Chicago native compiled a 57-66 record in four seasons on the Ramblers' bench
Ramblers finish season with most wins since 1988-89 season
Loyola looking for first-ever NCAA berth
Ramblers to face winner of Green Bay, Detroit for title
Loyola looking for first-ever berth in championship game
Photos from Loyola @ Green Bay (March 17, 2013)
Photos from Loyola @ UIC
Photos from Loyola's women's basketball game at Northwestern
With four returning starters and an acclaimed recruiting class, head coach Eric Simpson looks to take Loyola up the Horizon League standings in his third year at the helm. Simpson and his staff have crafted a winning culture in Rogers Park and have built a roster capable of taking the program to new heights.
Led by high-scoring guard Monica Albano, the 2010-11 Ramblers were competitive right away in the Horizon League despite losing three major contributors from the previous season. Albano blossomed under Simpson's guidance, becoming just the fifth different Loyola player to score 500 points in a season, while fellow sophomore Abby Skube also made the jump, ranking second on the team in scoring with 11.9 points per game during Horizon League play.
Simpson and the Ramblers laid a solid foundation in his first season as head coach, guiding the team to a 15-15 record during the 2009-10 season, the program's best showing since the 2001-02 campaign, and the best season by a first-year coach at Loyola since Marty Hawkins led the Ramblers to a 19-4 mark during the 1979-80 season, Loyola's first recorded season of competition. In addition, Loyola's nine Horizon League wins were the program's most conference wins in a season since it posted a 12-2 mark in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference during the 1988-89 season. One of the keys was the team's ability to take care of its homecourt, as the Ramblers posted a 9-5 mark at the Gentile Center. Included in that mark was a stirring 65-63 win over No. 14 Green Bay in January, a win that also served as Loyola's first-ever victory over a nationally ranked opponent.
Maggie McCloskey left Rogers Park after that season ranked 11th on the NCAA all-time list for made three-pointers, capping her career by participating in the 22nd Annual State Farm College Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championships at the Final Four. Elyse VanBogaert became just the 10th player in Loyola history to record 1,000 career points and 500 rebounds while Keisha Collins finished in the school's all-time top ten in assists, free throws made and free throws attempted despite playing just three years at Loyola.
Prior to his appointment, Simpson spent two years as an assistant coach under Shannon Reidy, where he was primarily in charge of Loyola's backcourt. Under his mentoring, Collins was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team after the 2007-08 season and McCloskey set a NCAA Division I record by making at least one three-pointer in 69 straight games. He made the move to the women's staff after a one-year stint as the Coordinator of Basketball Operations for Loyola's men's basketball team, which helped him familiarize himself with Loyola and the Horizon League. He has 10 years of coaching at the high school level under his belt, serving as an assistant coach at Loyola Academy from 1994-96 before moving on to head sophomore and assistant varsity coach at his alma mater, Saint Ignatius, from 1999-2001. From there, Simpson took over as athletics director and head boys basketball coach at Marquette Catholic High School in Michigan City, Ind., performing those duties from 2001-05.
Simpson began his coaching career after wrapping up his four-year playing career at Northwestern. He graduated from the Evanston institution in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in history.