The Wolf Pack makes history with its first championship win since 1945

Gabriella Killett, Managing Editor for Print

Senior guard Myles Burns collapsed in tears on the hardwood floor of the court just as the clock read 0.0. At that moment, Burns, later named the championship’s most valuable player, had just played a game that would change his life forever, marking his name and those of his teammates in Loyola history books. 

Wolf Pack men’s basketball won the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics’ championship Tuesday, March 22, for the program’s second time ever and for the first time in 78 years since 1945. 

The team started the school year with damage to the city and surrounding areas due to Hurricane Ida. This was amid the COVID-19 pandemic, too, and even with loosening restrictions, setbacks kept coming as recently as this weekend. Sophomore guard Brandon Davis, a starter and Fall 2021 transfer from Delgado Community College, didn’t play in the final eight game Saturday, March 19 due to getting food poisoning in Kansas City. 

But Davis and his teammates forgot all the bad times for two twenty minute halves when they played their game and won. Davis called it “beating the odds.” 

“It shows that nothing can stop what God has planned,” he said. “I made a lot of history in my first year here.” 

Stacy Hollowell, the team’s head coach and national coach of the year, said despite the adversity, his team got to this point because the players are “tough guys.”  

“They believed in themselves and the program,” he said. 

Senior guard Zach Wrightsil, who was named the NAIA Player of the Year after the game, told Burns in the post-game chaos he knew they’d win from the beginning. Burns’ Little League coach, Malcolm Sharpe, who made it to the championship in Kansas City, told The Maroon the same thing. 

“That’s what we do,” Sharpe said. “We win championships,” recalling the times he won two final games with Burns starting at the age of six years old while playing Little League. “I just knew it was a matter of time.” 

Ben Fields, a member of Loyola’s board of trustees who played on Loyola’s basketball team, was picking up pieces of red, white and blue confetti and stuffing them in his jacket pocket after the game. 

He said he was bringing them home to New Orleans to put in his shadow box next to a piece of the net he cut off when the team he played for made the top sixteen in 2018. 

“You got to remember times like this,” he said.