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Loyola creates academic scholarship to honor hall of fame coach

April 13, 2012

Former Wolfpack basketball and track coach James “Big Jim” McCafferty ’42 may have left Loyola University New Orleans in 1957, but his impact will be felt for years to come, especially by the university’s student athletes.

The creation of the Coach James “Big Jim” McCafferty Athletic Scholarship was two years in the making and targeted first generation student athletes, who are the first in their family to attend college.

Loyola raised $60,000 of the $100,000 designed to create the scholarship. The university has submitted an application to the Louisiana State Board of Regents to contribute the balance through a matching gifts program, specifically aimed at providing financial tuition assistance to first generation student athletes.

The Board of Regents’ extraordinary Endowed Scholarship program was established in 2007-2008 to broaden opportunities to increase college access and success for low-income first generation students, enhance institutional efforts to provide need-based aid to undergraduate students and to provide additional opportunities for benefactors to support Louisiana’s college and university students.

“Not everyone out there has a chance to go to college, especially one with such an outstanding academic reputation as Loyola’s,” said Dr. Mike Giorlando, Loyola’s director of athletics and wellness. “Getting a college education is a life-changing experience, especially to a family that has not had the opportunity to get one. For us to be a part of something like this is very rewarding.”

Part of the $60,000 raised by Loyola came in the form of a $12,600 matching grant from the Council of Independent Colleges and the Foundation for Independent Higher Education.

“In keeping with its commitment to the nation’s private colleges and to deserving students seeking a top quality higher education, we were very pleased to offer a challenge grant to the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities to support its broader scholarship fundraising initiative,” said Rich Ekman, president of CIC, a national higher education association. “We’re truly delighted with Loyola’s success in meeting our challenge grant and being a partner in making a real difference in the lives of students.”

The scholarship will award $5,000 per year to a member of either the basketball or cross-country/track teams. McCafferty coached Loyola in basketball for 15 years, taking the Wolfpack to the NCAA Tournament twice, while instituting the track and field program and winning the Gulf States Conference Championship in 1951 and 1952.

It is only the second academic scholarship designated for student athletes named after a former Loyola coach or player.

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