In the beginning, there was Dick Lloyd. At least, that’s how it seemed for fans of the Scarlet Knights men’s basketball  program. For 50 years—from 1965, when coach Bill Foster  hired him as an assistant, until April, when he announced  his retirement as the voice of the Scarlet Knights—Lloyd GSE’68 served the team and Rutgers in many ways: as coach, fundraiser, and longtime radio analyst, and as the institution’s memory. Who were the best players to wear the uniform? What was Jim Valvano RC’67 like as an undergrad? Just how crazy was the College Avenue Gym during the 1976 Final Four season? Even veteran observers of the Scarlet Knights have gone to Lloyd for insight.

“I don’t think anybody knows Rutgers basketball better than he does because of his longevity and experience,” says former head coach Bill Foster, who brought the program to national prominence and credited Lloyd with helping broker Rutgers’ fruitful relationship with Madison Square Garden, which hosted Scarlet Knights games throughout the 1970s. “He really helped put us on the map.”

Dick Lloyd, pictured here with Steve Duthie RC’74, right, and Steve DiPeri RC’73


Lloyd, pictured here with Steve Duthie RC’74, right, and Steve DiPeri RC’73, center, coached the Scarlet Knights men’s basketball team from 1971 to 1973.

courtesy of Rutgers Athletics Communications

The magical year was the 1966–67 season, when Lloyd’s younger brother, Bob RC’67, averaged 28 points a game and backcourt mate Valvano was good for 18. The team went 22-7, earned the program’s first postseason berth, and advanced to the NIT semifinals at a time when the NIT stood on nearly equal footing with the NCAA Tournament.

When Foster left for the University of Utah in 1971 before ending up at Duke, Lloyd, who had served as his assistant from 1965–71, was promoted to the top spot. He led Rutgers to a 14-11 record in 1971–72 and 15-11 in 1972–73 before stepping aside to take a post as assistant secretary of the university. “In those days, we only had one-year contracts,” he says. “I made $17,000 as head coach. Then I went down to $10,000 (as assistant secretary), but the next year, as the alumni relations director, I made the same salary as I did coaching.” Twice he considered posts at other schools—New York University and the University of North Carolina—but he always stayed true to the Scarlet Knights. “It turned out to be one of the best decisions I made, because I had a very good  life working for an institution like Rutgers. You really don’t think of it as  a job.”

Lloyd’s legacy as skipper was hiring an energetic assistant coach named Dick Vitale, who recruited the cornerstone players on Rutgers’ 1976 Final Four team before achieving celebrity as an ESPN broadcaster. “Dick just loved the university, and he gave everything he could to the university in every position he ever had, whether it was as a head coach, assistant coach, administrator, or as television and radio personality,” says Vitale. “He just put his heart and soul into it. He’s just the kind of guy you’d like to have on your team. He’s all about loyalty, integ­rity, and class.”

As Rutgers’ radio analyst for the past 23 years, Lloyd was a master of simplicity in the way that he broke down games, accompanied always by his soothing tenor. “I don’t know if there’s been a better ambassador for Rutgers basketball over the last 25 years than Dick,” says Chris Carlin, his play-by-play partner for the last seven years, a tenure that began after Lloyd’s long partnership with Bruce Johnson ended. “He loved it so much, and he just enjoyed being around the coaches and being around the kids.”

Lloyd, a resident of Somerset, New Jersey, and grandfather of seven, says “it’s been a great privilege having relationships with the players and the coaches. There have been so many good people involved in Rutgers basketball.”

Everyone continues to refer to Lloyd as “coach,” even though he hasn’t worked a sideline since the Nixon administration. “Coach Lloyd is part of the fabric of Rutgers basketball,” says Eddie Jordan SMLR’15, the current head coach of the Scarlet Knights men’s team. “He has been a mentor and friend to me and so many players and coaches through the years.”

The natural question as he takes off his headset for the final time is: which Rutgers men’s basketball squad was his favorite? “I enjoyed every team; it didn’t matter what the record was,” says Lloyd. “The 1967 NIT team was special, though. That’s probably what I’ll remember the most.” •