Reyes ready for another championship season


Anna Hummel

Anna Hummel/The Maroon

Matthew Richards, Asst Sports

New Men’s Basketball Coach Donald Reyes Is Ready to Bring Another Title Home to New Orleans
By Matthew Richards

The Loyola men’s basketball team hired its new head coach, Donald Reyes, this fall, making him the first Black head coach to lead the team in program history.

Reyes, a New Orleans native, who spent seven years at Tulane University, is a friend of the team’s former head coach, Stacy Hollowell and comes to the university a season after the team won its first National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship in 77 years.

“It means everything to me. I’m extremely grateful and blessed. Opportunities like this don’t come very often, but for it to happen here at home means that much more to me, while also showcasing the diversity of the institution and the way it views itself in the world,” Reyes said, adding “I feel like Loyola is a reflection of who I am as a person.” 

Reyes was hired from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where he was the program’s director of basketball operations. Reyes previously worked at Bethune Cookman College, Arkansas State University, and Tulane University. 

The basketball team, who first met Reyes on a Zoom call, is also excited for him to lead the team.

“I liked him,” said senior guard Josh Tolbert of Reyes on the court. “When we got back to New Orleans and started workouts and practice, I got to know him better and began to like him even more as a coach and a person.”

Senior forward Jalen Galloway seconded what Tolbert had to say. 

“He’s a player’s coach –very experienced at the highest level, unselfish, and a great communicator.”

After a national championship season with three first-team All-Southern States Athletic Conference players in the starting lineup, Reyes said he has high expectations for this upcoming year.

 “On the court, our goals remain the same. We want to win the SSAC again and compete for another national title,” Reyes said.

 This season’s roster has 10 returning student-athletes from last year’s championship team and 10 new transfers, according to Reyes. Reyes plans to implement coaching and playing tactics he learned from his own mentors at Tulane and LSU. 

“I think Coach Reyes will be a game changer for us,” said sophomore guard Leonard Jackson III. “He’s always high energy, helps us bond, and really fits with what we’re trying to accomplish.”

But Reyes is also equally focused on life off the court as well as on it. He said he values education and is eager to see his players graduate. “I see basketball as a platform that can bring people together, so I want to use it to have a bigger impact on making sure our student-athletes are developed off the floor as well as on it,” he said. “We have a few guys on track to graduate this year, so I want to ensure we do everything possible to make sure that happens.”

Galloway said that he wants to keep the momentum of last season alive this year.

“A lot of teams struggle with that, and since we’re coming off one of the best seasons in NAIA history, it’ll be a challenge to sustain that level of play, but I think we can do it,” he said.

Reyes and the Wolf Pack will start their season on Nov. 3, when they face local rival Dillard University at Dillard. Their home opener is Nov. 12 versus Southern University of New Orleans.