Bill Sento, Loyola Maryland’s all-time winningest men’s soccer coach, died Monday at age 80, the school announced Wednesday.
Sento led the Greyhounds for 20 years and was inducted to the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014. He compiled a 255-112-40 record from 1980 to 1999 after taking over for another Hall of Fame coach, James Bullington.
Sento came to Loyola Maryland in December 1979 after putting together an 82-8 record as coach at Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County, where he helped the Raiders win three state titles.
Seven years after Loyola jumped to the NCAA Division I level in 1979, Sento had the Greyhounds playing in the quarterfinals of the 1986 NCAA College Cup. He coached Loyola to five titles in the ECAC-Metro Conference — the precursor to the Northeast Conference — and won the ECAC South Atlantic crown in 1981. After Loyola joined the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Greyhounds won eight straight league titles from 1989 to 1996.
“Coach Sento took this program to levels it had never been to before at the Division I level, and in the process, he changed so many people’s lives in both soccer and the real world,” said current Loyola men’s soccer coach Steve Nichols, a 1992 graduate who played for Sento from 1989 to 1991. "As tough as he was, he had an incredible heart and cared deeply for you on and off the field.
“One of the main reasons I came back here to Loyola was because of him. I wanted to fulfill what he had started. When I wake up, I look at myself in the mirror, and what motivates me to do my job is to get the program back to where he had it at No. 1 in the nation and in the final eight. The way I act today is a reflection of him; as a program, we stand for what Bill Sento stood for, and that is who we are today.”
Loyola’s 1993 team reached the NCAA College Cup, and Sento guided the Greyhounds to three straight NCAA tournament play-in games from 1994 to 1996. He was a two-time ECAC-Metro Coach of the Year before winning the honor four times in the MAAC.
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Sento starred at Donora High School, where he played football, basketball and baseball. He went on to play college football at San Diego State for two years before returning to his home state to play at California (Pa.).