school’s new athletic director, will meet next week to consider possible coaches.

“I’m extremely disappointed by his decision, but I wish him well,” Loughran said of Lynam. “He has strong professional, family and personal reasons for wanting to return to his home town of Philadelphia and professional coaching.”

Lynam, 43, was fired by the Clippers March 6, and was named Loyola’s coach April 4.

Quinn was named athletic director just last week and hasn’t officially started. “At this point we still feel we can attract a high-quality coach,” he said. “It is a good job. The athletes are there.”

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It may be an attractive job but the program sometimes seems snakebitten. In a similar occurrence in 1979, Bill Mulligan, then at Saddleback College, accepted the Loyola job, then resigned in a matter of days because of what he said were family considerations. Mulligan now is the coach at UC Irvine.

Ron Jacobs was hired to replace Mulligan and led Loyola into the NCAA tournament, but became embroiled in a grades controversy and left after a bitter dispute during which he sued the school. Jacobs eventually settled out of court and the team forfeited its 14 victories. That was Loyola’s last good year.

Goorjian, who had come in as Jacobs’ assistant, spent five years weathering personnel problems and alumni discontent, then was dismissed in March with a 45-91 record including 11-16 last season.

Although no candidates were mentioned, Hillock and Paul Westhead, former coach of the Lakers, became the early favorites.

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Westhead, who was a rumored finalist in March, teaches physical education and expository writing at Marymount Palos Verdes College, where he is establishing a basketball program for next season.

Hillock, who left a head coaching position at Gonzaga to return to Southern California, was respected as a solid coach in the West Coast Athletic Conference and knows Loyola’s personnel. He may be in the right place at the right time.

“I don’t know who they talked to the first time around, to be honest,” Quinn said. “Westhead is a name I keep hearing. But I’m really in the dark. I’ll meet with Father Loughran next Monday to come up with a process to find a new coach. He wants to do some thinking this week, do some soul searching and not do anything irrational.”


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