We are one week away from officially joining the A10 Conference and recruiting is in full swing with the most recent commitments, I want to give some insight to the staff behind this hard work.
This Loyola Rambler staff are a great group of dedicated individuals that our guy Drew Valentine put together last year, just as he was given the title of head coach. Now one year together I want to give quick points about the leaders from the coaching ranks.
Of course we are going to start off with the amazing sneakerhead leader Drew Valentine. Valentine for those if you don’t know by now was hired after the 2020-2021 season when former head coach Porter Moser left for Oklahoma. Drew the youngest head coach in Division 1, a stat every broadcast didn’t want you to forget. Coach Valentine has exactly what Loyola wanted, young, experienced and from within the Loyola coaching ranks. Drew does have a resume prior to Loyola that many will hear over the A10 broadcast and that is he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Tom Izzo at Michigan State. There he developed a relationship with Coach Izzo that is still a big impact to Coach Valentine today. As well his brother, NBA star Denzel Valentine was playing for the Spartans at the time. Then Drew would coaching at Oakland University, and then finding his way to Chicago for Porter Moser. Over the years at Loyola Drew identified himself as the defensive lead on the staff. This experience and knowledge is want gave Drew the control over the Rambler basketball team and I have been very excited watching his dedication to the team and school.
Next I have to talk about head coach Drew Valentine’s right hand man, London Dokubo. London I feel at this point bleeds maroon and gold. London joined the Loyola basketball community in 2011 when he stepped on the court as a key walk-on for the Ramblers. After 2015 four years of Rambler basketball, London decided to join the staff first as a volunteer assistant. Then over the years London has held graduate assistant and currently director of men’s basketball operations. I feel London staying on the staff is the glue that held the transition together and impacts the program in more ways then we as fans may see. London has the highest commitment to Loyola and to its players both current and future, having him on the staff is a true gem.
Another familiar face to the program is Patrick Wallace, current assistant coach for the Ramblers. Coach Valentine promoted Patrick Wallace after 2 years of being video coordinator for Porter Moser at Loyola. Patrick was not to far from Loyola before his video days spent time up not in Chicago but Evanston at Northwestern. His time at Northwestern was where he was a graduate manager under coach Chris Collins. Patrick has been another guy traditionally working hard behind the scenes so watching him on the recruiting trail and excited on the bench is a great development just as Drew went from a graduate assistant to now our head coach. This is a trait we have seen now with both London and Patrick so far.
Then rounding out the assistants on the Loyola staff both Sean Dwyer and Amorrow Morgan both who come from years of being assistants at mid-major and high major teams such as Alabama, Cincinnati, South Alabama, Northern Kentucky University and even Dwyer experience at Michigan State. Both I feel have hit the ground running over the last year as key recruiters for the team in helping Coach Valentine find the right guys for the right role the team needs.
Lastly I want to mention C.J. Rivers who not only has amazing drip when sitting courtside at AAU events but a young knowledgeable former player in the MVC at Drake. He had a graduate assistant time at Colorado State working under his former coach at Drake. C.J is a very energetic force on the bench as the most recent former player on the staff. That passion has transitioned into the coaching ranks and I am very excited to watch him progress just as fellow video coordinators/graduates assistants on this staff have progressed.
Biggest thing for A10 and new Loyola fans in general to understand about this staff is that Drew hand picked each member to bring something to the team that can help complete a leadership group. Even as young as Drew is he nonetheless knows the importance of surrounding yourself with high character and if I may say so myself, premier sneaker wearing coaching staff. This group of experienced guys have shown in one season what the Loyola Ramblers can do and I cannot wait to watch them in our first year in the A10.