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Legendary Loyola basketball player Lacy dies at 87

Posted on 16 February 2014 by WNST Staff

Jim Lacy, First Player In NCAA Men’s Basketball History To Score 2,000+, Passes Away

BALTIMORE – Jim Lacy ’49, the first player in NCAA history to score more than 2,000 points in a career, passed away Saturday at the age of 87.

Lacy, who graduated from Loyola College (now Loyola University Maryland) in 1949 and played basketball for the Greyhounds from 1943-44 and 1946-49 He finished his career as the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer at the time with 2,199 points, a mark that stands today as the school record in points.

His seasons at Loyola still stand as the most successful four-year stretch in program history. Lacy’s teams, directed by Head Coach Emil “Lefty” Reitz, won 68.3 percent of its games, going 84-39.

“Jim Lacy was a dominant figure on the basketball court at Loyola, but he was an even more beloved person for his gentle and caring demeanor,” said Jim Paquette, Loyola’s Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics. “He was called ‘Gentleman Jim’, and we are forever grateful that he is a part of Loyola history.

“Please join with Loyola, our men’s basketball program and all Greyhounds as we extend our sympathy to Jim’s family.”

A 6-foot-2 guard, Lacy was the State of Maryland’s leading scorer as a freshman in 1943-44, but his Loyola career was put on hold to serve in the United States Navy during World War II.

He returned to the Greyhounds and led the NCAA in scoring in 1946-47, with 20.8 points per game. He was then second in the NCAA in scoring as a junior in 1947-48, averaging 17.5.

Lacy, who also played tennis for the Greyhounds, was a member of the inaugural class of the Loyola Athletics Hall of Fame in 1978, and his jersey is amongst those hanging from the Reitz Arena rafters.

He was a four-time All-Mason-Dixon Conference honoree, leading Loyola to three Mason-Dixon titles from 1947-49. Lacy led Loyola to its first NAIA Tournament victory in 1949, as well, and he helped the Greyhounds to three victories in that year’s National Catholic Intercollegiate Tournament in Denver.

“We were saddened to learn of the passing of a legend of Loyola basketball,” Greyhounds Head Coach G.G. Smith said. “While we never had the chance to see him play, the stories of his incredible skill are tremendous. More than that, however, he has been an example for all for the grace with which he carried himself on and off the court. He will forever be a model for all Greyhounds.”

Following his graduation, the Washington Capitals of the Basketball Association of American and the Syracuse Nationals of the National Basketball Association drafted Lacy. He chose, however, to enter the private sector and worked in the insurance industry before serving as the Baltimore City Fire Commissioner.

Lacy was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy and daughter, Joan. He is survived by his sons Jimmy and Bob and daughters Mary Daily and Loretta. A funeral mass will be held at St. Ignatius Church (740 N. Calvert Street; Baltimore, 21202) on Wednesday, February 19, at 10 a.m.

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