Loyola’s new basketball coach Donald Reyes says he has big shoes to fill

Eve McFarland, Staff Writer

Donald Reyes is the new head coach for the defending NAIA Men’s Basketball National Champions. With 15 years of experience in the NCAA Division One, Reyes said he is ready to coach at Loyola.

“It feels amazing. I’m very grateful and very blessed to be able to be the first at home. It means a lot not only to myself but I think to a lot of up and coming coaches in the game,” Reyes said.

But Reyes is already making history. He is the first African American head coach in the program’s history.

“It’s amazing to see more people like myself and getting these opportunities,” he said.

Last season set the bar high for the team. Going into this new season, Reyes said becoming national champions again is the top goal.

“We want to be better everyday. Be better everyday, obviously win the SSAC conference first year. Give ourselves a chance in the tournament getting in the field of 64 and have fun from there,” Reyes said. “Again, a brand new group, 10 new guys, 10 old guys just trying to get them to blend and understand that we’re built for the long haul. We are not looking for the instant gratification, we got to go through the highs and the lows of the season. We are buying in the day to day,” he said.

He said he sees the game differently than others. He said does not view himself as a coach, but as more of a leader, helping the men’s team learn life lessons while dominating the court. 

“It was always a dream of mine to be at a university leading the program, doing things the way I ultimately wanted them done when I was playing,” he said.