Supporting the Ramblers on the basketball court
As a senior at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, New Jersey, Bill Moran (BS ’67) enjoyed following college and professional basketball. In 1962, he decided to attend a men’s college basketball game at Madison Square Garden where the finals of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) were being held.
One of the teams on the court was the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers. Moran was impressed by the Ramblers, and based on that game alone, he decided he wanted to go to Loyola.
“He had never been to Chicago,” says his wife, Martha, “but he applied to Loyola and flew out to Chicago for the first time to attend school here.”
In the spring of his freshman year, the Ramblers won the national championship after beating Cincinnati. And for Moran, a lifelong affinity for the men’s basketball team was born.
During his college years, he rarely missed a game and continued the practice after graduation. He followed the careers of the players both on and off the court, and for 45 years there was no more loyal or devoted fan of the Ramblers.
“I met Bill in 1972 and started going to the games with him,” says Martha. “We have two adult daughters that we dragged to many games in many gyms, starting from the time they were infants. We followed the team from the west coast to the east coast and all over the Midwest.”
And when Moran came to a position when he could start making donations, he donated regularly to the team and continued to support them financially and on the court until he passed away in January 2012, a tradition Martha continues to this day.
“For me, Bill was an older brother, a mentor, a great father and husband, and a great human being,” says Frank Biga (BA ’70, MA ‘74, MBA ’77), a close friend and Rambler supporter. “Bill was a champion of the less fortunate. He believed in the dignity of every person, and he did things behind the scenes to help others, no matter what their station in life.”
Before he passed away and despite illness, Moran traveled to a road game November 11, 2011, at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Though using a wheelchair by then, he also made it to the Dec. 7 game against DePaul in the newly renovated Gentile Center.
Since that time, in spring 2015, the Ramblers played in their first post-season tournament since 1985 and won the College Basketball Invitational.
“Bill would have been ecstatic to see the recent success of the team,” says Martha. “He lived and died by the team, and he never hesitated to share his opinions with the coaches. He was eager to see the players succeed not only on the court but more importantly in the classroom.”