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Former basketball star Jim Lacy dies at 87

This weekend Loyola said goodbye to a basketball legend. Jim Lacy, class of ’49, the first player in NCAA history to surpass 2,000 career points, passed away Saturday at the age of 87. 68989852(1)
In his four years as a Greyhound, Lacy notched 2,199 points, a figure that still stands as the school record. Even more notably, he accomplished the feat decades before the introduction of the bonus foul rule and three-point shots. He also holds the Loyola record for career field goals with 796.
“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 current Loyola Vice President and Director of Athletics Jim Paquette. “He was called ‘Gentleman Jim’ and we are forever grateful that he is a part of our Loyola history.”
In his freshman year, from 1943-44, Lacy was the leading scorer for the entire state of Maryland, tallying 413 points, before pausing his basketball career to serve in the United States Navy during World War II.
When he returned to the Greyhounds, he continued to lead Loyola to its most successful stretch in school history, scoring 676 points and leading the NCAA with an average of 20.8 points per game in his return in the 1946-47 season. In Lacy’s four years, Head Coach Emil “Lefty” Reitz posted a win percentage of 68.3, going 84-39. Lacy himself played in 122 games at Loyola, recording an overall average of 17.8 points per game.
Lacy helped lift the Hounds to three Mason Dixon conference titles from 1947-49, and in his last season in 1949, Loyola earned its first NAIA Tournament victory and three wins in the National Catholic Intercollegiate Tournament.
It was in that tournament that Lacy set his point record, scoring his 2,199th from the free throw line to lift the Greyhounds to give Loyola a 71-70 win over St. Benedict’s of Atchison, Kan.
Lacy is also credited with “one of the greatest moments in Loyola basketball history” when he led the Hounds to a nail-biting 54-53 victory over then no. 1 Seton Hall on Feb. 3, 1947, notching 20 points in the contest. He posted only four points in the first half, but stunned the crowd in the second, putting up 16 straight points.
In addition to dominating on the basketball court, Lacy was also a force to be reckoned with on the tennis court for Loyola, going 21-1 in his senior tennis campaign.
After his graduation in 1949, Lacy was drafted by the Washington Capitals of the Basketball Association of America and the Syracuse Nationals of the National Basketball Association, the only Loyola player to ever be drafted for a professional basketball league. However, he decided instead to work in the insurance industry and later became the Baltimore City Fire Commissioner.
Lacy was inducted into the Loyola Athletics Hall of Fame in its inaugural year in 1978 and his legacy is marked by the jersey bearing his name in the rafters of Reitz Arena.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of a Loyola basketball legend,” current men’s basketball 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.”
The funeral mass for Lacy will be held at St. Ignatius Church (740 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, 21202) on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 10 a.m.

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Former basketball star Jim Lacy dies at 87