"Loyola coach Jim Bullington has assembled a well-balanced demolition crew that operates much like a brush fire -- snuff it out in one place and it flares up somewhere else to burn you." - John W. Stewart, Baltimore Sun, Nov. 13, 1976
Indeed, the 1976 Loyola men's soccer team had it all, including the ultimate prize at season's end, the NCAA Division II championship trophy. It was the school's first-ever NCAA title in any sport.
Loyola finished 21-1, losing only to Division I Philadelphia Textile. The Greyhounds scored 95 goals, an average of more than four per game, a school record unlikely ever to be approached, let alone broken. The team was undefeated in Mason-Dixon Conference play at 10-0. In the national coaches poll, which at the time also included Division I teams, Loyola ranked as high as No. 5 during the season.
"We just attacked and kept attacking," says Ian Reid, '78, one of four individuals from the 1976 team that are in the Loyola Athletics Hall of Fame. "We had a great goalkeeper (Loyola Athletics Hall of Famer John Houska, '79) and having him really freed us up to go forward."
After home victories over Randolph-Macon and Rollins in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament to win the South region, the Greyhounds had to travel about as far away from home as possible, Seattle, for the final two rounds. A win over Chico State set up the championship match against New Haven, and Loyola was dominant, outshooting the Chargers 32-10 on the way to a 2-0 victory. Reid, the tournament offensive MVP, scored a first-half goal, while Pete Notaro, the country's leading scorer, added insurance midway through the second half.
The Greyhounds' exciting offensive-oriented style brought large crowds to campus for games, many of whom had already been watching the players for years. Every Loyola player came from the Baltimore area, including nine players who attended Calvert Hall.
"It was sort of a golden era for soccer in Baltimore," Reid says. "The games against local teams like University of Baltimore and Towson were big deals. People lined up two deep behind ropes to watch our games."