Sister Jean is Embracing Her Role as the Face of Loyola-Chicago, NCAA Tournament

SAN ANTONIO — A grin crept across Mark Fratto’s face as he lowered it toward the microphone Friday morning. 

“Sister Jean,” the former St. John’s sports information director and current boxing ring announcer said, “is iiiiiinnn the building.”

Moments later, a crew of Alamodome workers looked like the Army Corps of Engineers as they took less than a minute to assemble a wheelchair ramp leading to the dais. And then, amid a cacophony of firing flash bulbs and video camera operators fighting one another for position, the biggest celebrity of the NCAA tournament rolled in.

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the past two weeks, you know Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt. She’s the 98-year-old nun who serves as the chaplain for Loyola-Chicago’s basketball team and sends each player a personalized scouting report before each game. She’s also a former college administrator who helped shepherd Mundelein College through the tumultuous early 1970s. In an oral history she gave in 1998 about her years at Mundelein that now resides in the Women and Leadership Archives at Loyola-Chicago, she said her mother always said it was “better to wear out than rust out.”

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