A History of Loyola Boxing

Fri, 01/14/2011

There were two era’s of boxing for Loyola University New Orleans. Starting in 1938, Loyola sponsored an intercollegiate boxing team. However, the school had great success with individual fighters from 1930 to 1937. During this period, the school rarely competed as a team against other colleges. Most matches involved individual representing Loyola in local, state and national bouts.

The first boxing team for Loyola was stared by Coach Tad Gormley in 1930. In the inaugural season, the school had only one match. They fought to a 3-3 draw with Southwestern Louisiana Institute. Their top boxers that season were Clem Sehrt, Chester Schmittz and Dennis Flynn.

In 1931, Loyola participated in matches against local athletic clubs, which were very popular at that time. The top boxers for the Wolfpack were Roger Flynn, Eddie Flynn and Dennis Flynn. They were known as the “Fighting Flynn Brothers”.

Eddie Flynn, became Loyola’s first national champion, when he won the AAU National Championship.
Dennis Flynn won the National Intercollegiate middleweight title in 1932. Eddie Flynn, Schmittz and Jimmy Beeson entered and won SAAU championships in their weight classes.

Coach Gormley then entered the three in the National AAU Tournament. Eddie Flynn won the national championship. Schmittz and Beeson failed to place.

During the season, Eddie Flynn won several pre-Olympic bouts, then earned a spot on the USA Olympic boxing team. He also won the amateur welterweight world championship by virtue of his victory in the Los Angeles Olympics. He won his gold medal in the 147-pound class. During the Los Angeles Olympics, he defeated fighters from Argentina, South Africa, Great Britain and Germany.

From 1934 through 1937, Loyola Wolfpack boxing teams won four consecutive Southern AAU team championships.

In 1935, Chester Schmittz, Pete Guaruso and Elmer “Sonnyboy” Kelly, won SAAU titles. Giaruiso and Kelly competed in the National AAU Tournament.

The Wolfpack produced an outstanding team in 1936. The top fighters were Sewele Whitney, Elmer Kelly, Chester Schmittz, Pete Capriotti, Homer Davis and Bill Klause. The team won four local event. Schmitttz and Kelly won SAAU championships. Kelly was invited to the Olympic boxing trials but did not make the final squad.

Seven Loyola fighters fought in the 1937 Sugar Bowl Tournament as members of the New Orleans team that defeated a squad from St. Louis 5-3. Winning bouts in the event were Kay Occhipinti, Sewele Whitney, Ed Harvey and Homer Davis. Also, on the New Orleans team were Pete Capriotti Bill Klause and Al Maker.

During the 1937 season, the Wolfpack scheduled home and home matches against SLI. Loyola won the first match 61/2-11/2. SLI took the re-match 41/2-31/2.

In the second era of Loyola boxing, the Wolfpack competed in intercollegiate boxing, starting in 1938. They produced a 3-1-1 record. The defeated Louisiana Tech 8-0 and 5-3, beat Centenary 5-3 and tied SLI twice, 4-4 and 31/2-31/2.

During the same season, four Loyola boxers were members of the New Orleans Sugar Bowl team. Earning victories for the local team were Bill Klause and Sevele Whitney. Also on the squad were Ed Harvey and Kay Occhipinti.

In the 1938 SAAU event, Whitney won an individual championship. Harvey, Occhipinti and Paul McDonald lost in the tournament finals. Whitney, Harvey and McDonald reached the semi-finals of the National AAU Tournament.

Loyola competed as a team in the 1939 Sugar Bowl Boxing Classic and battled a tough Clemson team to a 4-4 draw. Earning wins for the Wolfpack were Sewele Whitney, Ed Harvey, Bill Klause and Paul McDonald.

Loyola posted a 1939 record of 3-3-1. After the draw with Clemson, they dropped a 41/2-31/2 bout SLI. Then came a 5-3 loss to Centenary by scoring a 41/2-31/2 victory. They closed their season with a 61/2-11/2 loss to nation power, Wisconsin.

Whitney won his first national intercollegiate title in 1939 by beating all opponents in the 120-pound class.

In 1940, Loyola posted a record of 2-3-1, under new coach Chet Schmittz. They dropped their opener to SLI, 6-2. Then the Wolfpack defeated Arkansas Tech 5-3. In their first ever meeting with LSU, they were defeated 51/2-21/2. A 61/2-11/2 loss to SLI came next, followed by a 4-4 draw with Louisiana Tech. They closed the season with a 5-3 victory over Louisiana Tech.

Top boxers during the 1940 season were Jack Flynn, who was outstanding, and sophomore featherweight Mike DiMaio, who was a consistent winner.

Sewele Whitney won the 127-pound championship at the National Intercollegiate Tournament in Sacramento, California. It was the second consecutive national championship for Whitney. While at Loyola he won 58 of 69 bouts.

The final season of Loyola boxing was 1941 and the team failed to win any of their three dual matches. SLI, now a national power, defeated the Wolfpack twice, 8-0 and 7-1. Arkansas Tech and Loyola fought to a 4-4 draw. Members of Loyola’s final boxing team were Mike DiMaio, Jack Flynn, Santo Cuchinotto, Gordon Cucullu, Ed Fallon, Dupont Laborde, Bob Hebert, Pascal Glaviano, Charles Maloney, Jules Lorio and Bill Thalken.

Written by Don Landry, Boxing Historian

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