If you asked Allison Guth how she feels about returning to Loyola, she’d probably tell you she’s “jazzed to be a Rambler.”
Guth, who has spent six seasons as the head coach at Yale University, was announced as the next head coach of Loyola’s women’s basketball program April 8. She makes her return to Loyola after serving as an assistant coach for the Ramblers from 2005 to 2007.
“You don’t go into these searches completely blind,” Loyola Athletic Director Steve Watson said about the hire. “Of course, we identified Allison right away as a great candidate. It just made sense. … She’s an experienced and successful head coach at an Ivy League school.”
With over a decade of coaching experience, Guth said she’s excited to return to Rogers Park where she “fell in love with coaching.” Guth joined Loyola’s staff under then head coach Shannon Reidy, who led the Ramblers from 2005 to 2009.
“I wouldn’t be here in this position if it weren’t for her believing in me,” Guth said. “So to be able to come back here, to my home, is absolutely divine timing. For me, since then, I’ve learned from some of the greatest minds in college basketball.”
After departing Rogers Park, Guth served as an assistant coach at University of Missouri in 2007 before returning to the Windy City as the director of basketball operations at DePaul University from 2008 to 2010.
Guth then spent two seasons at Yale as both an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 2010 to 2012. From there, she once again returned to the Chicagoland area, this time as an assistant coach at Northwestern University from 2013 to 2015.
The Arlington Heights, Illinois native stepped into her first head coach role at Yale, taking the reins from Chris Gobrecht, who was the head coach during Guth’s first stint in New Haven, Connecticut.
While at Yale for the second time, Guth led the Bulldogs to five consecutive winning seasons with 99 wins across her time there. Yale went 16-11 during the 2021-2022 season, capturing nine of its 14 conference games.
Guth also led the team to a Women’s Basketball Invitational tournament title in 2018 to become the first Ivy League team to win a national postseason women’s basketball tournament in conference history.
“Infectious personality, she’s incredibly enthusiastic,” Watson said. “She’s engaging, super polite … just the exact kind of person you want representing your team, leading your school. The fit is obvious, we’re so excited that Allison and [her family] are back here at Loyola.”
During her collegiate career, Guth played at the University of Illinois, where she competed in the 2003 NCAA Tournament. She also earned an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 2A state title while playing at Buffalo Grove High School in 2000.
At the press conference, Guth acknowledged how her family — many of whom were in attendance — shaped her as a coach and a person.
“We show up for each other,” Guth said. “We celebrate each other’s successes and we pick each other up when we fail. I have godparents with us today, I have aunts and uncles… I have a former teammate that came out today… I can’t wait for them to be with [the team] on this journey.”
Guth credited her parents with developing her work ethic and service-oriented life, connecting to the three core values she said guides her coaching philosophy: academic integrity, competitive excellence and social responsibility.
One coach who she said inspired her was Theresa Grentz, who was the head coach during Guth’s time playing for the Fighting Illini. Guth said Grentz educated her players about the gratitude they should have for opportunities while also fighting for more.
Over her decades of both playing and coaching experience, Guth said she’s seen the way women’s athletics has expanded but acknowledged the role coaches can play in building the sports.
“If you build it, they will come,” Guth said. “It’s only going in one direction, and that gets me really excited. I do believe it’s our jobs to continue that trajectory. I think you do it one way, it’s the entertainment of the product on the floor.”
Guth will be stepping in as the head coach during Loyola’s transition from the Missouri Valley Conference from the Atlantic-10 Conference (A-10) in the 2022-2023 season. She is also stepping in the wake of former head coach Kate Achter not having her contract renewed.
“I know the blood sweat and tears that are poured in here and I want to honor and congratulate [the team] on an incredible year,” Guth said to the players in attendance at the April 11 press conference. “Thank you for allowing me to be part of this journey with you.”