Basketball Archives Article
Loyola National Champs
Let's start with a question. What is the only team from a New Orleans college that has ever won a national championship? According to the Loyola Maroon, it's the 1945 Loyola men's basketball squad which captured the National Association of Intercol­legiate Basketball (NAIB) championship.

The team was coached by Jack Orsley, who also fielded some very good Wolfpack baseball contingents.

Some highlights of the regular season:

Victories over Central Normal (Danesville IN), Phillips (Enid OK), and Illinois Southern put the Crescent City upstarts in the championship game against the much taller Pepperdine team.

Hillary Chollet, Loyola Leroy Chollet at Canisius
The following year, Loyola reached the semifinals of the NAIB tournament but lost to Illinois Southern 53-37. Amid rumors that he was of mixed race, Chol­let transferred to Canisius College, another Jesuit college, in 1946 and, taking advantage of post-war eligibility rules, played there through 1949. Then he played for the Syracuse Nationals in the NBA for two years. He is a member of the Halls of Fame of both Loyola and Canisius. He died in Ohio in 1998. Orsley and Hultberg join him individually in the Loyola Hall as does the 1945 team as a group.

The AIB changed its name to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 1952 when it ex­tended its sponsorship to other sports besides basket­ball. The organization is proud that it opened its com­petition to black student-athletes in 1948 and accept­ed black schools as members in 1953. After switching to the NCAA in the 1950s, Loyola is back in the NAIA today.