Loyola’s new basketball coach Donald Reyes says he has big shoes to fill

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Donald Reyes is the new head coach of the reigning NAIA Men’s team Basketball National champions. With 15 years of NCAA Division 1 experience, Reyes said he’s ready to coach at Loyola.

“It’s amazing. I’m very grateful and very lucky to be able to be the first at home. It means a lot not only to me, but I think of a lot of promising coaches in the game,” said Reyes.

But reyes already made history. He is the first African-American head coach in the program’s history.

“It’s amazing to see more people like me and to have these opportunities,” he said.

Last season the bar was high for the team. As the new season approaches, reyes said becoming national champions again is the main objective.

“We want to be better every day. Be better every day, obviously win the SSAC conference in the first year. Give us a chance in the tournament to get into the 64 field and have fun from there,” Reyes said. “Again, a whole new band, 10 new guys, 10 old guys just trying to get them to mix and understand that we’re built for the long haul. We’re not looking for instant gratification, we have to get through the ups and downs of the season. We buy day by day,” he said.

He said he saw the game differently than others. He said he doesn’t see himself as a coach, but more of a leader, helping the men’s team learn life lessons while dominating the pitch.

“I always dreamed of being at a university at the head of the program, doing things the way I wanted them done when I was playing,” he said.

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