The Loyola Chicago Ramblers are back in the NCAA Tournament. The team had an unlikely Cinderella run to the Final Four during the 2018 March Madness Tournament. It was their first Final Four appearance since 1963 and the brave underdog captured the hearts of many upset fans during the tournament.
He also helped the Ramblers because they had one of the most popular figures in the tournament on their side. It was not a player. It was Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt.
Sister Jean is the chaplain for the Loyola Chicago basketball team. She has served in that role since 1994 and is loved by the players who have gone through the program. She is a huge basketball fan and possesses great knowledge about the sport.
Ahead of Loyola Chicago’s first game against Georgia Tech, here’s what you need to know about Sister Jean and what she’s been up to since Loyola’s last appearance at the tournament.
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How old is Sister Jean?
Sister Jean is 101 years. He was born in 1919 just a month before the World Series. That was the year the famous “Black Sox Scandal” occurred in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were kicked out of baseball after launching the competition.
In her youth, Sister Jean played on her high school girls basketball team and joined the convent of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Iowa. After her time there, Sister Jean became a teacher and has been teaching in Chicago since 1961. He taught at Mundelein College, which merged with Loyola in 1991.
Is Sister Jean in March Madness?
Sister Jean is in March Madness this year. But it took a bit of pressure to get there, as travel rules for teams are strict in 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some Loyola Chicago alumni stepped up and helped her get there.
“A student wrote to me and told me that her husband was willing to take me,” Sister Jean said in a Tuesday interview on Zoom, according to Henry Bushnell of Yahoo Sports. “Another person told me that he was going to sneak me out of the university, and another couple said that they would like to kidnap me and that Loyola would have to look for me.”
In the end, Loyola created a plan for Sister Jean to attend the tournament, and she will be accompanied by a nurse and security during her time at the event. She is looking forward to it and has already shown her knowledge of the sport in interviews.
Sister Jean is a huge basketball fan and knows the history of the game well, so it’s no wonder she tried to get Kentucky to miss the tournament this year. The Wildcats posted their worst winning percentage since the 1926-27 season, when their sister Jean was just seven years old.
“I filled in my parenthesis,” Sister Jean said, according to Bushnell. “I can change it before I go there. I don’t see Kentucky anywhere.”
Right now, Sister Jean has Gonzaga winning, but she has Loyola advancing to Sweet 16 and defeating No. 1 seed Illinois.
Sister Jean’s star at the 2018 NCAA Tournament
During the 2018 NCAA Tournament, Loyola Chicago was seeded No. 11 and was part of March Madness after winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. They were considered a solid pick in their first-round game against the Miami Hurricanes, and they posted a two-point victory.
It was then that Sister Jean rose to fame as a figure in the Loyola hit. It was clear that the players loved her, and once the story was told of a 98-year-old basketball-loving nun who was the team’s chaplain, good luck charm, and unofficial mascot for the Ramblers, her appeal broadened.
And Sister Jean’s popularity exploded as Loyola’s magical career continued.
After beating Miami, the Ramblers were able to turn their attention to No. 3 Tennessee. They beat the Volunteers by one point. Then, they advanced to face No. 7 Nevada. The Wolfpack and the Martin Twins also fell by just one point. That set up an unlikely showdown with the No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats to reach the Final Four. The Ramblers won.
Throughout the race, Sister Jean cheered the team on. After each contest, the players greeted her and she congratulated them on their efforts. Their bracket may have been broken, but she wanted them to keep doing it. And as the team progressed, Sister Jean was talking to reporters, doing interviews, and becoming an international celebrity for being a Loyola Chicago superfan.
After the Ramblers lost to Michigan in the Final Four, Sister Jean came back to life as usual at Loyola Chicago, serving as a mentor to the younger students on campus and continuing in her role as chaplain to the basketball team. During the COVID-19 pandemic, things have been a bit more difficult, but she still stays in touch with students through Zoom calls and meetings. And of course, he has been following his beloved Ramblers in their last tournament even though he has not been able to attend the games.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.