Loyola Marymount officials began referring to basketball Coach Paul Westhead’s style last season as “Showtime.” Not only were the Lions a critical success--a 28-4 record--but they are becoming a hit at the box office.
Despite their national best 110-point average and a 25-game winning streak, the Lions didn’t draw well at home last season until the students returned for the second semester in late January. The sellouts--Gersten Pavilion officially seats 4,156--began coming as Loyola began rolling up win after win in the West Coast Athletic Conference. Ticket scalpers and parking snarls--things Westhead had joked about before the season--became a reality.
Tickets could be harder to come by this time around. Season ticket sales, which hit 669 last year, have topped 800 and Loyola officials expect to sell about 1,000. Virtually all the theater-type seats at midcourt are sold and several rows have been added to bring the choicest seat total to 383.
The school also expects increased interest when tickets for individual games go on sale Oct. 31. An athletic department spokesman said people have been calling for tickets virtually from the time Loyola reached the NCAA playoffs last March.
Westhead likes to say he marches to a slightly different drummer than most coaches. Loyola figures he can march any way he wants as long as it’s to the tune of healthy ticket sales.
Last season Westhead proved his running game can win at Loyola. In early practices this season, Westhead not only has the players running all-out for much of the 3-hour sessions but is refining his warm-up techniques to include sprint-style training. Westhead calls it “racing form” drills. The players do different strides and stepping techniques, similar to the way sprinters warm up on the track. Then it’s off to the races.
“You sweat just watching us,” said guard Bo Kimble.
Sand Dune Revisited: Westhead said he has had considerable reaction to a recent Times story detailing his team’s training routine of running up a mountainous sand dune in Manhattan Beach, including many friends who want to try it.
One includes Westhead’s former college coach and mentor, Jack Ramsay, now coach of the NBA Indiana Pacers. Westhead said Ramsay, a fitness enthusiast at 63, plans to run the dune the next time he’s in town.
Add Dune: Loyola crew team members, who run Sand Dune Park regularly, say their workouts are even tougher than the basketball team’s. The basketball players’ workout included three runs up the sand dune when they ran it in September and four times up last week. A crew team member said when they run the dune, they go up 7 to 10 times per workout.
After a recent Lakers practice at Loyola, Westhead crossed paths with new Laker Orlando Woolridge, who was a rising star when Westhead coached him with the Chicago Bulls in 1982-83. Woolridge, a stunning physical specimen, greeted Westhead warmly and told him he was enjoying the Lakers’ running game. “You taught it to me,” Woolridge told Westhead.
Two newcomers to the Loyola basketball team are walk-ons Steve Yoest and Tom Morley, who graduated together from Crespi High School two years ago. Both are 6-5. “Morley ran the 440 in high school. That’s why he’s on the team,” Westhead said. Yoest hopes to pick up where his brother, Mike, a two-time all-conference pick and blue collar-type player, left off. Westhead said: “We’ve got a freshman, John O’Connell, who’s kind of like a freshman Mike Yoest. And if you want Yoest, he’s here too.”
The hot soccer race in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. could come to a boil this weekend because Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State Northridge climbed to within a half-game of idle Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with victories Wednesday. Cal Poly remained in first place at 4-1-1, with the Toros and Northridge right behind at 4-1.
On Saturday the Toros play at Cal Poly Pomona (1-3-1), and on Sunday Cal Poly SLO is at Northridge. With a victory, the Toros can do no worse than remain a half-game out of first. With help from Northridge, they could finish the weekend tied for first with four games to play, including a home-field showdown with Northridge on Wednesday.
Toro Tidbits: Toros Athletic Director Dan Guerrero is part of a CCAA committee named to deal with the Prime Ticket cable network in an attempt to get television coverage of the season-ending CCAA basketball tournament.
First-year women’s basketball Coach Van Girard has instituted study halls for his team, with the women gathering in the library on evenings after practice. Among those attending is senior Kathy Goggins, a Rhodes scholarship candidate who carries a 3.8 grade-point average in psychology.
Cal State Dominguez Hills soccer Coach Marine Cano installed freshman Julie Chamberlain in goal four games ago. Since then she has two shutouts and a 0.50 goals against average . . . In an effort to shake up the volleyball team’s attack, Dominguez Hills Coach Jennifer Gorecki switched Karen Sutherland from setter to hitter. Sutherland has been the Toros’ leader in kills in CCAA matches . . . Loyola assistant baseball coach Dave Stabelfeldt, named Chris Smith’s top aide this summer, has resigned effective immediately . . . Pepperdine volleyball players Laura Fort and Tami Seidenberg are showing the effects of an on-court collision last Friday. They hit heads while diving for a shot. Fort, a setter, needed 18 stitches. Seidenberg, a hitter, got a fractured jaw. However, both are back in the lineup after missing one match.