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Patsos‘ close friend Mike Lonergan readily admits Patsos was usually “the life of the party” in his bartending days. But Longergan, now George Washington’s coach, saw his former Catholic University teammate’s success through a different prism.

Lonergan visited Patsos‘ hometown of Boston during summer breaks while both were in college. Patsos‘ father owned real estate, and Patsos would make extra money driving around to the homes of renters who would leave town for a few months and make sure their homes were vacuumed and their windows were clean.

It was crafty, because it put money in Patsos‘ pocket. But it also was a glimpse of the industriousness Patsos eventually required to rise in coaching.

“He’s one of the few people everyone likes in coaching,” Lonergan said. “That’s really hard, especially when you start winning games.”

And win he has after fostering Loyola’s program from the laughable condition he inherited. He finally evened his career record for the first time since he was 0-0, collecting his 122nd career victory in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference final last week.

He did it in his inimitable style, with a maniacal sideline presence during the game and a wide-ranging news conference afterward that illustrated his zest for, well, everything.

“I don’t think that will ever change,” said Dan Ficke, who played at Loyola between 2005 and 2009 and is the assistant coordinator of basketball operations at Wake Forest. “That’s just who Jimmy is. He’s going a mile a minute. His life is just passionate energy. That’s why I loved playing for him. It’s something to be really proud of.

Selling Loyola, selling himself

Reitz Arena, the 2,100-seat gym nestled inside Loyola’s student center, looks different from a decade ago.

The lighting is vastly improved. There are green chairback seats. The team running the floor is covered entirely in the apparel of one company as opposed to piecemeal deals.

Patsos and the Greyhounds earned it all, the coach’s dreams big even in the week after he took over a program at rock-bottom.

“He says, ‘We need to do courtside seats,’ ” Boylan said. “I’m thinking, ‘We won one game and we’re going to do courtside seats?’ And we sold them all.”

He also sold himself to Baltimore. Loyola was long an afterthought in a town usually splintered between college basketball options, and making the private school more accessible was crucial to the Greyhounds’ growth.

Starting point guard R.J. Williams is a Baltimore product. So is Dylon Cormier, Loyola’s leading scorer. Jordan Latham, a crucial frontcourt reserve, grew up in Baltimore and transferred from Xavier.

“Guys now don’t just drive past Cold Spring [Lane] and think ‘Oh, this is the big school that plays hockey, lacrosse and women’s soccer,’ ” said Elliott, a Baltimore native. “We want to come hoop here. We want to come play here now. It’s close to home, and he’s done a great job in that with some of the recruits.”

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