He wants to change, said Jimmy Patsos, the hot-tempered men's basketball coach at Loyola College. There's a peace sign on the silver wrist bracelet that he has worn since June, and a muzzle on his mouth.
"I'm trying hard to grow," said Patsos, the Greyhounds' fifth-year coach known for his fiery antics. "I haven't cursed an official this year. St. Augustine said, 'Patience is wisdom.' Want me to recite the Serenity Prayer? I say it every day."
How goes the makeover? Perhaps Patsos still has some work to do.
Early in Loyola's 82-72 loss to Cornell in the National Invitation Tournament Season Tip-Off on Tuesday in Boston, Patsos was slapped with a technical foul, his second of the season. Instead of fuming, however, Patsos spent much of the rest of the game sitting toward the end of the bench with the reserves while his assistants ran the show.
"I was trying to turn the other cheek," said Patsos, 42. "In the past, I've been too aggressive. I'm trying to find the middle ground and to be a better person."
The game was six minutes old when the Loyola coach beckoned one of the officials, John Gaffney, to ask that his team "get a fair shake."
But Patsos didn't stop there.
"I told [Gaffney], 'I see that you and the Cornell coach are both from Philadelphia,' " Patsos said.
The technical foul came seconds later, prompting the coach to sit with the scrubs and "out of harm's way."
From then on, Patsos rose only to huddle with the team, except for a moment in the second half when Gaffney approached the Loyola bench and cautioned him again. At that point, Patsos threw up his hands, turned and climbed into the stands to speak with Joe Boylan, Loyola's athletic director.
"I just told Jimmy to calm down," said Boylan, who seemed to take his coach's antics in stride. "He can get very energized."
Loyola (1-3) plays James Madison on Monday in the NIT event in Davidson, N.C.