HOPKINSSPORTS.COM Head Coach Josh Loeffler
The Hopkins men’s basketball team has had five consecutive victories to start off the 2017-2018 season. The highlights include a first-place finish in the Rhodes Tip-Off Tournament and a 72-46 win against the McDaniel College Green Terror in the Blue Jays’ Centennial Conference opener.
Over Thanksgiving break, the Jays had numerous standout moments. In the Rhodes Tip-Off Tournament championship game, senior forward Kyle Doran scored a career-high 24 points. He was 7-for-9 in the field and 7-for-8 on the line. In addition, Doran grabbed five crucial rebounds in the span of just 23 minutes.
In the highest-scoring game in program history, with a score of 118-104, all five starters including Doran came out of the championship victory against host Rhodes College scoring double figures.
In the Centennial Conference opener, junior guard Michael Gardner tallied a game-high 16 points for Hopkins. He went 6-for-11 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line. Along with his impressive scoring, Gardner had five rebounds in 16 minutes.
The Jays are now 5-0, which marks the first time the Jays have opened their first five games with an undefeated record since the 2006-2007 season. Although many players have had noteworthy performances, the foundation of the team’s success is rooted in the efforts of first-year Head Coach Josh Loeffler, who is now the first head coach in program history to win his first five games.
On May 5, 2017, Loeffler was named the head men’s basketball coach, succeeding Bill Nelson, who coached the Blue Jays for 31 years. Loeffler graduated from Swarthmore College in 2003 and has been continuously building his coaching career since.
He began coaching at Hamilton College immediately after his college graduation. From there, he became a graduate assistant at St. Lawrence University.
After his impressive recruiting efforts at St. Lawrence, Loeffler joined the Williams College coaching staff, where he helped the team to a runner-up finish in the NCAA Championship.
Loeffler began his head coaching career at the Stevens Institute of Technology, where he guided the Stevens Ducks to a NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches and D3hoops.com Atlantic Coach of the Year.
Loeffler stepped up to Division-I positions after his time at Stevens and became the director of basketball operation for Rutgers University for one year and an assistant coach for Lafayette College for four years.
However, Loeffler found comfort in Baltimore, as he spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds. During his time at Loyola Maryland, Loeffler recruited Andre Walker, who is the first player in program history to receive a First-Team All-Patriot League honor.
Loeffler spoke with The News-Letter about the team’s recent success and how he will use his previous coaching experiences to build up the Hopkins program.
The News-Letter: Congratulations on the team’s recent results. How do you plan to help the team overcome complacency and the pressures of having a winning record?
Josh Loeffler: We focus on getting better every day and having the best day each day that we can have. Hopefully, that keeps us in the moment and looking at what we have to accomplish now as opposed to what our record is or where we stack up against other teams.
N-L: What changes have you implemented in the program? How have these changes directly influenced the team’s play?
JL: We play a different style offensively, and I think we have run a little more than Hopkins has in the past. I would love to see this continue, as I think it’s an exciting style and can be good for us.
N-L: What is your coaching philosophy?
JL: Coaching philosophy... Oh, that’s a good one. Tough question. Try not to screw it up by over coaching, I guess.
N-L: How do you plan to grow as a coach throughout the season?
JL: I think I am done growing. I have been the same height since I was 14. But if I can get a few more inches, I may be able to intimidate some opposing coaching staffs. As of now, I don’t think I strike much fear in our opponents.
N-L: Lastly, why Hopkins?
JL: Hopkins is an unreal place. I have always thought that this is an institution where I could coach student-athletes who excel in the classroom and on the court, have the resources to compete at the highest level of Division-III and do it in a great city that I love. I am very happy to say that what I thought would be the case with the Hopkins job has proven true. I love it here.