Locker Room Leadership

Coach Patsos with team

When Jimmy Patsos arrived at Loyola, the Greyhounds men’s basketball team had won a single game during the previous season. Now in his eighth season as Loyola’s head men’s basketball coach, Patsos is preparing to take his team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 18 years—and only the second in University history.

“He had to change the culture of the program,” his former boss, Gary Williams, the retired head men’s basketball coach for University of Maryland College Park, told ESPN of Patsos, who was named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. “Nobody was going to the games when he got there. He’s marketed that place.”

Each year Patsos visits a leadership class in the Sellinger Scholars program, offering advice on leadership that has helped him on the court—and could also help in a business setting.

As Patsos heads into a historic NCAA Tournament appearance for the Loyola Greyhounds, he shares five quick, direct tips for coaching—or business—success:

  1. Recruit good players. (“Get good kids that like each other who want to play hard and win,” Patsos told The Baltimore Sun in December.)
  2. Coach your players on the floor. Show them how to be successful at their job. Teach them! (During the MAAC Championship game, Patsos—who likes to quote the classics—gave the team a speech about Bobby Seale and the Black Panther Party during halftime.)
  3. Coach your players off the court—in their lives. Be involved, but not too involved. (Patsos emphasizes academic and spiritual excellence, as well as athletic fitness.)
  4. Promote: Sell the school and the program. (Whenever Patsos is interviewed, he speaks of how the team’s success offers a boost for the University. “It’s what the University needs,” he said after a campus rally last week. “But it’s not just what it needs. It’s what it deserves.”)
  5. Care. We don’t care how much you know. We want to know how much you care. When it is obvious that you care a lot, after that the rest is easy.