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5 things you didn’t know about Sister Jean, Loyola’s No. 1 fan

Sister Jean, a longtime Loyola Ramblers supporter, watches the Ramblers take on the Miami Hurricanes in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at American Airlines Center on March 15, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. | Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt is the Loyola men’s basketball team’s No. 1 fan. She claims she has been ever since the team won its first and only national championship in 1963.

Sister Jean has been captivating the hearts of Loyola students for more than half a century, but her campuswide stardom has grown on a national scale in part to the Ramblers’ historic NCAA Tournament run.

Here are five things you may not know about Loyola’s men’s basketball chaplain, Sister Jean:

1. She has more swagger than you

Before Sister Jean rolled around campus in a wheelchair after suffering a hip injury, she was constantly seen strutting through Gentile Arena with her own custom Nikes. “Sister and “Jean” were stitched on the back of her maroon and gold shoes. She also wears her maroon and gold striped scarf to almost every game.

Sister Jean also has her own bobblehead. How many 98-year-old nuns do you know that have that much swagger?

2. Her scouting reports are spot on

When coach Porter Moser was hired in 2011, Sister Jean left scouting reports of all the players on his desk. It was something he had to get used to.

Standing at just under 5 feet tall, the nun is dwarfed by most of the basketball players, but everyone listens attentively to her in-depth scouting reports of Loyola’s opponents.

Sister Jean might be the team’s No. 1 fan, but that doesn’t stop her from being critical of the players. After games, she evaluates Loyola’s performance and sends feedback to the players and coaches regarding what they did well and where they need to improve.

Sister Jean follows up with the players after each game by sending them individual emails about what they did well and what they need to work on.

3. She prays before every game asking for a win

Sister Jean also has emphasized the three key Ws: worship, work and win. Her motto is now painted on a wall in Norville Center for Intercollegiate Athletics’ weight room to serve as a constant reminder for all of Loyola’s student-athletes.

Before every home game, Sister Jean joins the Ramblers in a huddle before she leads the arena in prayer.

“Good and gracious God” is how she starts every prayer. She usually asks God to watch over players and to make sure the referees are fair with their officiating. You can also count on her ending every prayer with a resolute “Go Ramblers.”

4. Her and Frank Sinatra go way back (kind of)

One of Sister Jean’s favorite musicians is jazz singer Frank Sinatra and her favorite song is “My Way,” according to the Loyola Phoenix. Coincidentally enough, she actually taught eighth grade at the school where Sinatra sent his children.

Sister Jean told the student paper that she remembers seeing Sinatra occasionally pick up his kids from school.

Sister Jean got her start in basketball at that elementary school. When she first started there in the 1950s, the school didn’t have organized sports for students to participate in. Sister Jean took the initiative to establish an athletic program and actually became the girl’s basketball coach.

5. She’s forever enshrined in Loyola’s Hall of Fame

Sister Jean stands amongst some of Loyola’s most revered athletes.

Sister Jean smiles with her plaque after being inducted into Loyola’s Hall of Fame. | Madeline Kenney

Loyola inducted Sister Jean into the athletic department’s Hall of Fame last year. She was the lone member of the 2017 Hall of Fame class and became the 173rd member of Loyola’s Hall of Fame list, which dates back to 1914 when former men’s basketball player Robert Schumann was inducted.

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