1962 Basketball Team (2002)
Any discussion of the greatest hoop teams in Loyola Academy history must include the Heavyweights of 1962. Coach Gene Sullivan's 1962 Heavyweight Basketball Team is a study in form, function — and frustration. Conceivably his most talented array, the '62 cagers featured marquee players (Hall-of-Famers Jack Wambach, 1998; Paul Colleran, 1999; John Gorman, 2000) posted the school's all-time highest Heavyweight winning percentage (.875), and all but dominated Catholic League play. Following an unprecedented 21-1 regular season, however, the Ramblers lost their final two games (Gordon Tech, Catholic League championship; Marshall, city championship consolation), thus concluding both an exhilarating and exasperating year. A dynamic starting lineup of seniors Wambach, Gorman, Bud Elmore, and Jim Handley — coupled with Colleran, a junior — and a capable senior-laden bench (Jim Lyons, the team's Most Valuable Player; John Foreman; Pat Hogan; Jim O'Loughlin (Hall of Fame, 1998); Steve Galo; Bob Barrett; Tom Cole; Jack Seidler; Joe Mann, Bill Metzger) defined the pre-season by winning a second consecutive DePaul University Holiday Tournament. Steadied by Gorman's thirty-four points in the championship game vs. Leo and Wambach's and Elmore's All-Tourney selections, the Heavies braced for league play — principally the home-and-away tilts with Gordon Tech. The Ramblers rolled through their league schedule, going an undefeated 12-0 and beating rival Gordon Tech two times in convincing fashion. En route to a North Section championship, the '62 Heavies twice defeated each of six opponents by an average of 15+ points. The Chicago Tribune responded with a #1 area ranking, the first such honor in Loyola's storied basketball history. Thereafter, the post-season was a rude host. It is extremely difficult to defeat a worthy opponent three times in the same season, and the Ramblers fell to Gordon, 55-51, in the league championship before losing to Public League Runner-Up Marshall, 61-58 in overtime, in the city consolation finals. Season-ending setbacks notwithstanding, the 1962 Heavyweight Basketball Team celebrates its year of pre-eminence (a 21-3 record) and distinction (four individual Hall-of-Fame inductees, including the late Gene Sullivan). Amid balanced scoring, a suffocating defense, a resilient bench (complete with juniors Rich Kehoe, John Lucas, and Ray Ferrara), and a luminous coach, the team assumes its place among Loyola's elite.