Loyola Chicago accepts invitation to Atlantic 10, will join next season

Courtesy: loyolaramblers.com

By: Anthony Goss

CHICAGO — Loyola University at Chicago has accepted an invitation to join the Atlantic 10 conference beginning in the 2022-23 academic year, the school announced yesterday.

The move comes amid major conference realignment developments in collegiate athletics within the 2021 year.

“Loyola’s commitment to the high-level scholastic achievement of all of its students, coupled with its excellent athletic profile, from success in basketball, soccer and volleyball to outstanding facilities and resources is a perfect fit for the A-10,” said A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade. “The addition expands the A-10 footprint into the Chicago market, giving the conference a presence in three of the top four media markets in the United States.”

Loyola participates in 13 of the 21 sponsored sports by the A-10, but the move carries the largest weight in men’s basketball. In three of the last four seasons, the Ramblers have won at least a share of the Missouri Valley regular-season championship. The Ramblers reached the Sweet 16 last season and the Final Four in 2018.

St. Bonaventure has its own connection to Loyola athletics. Current Loyola-Chicago director of athletics Steve Watson previously served as the director of athletics at Bona’s. Watson hired Mark Schmidt in 2007, who revitalized the men’s basketball team by leading the Bonnies to their first A-10 conference title in program history in 2012. The women’s program had its best season to date, going 31-4 and reaching the Sweet 16

Besides the basketball programs, St. Bonaventure’s women’s soccer team qualified for the conference tournament in six straight seasons and both men’s and women’s cross country had historic seasons.

Watson oversaw several athletic facility improvements and upgrades in his tenure at St. Bonaventure, most notably the unveiling of Bob Lanier Court.

Source: AD Watson accepts position at Loyola Chicago


[Image courtesy of gobonnies.com]

By Joseph Pinter, @JPinter93

St. Bonaventure University may have to begin looking for a new head of its athletic department.

According to a source, Athletic Director Steve Watson has accepted the same position at Loyola University Chicago.

Bonaventure athletic officials have declined comment.

Watson was named Bonaventure AD in 2006 after spending four years as an associate AD at Eastern Michigan. He had played professional basketball for six years in Europe and Asia after playing college basketball at Rutgers and Bowling Green.

Watson is currently the last member of his family employed by Bonaventure.

Watson’s late father, John, was a business professor, dean, and vice president for academic affairs. His late brother, also John, was a management professor.  And his mother, Suzanne, is a retired computer science professor.


Bonnies show academic leadership

Student athletes’ GPA averages for spring 2011 semester is higher than the university student body’s

By Tony Lee, editor in chief, @sHecKii

ST. BONAVENTURE (Aug. 23) — St. Bonaventure University student athletes had a higher average semester GPA for the spring 2011 semester than the university’s entire student body, according to data supplied by the athletics department

The data showed students who compete in Division I athletics earned a 3.114 average GPA, compared to 3.035 of the student body this spring. Eleven of the university’s 14 intercollegiate teams had higher than a 3.00 average semester GPA, too.

Women’s soccer, coached by Manoj Khettry, had the highest semester team GPA at 3.476. Softball, coached by Mike Threehouse, had 3.395; women’s cross-country, coached by Bob Macfarlane, had 3.329; and women’s tennis, coached by Mike Bates, had 3.305.

“They take great pride in their achievements in the classroom, and our coaches make sure they understand the importance of academic success,” said Steve Watson, director of athletics.

Out of 240 Division I student athletes, senior cross-country runner Elizabeth Moran was one of nine who achieved a perfect 4.0 in the spring.

She said time management skills helped her handle the delicate balance between athletics and academia.

“It’s being able to decide what’s the most important thing to do and (do it) at a certain time,” said Moran, an elementary and special education major. “I don’t sit around and watch a bunch of TV. Basically, I go to class, go to practice, and go do my work.”

The average semester GPA for women was 3.241; the average semester GPA for men was 2.991.

“I am very proud of the student athletes for achieving such great success in their academics,” said Michelle Kent, assistant athletic director for academic support and student services. “They have a lot of things they have to balance and they do a great job of managing their time to be successful.”

Women’s basketball (2.830), baseball (2.760) and men’s basketball (2.607) fell below 3.0.

Cross-country had the highest semester average amongst men at 3.204.


John Gilbert Watson, dean of the School of Business, dies at 67

By Tony Lee, editor in chief, @sHecKii

UPDATED – 9:00 a.m.

John Gilbert Watson, Ph.D., St. Bonaventure University’s dean of the School of Business, died Sunday evening after suffering a stroke in York, Pa., according to a university spokesman. He was 67.

Watson visited friends at a country club Sunday when he had played golf as a young man; he was taken to a York hospital, where he died at 10:15 p.m.

Most students received the news about Watson via the university Notice Board at 9:05 p.m. A message from University President Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., said he was in “grave” condition. GoBonnies.com, St. Bonaventure’s official athletics site, confirmed his death via Twitter.

Watson, who planned to retire in May after a 36-year career at St. Bonaventure, served as the dean for the last four years; the management sciences professor also served as dean from 1976 to 1984 before. 

Students like Nadia Babar, a senior marketing major, got to know him well in and outside of St. Bonaventure. 

Babar, an Olean native, said she saw Watson often when he attended kickboxing classes at the Olean YMCA.

She said he was quiet, but seemed to look like he had fun.

“He was usually the only male in the class, and always helped pick up the heavy punching bags,” Babar said. “He was seriously good at kickboxing to my surprise and never seemed to miss a class.”

Babar said Watson is friends with her parents and have seen him visiting the mosque she goes to in Allegany with Fr. Michael Calabria, O.F.M.

“He’s always just been a really nice person that I’ve respected and looked up to,” Babar said. 

Shannon Shepherd, who was a business major for three semesters, said she had a “bad feeling in her gut” as soon as she read the Notice Board email.

“I had to reread it a few times; I couldn’t believe it,” the junior journalism and mass communication major said. “You could tell Sr. Margaret was in shock, too.”

Shepherd, who covered basketball games for SBU-TV, said though she had not worked with Watson personally, she remembered him for doing color on 95.7 WPIG-FM.

“I just saw him all the time being in (The John J. Murphy Professional Building),” said Shepherd, who often works in the Koop Broadcasting Lab, about 20 paces away from the dean’s office. “He has such an amazing family and that is what makes it extra sad.”

His wife, Suzanne, retired last year after nine years as a lecturer in the university’s computer science department. Their son, Steve, is St. Bonaventure’s director of athletics, and their son, John James, is a marketing professor at the university. 


[Image courtesy of sbu.edu]

Men’s basketball extends season after accepting College Basketball Invitational’s bid

ST. BONAVENTURE (March 14) — Men’s basketball team will play at least one more game this season after accepting a post-season bid from the College Basketball Invitational today.

St. Bonaventure (16-14) will play at Central Florida (19-11) at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the opening round of the 16-team tournament. 

Steve Watson, director of athletics, said the trip to Florida will not cost the university additional funds because the CBI reimburses the trip. 

Central Florida set aside $15 tickets close to the Bonnies bench, according to GoBonnies.com.

The UCF Ticket Office can be reached at (407) 823-1000.