Sister Jean steals the show in NCAA tournament

For nearly 25 years, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt has the chaplain for the Loyola-Chicago men's basketball team. She's also the Ramblers' biggest fan.

Posted: Mar 28, 2018 5:08 AM
Updated: Mar 28, 2018 5:23 AM

What makes NCAA March Madness special is when a Cinderella team advances in stunning fashion.

This year, that team is the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers, becoming just the fourth No. 11 seed to reach the Final Four in the history of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament.

And this Cinderella story has a fairy godmother.

For nearly a quarter of a century, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt has been the team's chaplain. She's also the Ramblers' biggest fan.

And at 98 years young, this nun is the star of the NCAA tournament.

"You're a celebrity," CNN's Coy Wire said in a recent interview with Sister Jean.

"I know," she replied. "That's what they tell me. You probably know, I corrected the reporter the other day. She said, 'You're national.' I said, 'No, we're international.'"

With fame comes marketing.

According to ESPN, Loyola has approved more than 25 Sister Jean T-shirts -- with her blessing, of course -- from multiple companies. A new bobblehead of Sister Jean, donning her Loyola jacket and scarf, is available for pre-order for $25 by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.

At Loyola, Sister Jean is well known, having been there for more than 50 years. As a former basketball player and coach herself, she knows the game, giving the players a scouting report and leading them in prayer before each game.

"When people say, 'Why do you do this? You must be awfully tired,' I said, 'What difference does it make at 98, whether I'm tired or not?'" Sister Jean said.

"But the other thing is that I feel that's what I'm called to -- is to minister. And I want to do that. I talk very honestly with the young men. I talk honestly with everybody."

"We broke your bracket, Sister Jean"

According to Loyola-Chicago's website, she's been in the religious order of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin (BVM) for 81 years.

She joined the BVMs in 1937 and earned multiple degrees at schools in Los Angeles. She was a principal, coach and teacher at several schools in California and Illinois.

In 1961, Sister Jean moved to Mundelein College, which was an independent women's college that merged with Loyola-Chicago in 1991. She retired from full-time work in 1994.

In 2009, she was honored with the Dux Mirabilis Award, which, according to the Loyola site, is "an honor given to an extraordinary leader in the Loyola community for outstanding contributions to the University and its mission."

It's tradition in the US for fans to fill out NCAA brackets in advance of the tournament, trying to predict the winners of the games in the 68-team field.

Thanks to upsets, Sister Jean, just like everyone else, now has a busted bracket, too. But it was her own team that did it to her. She had the Ramblers losing in the Sweet 16.

Blissfully for her and Loyola fans, she was wrong, as the Ramblers took down No. 7 seed Nevada 69-68 in Atlanta to reach the Elite Eight.

"(Clayton) Custer said to me as he got off the court, 'We broke your bracket, Sister Jean,'" she said of one of the Ramblers' star players. "I said, 'That's fine with me. Let's keep going.'"

But, as other fans do, Sister Jean has an alternate bracket.

"I have Loyola in my second one, which I call them the -- a Cinderella dream bracket," she said. "And they're going to the top."

The Ramblers aren't done yet, advancing to the Final Four with a convincing 78-62 win against No. 9 seed Kansas State. It's Loyola's first Final Four appearance since 1963, when the Ramblers won their lone national championship.

Loyola will play No. 3 seed Michigan on Saturday in San Antonio, Texas. Should the Ramblers win, they'll face either No. 1 seeds Villanova or Kansas for the championship.

"I feel very emotional about the whole thing, but that doesn't stop me from talking," Sister Jean said. "I keep saying, be careful San Antonio. The Ramblers are on their way."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 20573

Reported Deaths: 878
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin6918534
Ramsey231697
Stearns192312
Nobles14572
Anoka116455
Dakota105935
Olmsted55110
Washington50626
Kandiyohi4541
Clay36623
Rice3652
Scott3462
Wright2401
Sherburne2081
Todd1970
Benton1662
Carver1612
Mower1501
Steele1400
Martin1245
Blue Earth1121
St. Louis11113
Pine850
Freeborn840
Winona7715
Carlton730
Nicollet683
Cottonwood620
Polk582
Otter Tail550
Itasca527
Goodhue522
Watonwan500
Chisago481
Dodge430
Meeker420
Crow Wing421
Le Sueur411
Chippewa400
Jackson390
Morrison380
Murray350
Becker320
Lyon310
Douglas290
McLeod260
Isanti250
Waseca240
Rock210
Unassigned199
Fillmore171
Mille Lacs161
Wabasha160
Swift150
Sibley120
Beltrami120
Wilkin113
Norman110
Kanabec111
Cass113
Faribault110
Brown112
Pipestone100
Marshall80
Pennington70
Pope70
Aitkin60
Wadena60
Yellow Medicine50
Koochiching50
Lincoln50
Mahnomen51
Renville50
Lac qui Parle30
Red Lake30
Big Stone30
Redwood30
Traverse30
Grant20
Houston20
Clearwater20
Hubbard10
Kittson10
Lake10
Roseau10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 17227

Reported Deaths: 456
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk3714108
Woodbury255524
Black Hawk167639
Linn92775
Marshall86611
Dallas84914
Johnson5987
Muscatine54339
Wapello5004
Crawford4772
Tama39023
Louisa3347
Scott3319
Dubuque31916
Jasper25616
Buena Vista2310
Pottawattamie2106
Sioux1990
Washington1798
Allamakee1184
Wright1170
Plymouth1080
Warren1060
Story941
Poweshiek888
Bremer676
Henry611
Clinton601
Boone540
Des Moines531
Mahaska526
Cedar451
Guthrie433
Taylor370
Benton371
Jones360
Monroe334
Iowa320
Clarke320
Osceola320
Shelby310
Buchanan310
Clayton303
Marion290
Webster271
Fayette260
Hamilton260
Madison241
Monona230
Cerro Gordo221
Lee220
Winneshiek210
Davis200
Lyon190
Grundy190
Harrison190
Floyd181
Jefferson150
Cherokee150
Butler150
Mills140
Delaware140
Humboldt130
Sac130
Greene130
Keokuk130
Hardin130
Howard120
Hancock120
Appanoose123
Audubon111
Jackson110
Cass110
Ida100
Page100
Clay100
Winnebago100
Carroll90
Van Buren80
Franklin80
Dickinson80
Adair80
Chickasaw80
Kossuth70
Emmet70
Lucas60
Montgomery60
Union60
Adams50
Ringgold40
Fremont40
Pocahontas40
Mitchell40
Palo Alto30
Worth30
Unassigned30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur00
Rochester
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 74°
Mason City
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
Albert Lea
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Austin
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 75°
Charles City
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 66°
Storms a brewin'
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Will Memorial Day cause a coronavirus spike?

Image

Can you catch Covid-19 from mosquitos?

Image

125 Live Restaurant partnership

Image

Taps in City Park

Image

100 Most traveled days in MN have begun

Image

Parade in the park

Image

Field of Flags

Image

Pausing the pandemic to remember the fallen

Image

Memorial Day Dinner

Image

Salvation Army Dental Care Needs PPE

Community Events