By Keith Mills
For Joe Boylan, it was a wonderful walk down memory lane.
"It all started here," said Boylan, standing outside the Leadership Through Athletics Center on Hammonds Ferry Rd. in Lansdowne.
Actually, it started at nearby Lansdowne High School, about a mile from the LTA Center in southwest Baltimore County.
"1963, Lansdowne High School," said Boylan. "I taught history and coached the basketball team, and it was one of the great experiences of my life."
Boylan has served as athletic director at Loyola University Maryland since 1991 and recently announced he will retire in July 2010. He'll continue to serve the University as athletic director emeritus.
Boylan returned to the Lansdowne area recently for the fifth annual LTA High School/Youth Coaching Clinic put on by Tom, Mike and Pat Grace and the staff at LTA.
Jimmy Patsos, Loyola's men's basketball coach, and Billy Lange of the U.S. Naval Academy were the featured speakers, and Boylan did not want to miss a chance to return to the neighborhood where he began his teaching career.
"Not much has changed around here," said Boylan. "This place holds a special place in my heart. The parents were demanding of their kids. They were hardworking, blue-collar people who I think represented the best of Baltimore in a lot of ways."
Boylan graduated from Milford Mill High in 1956. His father, Joe Sr., taught science at Franklin High School for 40 years. Joe Jr. attended Lafayette University while his younger brother Charles attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C., which would eventually play a major role in young Boylan's career path and his route to Loyola.
"I got drafted and spent two years in the service in Georgia," Boylan said. "When I got out it looked like I was going to go to Woodlawn High and help open that school. Instead, my old typing teacher was just named the principal at Lansdowne and he asked me to come teach for him. So I did. I taught history and coached basketball."
Boylan coached from 1963-70, coaching, among others, Marty Hanley, John Gregory and Burt Pinheiro, who graduated from Lansdowne in 1967 and went on to play at Towson State University.
"When I got the job at Loyola, the guys on my Lansdowne teams in the mid-'60s would all come out once a year and we'd play golf together," said Boylan. "We do it now every year. Marty Hanley worked for the state police for a long time. He's retired now and John Gregory eventually flew helicopters in Vietnam. And Burt played at Towson."
While Joe Boylan was teaching and coaching at Lansdowne, his brother Charles was playing basketball at Catholic. On Jan. 7, 1965, Charles Boylan set the school's all-time single game scoring record when he pumped in 60 points against Washington College. The record still stands and Charles is now in the Catholic University Hall of Fame.
Boylan's coach at Catholic was Tom Young, who would eventually lead Rutgers to an undefeated season and a berth in the 1976 Final Four. In 1967, Frank Fellows replaced Bud Millikan as coach at Maryland, naming Young and Tom Davis as his assistants. The point guard for Maryland then was Gary Williams, who would forge a great relationship with Boylan, which eventually led to Patsos getting the job at Loyola.
"It's funny how things work out," said Boylan. "Charles plays for Tom Young. I met Gary through Tom. Tom and I eventually spend 18 years together at American and Rutgers, and Gary and I are still great friends. It's crazy."
In 1969 Young was named coach at American University. One year later he named Joe Boylan the coach of his freshman team.
"My best player was Kermit Washington," said Boylan. "How lucky was I?"
Young spent five years at American, giving way to future Washington Wizards coach Jim Lynam and eventually to Williams, who coached the Eagles from 1978-82, winning two East Coast Conference championships and finishing with a 45-15 record in his final two years.
In 1982 Williams was named coach at Boston College, where he replaced one of his mentors, Davis. In 1971, Davis left Maryland and took the job at Lafayette, Boylan's alma mater. One year later, Williams was named his assistant coach.
Meanwhile, Young and Boylan moved on to Rutgers, where they stayed together for 17 years. Young eventually moved on to Old Dominion and Boylan to Loyola, where he was named the school's athletic director in 1991. Five years ago, when Boylan was looking for a coach to replace Scott Hicks, he sought out his old friend Williams, who suggested he hire Patsos, an assistant coach at Maryland for 13 years.
Despite all that history, it was Boylan's days at Lansdowne 40 years ago that had him smiling earlier this month as he stood outside the LTA center.
"It was just a great place to work," said Boylan. "We were all young and the teachers were all into it. The students were terrific. We were like a family. We made a lot of mistakes, but hopefully we influenced a lot of young people along the way. I know one thing, we had a heck of a good time."
Issue 142: October 2009