Darren Artuso has been a presence on the sideline for the Loyola men’s lacrosse team for years. Yet the 27-year-old son of Joe – the university’s assistant athletic director and sports medicine director – and Gretchen Artuso became nationally known via ESPN for his on-screen bear hug of coach Charley Toomey after the top-seeded Greyhounds defeated Maryland, 9-3, in the NCAA tournament final on Memorial Day.

Matt Palmer, formerly of The Baltimore Examiner and The Howard County Times, wrote an excellent profile of Darren Artuso in The Catholic Review, and I strongly recommend reading the article to get a further glimpse of his impact on Loyola’s lacrosse program.

The one thing I would like to note is that Artuso was toddler on the sideline when Toomey was the starting goalkeeper at Loyola between 1987 and 1990. Artuso considers Toomey to be an uncle, while Toomey, who has three daughters, treats Artuso like a son.

Toomey still gets emotional thinking about a pep talk Artuso gave the team during the tournament.

“That still brings chills to me because he’s such a special person,” Toomey told Palmer. “That’s what Loyola is about and, in my opinion, what makes this place special. It develops the whole person. I know he [Darren] has his tough days and Joe has his tough days, but to experience that joy in that moment is something I will remember, he will remember and all the people in our locker room will remember for the rest of their lives.”