Bringing Baseball Back to Loyola

By Shelby Schultheis ‘14

For Greg Suire, communications ’92, baseball has always been an integral part of his life. He grew up playing the game and even went to Southwest Community College after he graduated high school just to play baseball. During his time at Southwest, however, he began to feel something was missing from his education.

Suire had always wanted to attend a Catholic high school in Baton Rouge when he was younger, but he couldn’t get in. Still desiring a Catholic education while away at Southwest, Suire found the Jesuit ideals at Loyola University of New Orleans, as well as its communications program, appealing.

“I was looking for a Catholic education that had quality academics, and Loyola was the perfect fit,” Suire says. “It was so close, and it had that commitment to the Jesuit idea of mind, spirit, and body. The only thing it didn’t have was baseball, but I took care of that problem later.”

Registering for classes on his first day at Loyola in 1988, Suire found himself standing in line behind Michael “Mickey” Gallagher. The two started talking and found that they had a shared passion for baseball. During their freshman year, Suire and Gallagher, along with several other baseball enthusiasts, began formulating a plan to bring baseball to Loyola.

In the meantime, Suire was playing every intramural sport possible, even water polo despite the fact that he couldn’t swim. One day, missing his favorite sport, Suire went to talk to Craig Bogar, the recreation director at Loyola, about starting a club baseball team.

Suire says that Bogar did not kick him out of his office as he had feared but instead helped him get the club started. Suire also credits Vincent Knipfing, the dean of arts and sciences, as another wonderful person involved the process of creating a baseball team at Loyola.

Three of Suire’s teachers also inspired him to make a change at Loyola. Suire says Father Raymond Schroth was the most influential teacher of his life. He took six classes with Schroth and says that he is a fantastic human being and a wonderful teacher. Father Pillar was a history professor who had a tremendous influence on Suire, as well, and Father David Bouilleau was a philosophy professor who Suire liked, although he unfortunately died two years ago.

“Those three men really kind of shaped and challenged me to do something different, you know, to take a chance, to take a risk in life like the Jesuits call you to do, and they kind of inspired me to do that,” Suire says. “And needless to say, because of their inspiration, look at the hundreds of young people who have enjoyed athletics at Loyola.”

Suire also credits Don Moreau, the head coach, with helping him to start the baseball club. Moreau volunteered his time for many years, and before coming to Loyola, he was actually the head regent coach for Suire’s friend Gallagher.

“It was funny,” Suire says. “I hired Coach Moreau, and then he became my head coach, so that was kind of interesting.”

Along with baseball, Suire’s other passion growing up was reading the newspaper. Suire’s grandfather who owned a feed store in Jennings, Louisiana, would read six newspapers every morning while waiting on customers and deliveries. Suire helped his grandfather in the feed store during the summer and became enthusiastic about reading newspapers. He got his first subscription to a print publication when he was 12 years old and still has it to this day.

Suire wanted to major in communications because he thought that it would be the best way to combine three of his interests: “I always had a passion to be a broadcaster, and I always enjoyed watching sports, and I’ve always been fairly talkative, so I felt like those would sort of be a nice combination.”
Before starting the baseball club during his freshman year, Suire wrote several articles for The Maroon.

During his time at Loyola, Suire learned that he didn’t actually want to report the news as a journalist, but rather he wanted to help make the news and communicate it in his own way.

“I still have a kind of respect for the media profession, and I still read newspapers every day,” Suire adds.

Suire currently owns the uniform company, H.T. Authentic, which supplies Loyola with its baseball uniforms. Suire never dreamed of owning his own business one day but was always fairly independent.
Suire used the one huge advantage he’d had in his sports career and applied it to running his business: His father was a coach, his mother taught him how to be a leader, and his brother was also a coach. Together, he says, they all taught him how to be a coach.

Even with that valuable teaching, Suire still faced a learning curve when it came to running his own business. Despite working for his grandfather, Suire was too young at the time to know what running a business really entailed.

“I was so young I didn’t really realize the intangibles about paying bills and understanding that when you own your own business, you have to pay your employees first and then you pay yourself,” Suire says. “That’s a hard lesson to learn.”

During his time at Loyola, Suire enjoyed the people and the Catholic culture most of all. In North Carolina, where he runs his business and lives with his family, Suire doesn’t feel the effects of Catholicism as strongly as he did when he lived in New Orleans.

“Louisiana is a Catholic culture,” Suire says. “You are affected, even in the secular world, by Catholicism every day. Up here, very rarely are you affected by the Catholic church, except when you’re at Mass.”
He especially misses the Catholic presence he felt walking around Loyola’s campus and the convenience of the noon Masses.

“Even walking to class, you could see the symbols of Christ on campus and you could feel that spiritualism and you could feel that synergy of what God calls you to do and what God challenges you to do as a person,” Suire says.

In his spare time, Suire tries to spend as much time with his family as possible. He’s been married to his wife for 15 years, and together they have three daughters.

“My family is always my first non-work activity, for sure,” Suire says.

Suire stays busy at work when he’s not with his family. He’s involved with the local baseball community and can be found on baseball fields or in factories where he’s helping to design clothing. He also talks to customers about marketing, advertising, and design; helps to create new educational programs for baseball players; networks with colleges; and does improvements in the ballpark.

“I just love what I do,” Suire says.

Despite his busy days, Suire stays grounded in his spirituality and is grateful to everyone who helped him along the way. He’s especially grateful for his time at Loyola.

“Loyola is at the forefront of my mind every single day, and what I do is all about what I learned those four years at school,” Suire says.

 

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Shelby Schultheis '14 (English) is the publications intern for the Office of Marketing and Communications during the spring 2013 semester.

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