Loyola says new year will bring it a new athletic director

Loyola College will name an athletic director to succeed Tom Brennan by mid-January, and assistant AD James Smith will fill the position on an interim basis, a vice president of the school said yesterday.

Brennan, who came to Loyola in August 1986, was named athletic director at San Jose State Tuesday night. He will remain at Loyola until early October, when Smith will become interim AD. Dr. Thomas Scheye, the Loyola provost who oversees the school's athletic program, appointed Smith to the position.


"We will establish a search committee very soon, and I'll tell them to have the position filled by the start of the spring semester, in mid-January," Scheye said. "We'll be advertising the position immediately."

Scheye played a key role in hiring Brennan in 1986. Brennan replaced Tom O'Connor, who became athletic director at another California school, Santa Clara.


"We went from one Tom to another, and both served us well," Scheye said. "Whoever we choose now, I think there's going to be great interest in the job. Tom Brennan made this a very attractive position."

One person who doesn't expect to apply is Smith. An all-Ivy League lacrosse player at Cornell, Smith came to Loyola to coordinate support services for student-athletes in 1986. He was entering his second year as an assistant athletic director.

"This is my first experience in management, and I just want to keep things on track," said Smith, 27. "Having me take over on an interim basis seems like the natural thing to do."

Brennan, 38, told Scheye of his interest in the San Jose job three weeks ago. He was interviewed by the school a week after applying for the position, and San Jose announced the hiring Tuesday. Brennan will attend a news conference there tomorrow.

In his four years at Loyola, Brennan will be remembered for engineering a move from the Northeast Conference to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, a group of small, like-minded schools with a Catholic affiliation. One drawback to the shift was the soccer team's missing out on a Northeast title that brought with it a bid to the NCAA tournament, and coach Bill Sento criticized the move.

Near the end of the 1988-89 basketball season, Brennan chose not to renew the contract of coach Mark Amatucci, and brought in Tom Schneider as his replacement. Brennan made promoting men's basketball a priority, and Loyola was the first Baltimore college team to have its games broadcast on commercial radio. Before leaving for San Jose, Brennan said he wants to finalize plans to have five Loyola games telecast on Home Team Sports.

During Brennan's four years at Loyola, the men's basketball team went 37-78. The women's lacrosse team reached the NCAA tournament for the first time, and the men's lacrosse team flourished under Dave Cottle, who signed a three-year contract after taking the Greyhounds to the NCAA championship game in May.

"Tom [Brennan] helped lacrosse get to another level," Cottle said. "The NCAA limit for Division I is 14 full scholarships, and when I came here we had enough money for 12 tuitions and four room-and-boards. Now we can pay for 14 tuitions and seven room-and-boards. He took fund-raising from about $60,000 a year to $300,000 annually, and improved this department in so many ways.


"Tom's climbing the ladder. If he does a great job at San Jose, he can go anywhere in the country."

Before coming to Loyola, Brennan was an assistant athletic director at New Mexico. A return to the West and Division I-A football lured him to San Jose.

Loyola and San Jose both have 14-sport athletic programs, and that is where the similarity ends. Whereas Loyola has 3,000 undergraduate students and is a private college, San Jose State is a public university with 26,000 students. Its teams compete in the Big West Conference, which includes Nevada-Las Vegas, Long Beach State, New Mexico State and Hawaii.

Brennan replaces Randy Hoffman, who left San Jose to become AD at Idaho State. Hoffman was formerly associate AD at Maryland.