Anyone care to welcome a Loyola Chicago great back to Rogers Park? With the departure of two assistant coaches in the past couple weeks in Pat Wallace and Amorrow Morgan, Drew Valentine needed to fill a couple spots on his staff. With this announcement, I believe Loyola’s staff will be expanding. Former Larry Bird Trophy winner and Loyola Chicago alumnus, Clayton Custer has been added to Drew Valentine’s staff as an assistant coach.
It always seemed as if Custer would find his way back to the North side of Chicago, it was just a matter of time and an opening. Custer started his coaching career at Loyola when Porter Moser hired him on as support staff during the 2020-2021 season. When Moser left to take the head coaching job at Oklahoma, Custer was offered and took the Video Coordinator job on Moser’s staff. Clay has remained in Norman for two seasons, while the Sooners finished with a 34-33 record in those two seasons. During that 20-21 season when Custer was on staff, two current Ramblers played on that team – Tom Welch and Braden Norris. That team knocked off University of Illinois to reach their second Sweet Sixteen in three years.
Custer also experienced his own success on the court at Loyola. Custer was the Player of the Year in the Missouri Valley during the 2017-18 season. He led the Ramblers to their first NCAA tournament since 1985. The Ramblers reached the Final Four for the first time since 1963, when they won the National Championship. One of the most memorable moments in Custer’s playing career was his near buzzer beater to put the Ramblers up 63-62 over the Tennessee Volunteers.
Drew didn’t waste much time in adding a crucial member to his staff for this upcoming year in Clayton Custer. Something that we’ve mentioned on the last episode of our Podcast (https://tinyurl.com/Pod63) is that it seems clear that Drew wants to get back to how the Ramblers found success in the past: defense, smart shot selection, and limiting turnovers. Custer is a direct continuation of that theory. Drew will still have one assistant coach to hire this offseason. I think the options are limitless. He could go with an experienced staff member, an up and comer, or someone who specializes in one facet of the game like play calling or recruiting. It’ll be nice welcoming Clayton Custer back to the bench for our Ramblers!