Loras College sports greats return to campus

Loras College has alumni all over the country who are making it big and making it easier for Duhawks to have connections wherever they go. Within the past month, Loras College has had the privilege of welcoming some of these alumni back on campus including sports broadcaster Greg Gumbel and most recently  Curley “Boo” Johnson for the Sports Management Third Annual Senior Speaker.

Curley “Boo” Johnson played basketball at Loras. He graduated in 1987 and went on to continue his basketball career as a Harlem Globetrotter. Johnson is well known for his dribbling abilities around the world. In order to stay in the league toward the end of his career with the Globetrotters, he pulled a maneuver that he thought they would catch.

“Around 2005, we had to fill out these (annual) sheets where I had to put down my birth year. Instead of putting down that I was born in 1965, for about three years I kept my age at 39 years old. They never really caught on to it.”

Gumbel and Johnson both have had a different way of getting to where they are now. After his high school career, Johnson decided to go to a junior college to better his skills so he could be recruited by a college. At the time, Loras College was part of the NAIA and was able to offer him an athletic scholarship. From there he got a tryout with the Globetrotters and had an 18 year career with them. On the other hand, after his college baseball career and majoring in English, Gumbel went on to sell hospital supplies. His break came when his brother called him about an audition in Chicago for a sports announcer. The rest is history and they have both come to be experts in what they do.

Both Gumbel and Johnson kept on discussing how young graduates need to keep following their dreams and sticking it out through the trials and tribulations.

“The advice I would always give is to persevere, no matter what the pursuit,” Gumbel said. “In the case of the sports industry, it’s hard to find a business more booming — on television, on radio, in stadiums and arenas, in schools, professional sports, intercollegiate sports, amateur sports.  There are more opportunities now than ever before, and that’s more than enough reason to persevere.”

Johnson talked with the Sports Management seniors at Champs before talking to the campus on Sunday afternoon and he kept telling students of the opportunities they have with going to Loras College. Gumbel and Johnson both talked about how they see other Duhawks all over the country while at airports. Being a Duhawk and showing it proudly can have provide students with the opportunity of meeting some great alumni out in the world.

Greg Gumbel and Curley “Boo” Johnson have made their stamp in this life and continue to do so and they will go down in history as some of the greats at their craft.

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