Skip Prosser, an assistant at Xavier the past eight seasons, was to be introduced as the 15th coach in Loyola's basketball history today. The Greyhounds decided to hire Prosser yesterday afternoon over La Salle assistant Joe Mihalich, the only other candidate who came to Loyola for an interview.
"Skip's the whole package," Loyola athletic director Joe Boylan said. "He's a teacher, a recruiter, he has controlled intensity. He has experience as a head coach, and he's won a state championship in high school. He comes from a program that's not only gone to the NCAAs, but reached the round of 32 and the round of 16."
Prosser, 42, has been Pete Gillen's right-hand man in Xavier's rise to dominance in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, and many thought he would replace Gillen if the head coach had left for one of the jobs he's interviewed for in recent years.
"First, I want the challenge of being a head coach," Prosser said when asked why he wanted to come to Loyola. "Second, I have great respect for Jesuit education. Third, I heard nothing but positive things about Joe Boylan. Fourth, it's an overused phrase, but the job has terrific potential. The league [Metro Atlantic] is a level playing field, and the schools all have a similar philosophy. All these things intrigue me."
The Greyhounds haven't had a winning record since 1986-87, when they were one victory over .500, and this past season's 2-25 record was the worst in a basketball history that began in 1908. Tom Schneider resigned in mid-January, midway through his fourth season with the Greyhounds, and Boylan was the interim coach the rest of the way.
The level of talent at Loyola must improve if the Greyhounds are going to compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Prosser has less than two weeks to make a difference before the spring signing period begins, but the talent he's helped bring to Xavier has been impressive.
Prosser has been the chief recruiter the past six years for Xavier, which made its seventh appearance in the NCAA tournament in eight years last month, losing to Indiana in the second round. The players brought to Cincinnati in recent years include Tyrone Hill, a first-round draft choice of the Golden State Warriors in 1990 who led the Musketeers to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
With Prosser as an assistant, Gillen has compiled a 177-66 record, and the head coach was surprised that the assistant stayed this long in Cincinnati.
Xavier has been the only college stop in Prosser's coaching career. In six seasons as the coach at Central Catholic High in Wheeling, W. Va., he compiled a 104-48 record, won a West Virginia AA championship and made four other trips to the state semifinals. Prosser coached at the Linsly School in Wheeling from 1972-79.
Besides Prosser and La Salle assistant Mihalich, some alumni and boosters wanted to bring in Pat Dennis.
A former Loyola assistant, Dennis last week had his contract with The Citadel extended through 1996-97.