For seven years, Patsos was Sisyphus and Loyola basketball was his rock. Every time he would push the rock up to 18 or 19 wins and third place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, it would slide back to 12 or 13 wins and seventh in the conference. There was great support in Baltimore: Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti came to games; Patsos’s mentor, Gary Williams, pushed loyal Maryland fans to get behind his former assistant’s program.
But every time Patsos nudged the rock anywhere close to the top of the mountain, the damn thing slid back on top of him again.
Until Friday night.
Finally, Reitz Arena looked exactly the way Patsos envisioned it when he first walked in and saw 2,100 empty seats — most of which stayed empty on game nights back then. The joke about Loyola basketball in those days was that during timeouts most of the students who showed up for a game were on the court — leading cheers in front of a mostly empty student section.
Not anymore. The place was packed and rocking — literally — for Loyola’s game against Iona, with first place in the MAAC on the line. When the students began jumping up and down during timeouts, the bleachers actually rocked.