Loyola's Owens hangs in as coaches come and go


He's been through four coaches in four collegiate seasons. He's been both a starter and a player biding his time on the bench.

Patience has been just as important to Loyola guard Teron Owens as a reliable jump shot and a good pair of sneakers.

Owens, the Greyhounds' lone senior, made only nine starts in his first two seasons at Loyola, then doubled that amount as a junior. With the arrival of Virginia transfer Mike Powell, who became eligible this season, he was a reserve again in the first seven games this season, until sophomore point guard John McDonald left school.

Powell moved from shooting guard to the point, and the next 17 games began with Owens on the court, not a folding chair.

Not that he was consumed with starting -- just contributing.

"What was important to me was being in games," said Owens, who is Catonsville High's third all-time leading scorer. "I just wanted to play and to help out. Even if I was a sixth man, as long as I contributed, that was fine."

Owens was recruited by Tom Schneider, who left midway through the guard's first season. Athletic director Joe Boylan finished the season, then gave way to Skip Prosser, who departed for Xavier after Owens' sophomore season. Former Virginia assistant Brian Ellerbe arrived last season, and Owens' average minutes rose from 10.5 a game as a sophomore to almost 23.

His scoring average also climbed, from 2.8 to 7.2. And he was third on the team at 10.1 going into Saturday's game at Iona. He also ranked second in assists (2.3) and third in steals (1.3). Saturday marked his fourth straight game scoring in double figures.

Playing for so many different coaches has been difficult, "but in life you always have changes and you get over it," said Owens, who has been a part of both the worst season in Loyola history, 2-25 in 1992-93, and its first berth in the NCAA tournament the next season.

"With Skip, I was a little immature. I didn't allow Skip to teach me. But I'm allowing what Brian says to get through."

And Owens, in turn, is coming through for the Greyhounds. One of the least surprising bits of news this winter was Goucher junior Mike Raley (Loyola) being chosen the Capital Athletic Conference's Swimmer of the Year.

How could he lose, considering he hasn't this season?

Raley ran his individual event record to 29-0 at the CAC championships, making the NCAA qualifying cuts and setting league records in the 100 breaststroke (57.32 seconds), 200 breaststroke (2:07.52) and 200 individual medley (1:55.25). He also was a member of four school record-breaking relay teams at the meet, in the 200, 400 and 800 freestyles and the 200 medley.

And he set three other school records this season, in the 50 freestyle (21.98), 500 freestyle (4:55.99) and 200 backstroke (2:01.25).

Raley swam two seasons at Arizona State before transferring to Essex Community College, then to Goucher. He's a diabetic, and said his body couldn't withstand "the demands of a Division I school." He hadn't been in a pool for almost two years before competing at Goucher, deciding instead to "get my health back.

"To have almost two years off and come back with some of my best times, I'm flattered, dumbfounded," he said.

Cole, Loyola outstanding

The Loyola women's swimming and diving team won its fourth consecutive MAAC championship, with junior Amy Cole named the conference's Most Outstanding Female Swimmer for the third straight year.

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