Navy coach Richie Meade and Loyola coach Charley Toomey were having a run-of-the-mill conversation when the topic of early-season scheduling came up.
And suddenly, a jolt of common sense entered the discussion.
“I said ‘Let me ask you a question,’” Meade recalled. “‘How come you spend $20,000 to fly to Notre Dame and we spend $10,000 to take a bus out to Ohio State when we could go 45 minutes and play?’ He was like ‘That’s a good point. We should probably do that.’”
And just like that, another local rivalry was born – and an obvious one at that.
Navy and Ohio State played six times in the last seven years, a series stemming from Meade’s friendship with former Buckeyes coach Joe Breschi. But Breschi took over at North Carolina last year, and Meade re-evaluated the logic of the series.
“We wanted to get out in that area for recruiting, and it didn’t really affect the recruiting that much,” Meade said. “We got guys from Ohio, but it wasn’t because we played out there.”
Loyola, meanwhile, played Notre Dame in Atlanta this past season. With the Irish heading into the Big East, their schedule is undergoing major changes, so Loyola had an open spot as well.
The 2010 game will be played in Annapolis. Despite the proximity of the schools, it will be their first meeting since the 1993 NCAA tournament and the first regular-season matchup since 1943.
“We thought being so close, it made sense for us to play a Baltimore-area team besides Hopkins,” Meade said.
Nearly all of the rest of the schedule will remain the same, although there could be a minor nonconference tweak or two. But few teams will have a more appealing home schedule – Loyola, North Carolina, Bucknell, Georgetown and Hopkins – to go along with another date with Army at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.