Coach Pat Coyle, who guided the Loyola College women's basketball team to two NCAA tournament appearances in seven seasons, announced her resignation yesterday after taking an assistant's position with the WNBA's New York Liberty.
Coyle's departure comes five games into the season, as the 4-1 Greyhounds prepare to leave on a trip to Chicago for games against Loyola (Ill.) on Saturday and Illinois-Chicago on Monday. She will help in player evaluation for Liberty coach Richie Adubato, who was hired Dec. 9.
"I don't think you get opportunities like this every day or every month," said Coyle, who was 100-77 at Loyola. "I think when you get an opportunity like this, you seize it."
Coyle, 38, will be replaced as coach by Cindy Anderson, who has been an assistant and an associate head coach during the past four years at Loyola. Anderson, 29, will become the seventh-youngest coach in Division I.
For Anderson, a St. Joseph's product and cousin of former St. Joseph's men's coach John Griffin, her promotion is only the last step in what she called a natural progression of duties. She came to Loyola in 1995 after working for two years with her college coach, Jim Foster, at Vanderbilt.
Recently at Loyola, she has taken an increased role, becoming more involved in practice plans and promotional factors, including an appearance at the Baltimore Beltway luncheon in late October as the team's representative.
"She's instilled a lot of confidence in me," Anderson said of Coyle. "I'm as ready as I'll ever be to be a head coach."
Coyle got the WNBA job Tuesday morning, gave the news to athletic director Joe Boylan and then to Anderson. Coyle told the team of her departure following that afternoon's practice, the information sparking mixed feelings as the team prepares for play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference beginning next month.
"There's a mixture of sadness that she's leaving, but change is inevitable and a lot of times, it's how you deal with it that shapes you," said Loyola guard and co-captain Corey Hewitt. "If there's any resentment, it's selfish resentment because we wanted her to be a part of a MAAC championship."
Coyle heightened the profile of the Loyola program during her tenure. She led a team that hadn't broken the 10-win threshold in nine years to two MAAC conference tournament titles and its only triumphs over former women's power Maryland.
Her success bred interest from other schools, including an offer to become the coach at Purdue. Boylan said that he and Coyle had discussed the possibility of her leaving for other jobs as long ago as last summer and that he was happy for her to get the opportunity.
"When you love someone, you want what's best for them, and Loyola loves Patty Coyle," Boylan said. "It's a happy-sad day, but mostly happy."
In leaving, Coyle moves to the same organization as her sister, Maureen, who is public relations director for the Liberty. More importantly for her, Coyle said she was excited about the chance to work with Adubato, former coach of the Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic in the NBA.
"It's an unbelievable opportunity to work in a first-class operation, and with a coach who has 40 years of experience," Coyle said.
The seven-year record of Pat Coyle, who resigned as Loyola College women's basketball coach yesterday:
Yrs .. .. .. W-L .. .. .. .. Finish
'92-93 ... 14-15 .. .. . ... MAAC final
'93-94 ... 18-11 .. .. .. .. NCAA tourn.-x
'94-95 .... 20-9 .. .. .. .. NCAA tourn.-x
'95-96 ... 15-13 .. .. .. .. MAAC 3rd place
'96-97 .... 9-19 .. .. .. .. MAAC 5th place
'97-98 .. . 20-9 .. .. .. .. MAAC final
'98-99 .. .. 4-1 .. .. .. .. Resigns Dec. 16
Tot. .. . 100-77
x-- MAAC champion
Pub Date: 12/17/98