|Title:||Class of 2009|
In the mid 1980s, WPI men's basketball was one of the top programs in all of New England. A big reason, literally and figuratively, was John Loonie.
Freshman year is usually a season of adjustment for a young player, but Loonie looked like a seasoned veteran during his rookie campaign, averaging 10 points and grabbing a team-best 7.6 rebounds per game for head coach Ken Kaufman.
His sophomore season was one of the most memorable basketball runs in school history. The Engineers went 20-8 and fell one game short of earning a trip to the 1985 NCAA Division III Final Four. The team began its magic run with a 58-57 overtime win over Albany State before avenging a pair of tight regular season losses to Clark by stunning the defending national finalists 67-62. The dream fell short as Widener slipped past WPI 41-38 in a national quarterfinal contest. Loonie was second on the team in scoring (14/7 ppg), behind fellow Hall of Famer Orville Bailey, and again led the squad in rebounding (7.6 rpg) and blocks (45).
Offensively, Loonie had his best season in 1985-86 as a junior. He connected on an eye-popping 61.9 percent of his field goal attempts en route to averaging 15.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. During his senior season, he overcame an illness to average 13.6 points and contributed a career-best 49 blocks. The Engineers continued to win ball games at a steady clip, combining to go 28-20 over the two seasons.
"John was one of the hardest working players we ever had," noted Kaufman. "He made himself into one of the best basketball centers in New England during his career at WPI."
Over his four years at WPI, the men's basketball team posted a record of 62-37 (.627 winning percentage). At the time, the 62 wins was the second highest over a four-year period in program history. Loonie, himself, posted some impressive statistical numbers during his career. He tallied 1218 points, 650 rebounds, and 162 blocked shots (the second highest in school history). By the time he graduated, he held the record for blocks in a game with 9. Offensively he left his mark with his impressive field goal percentage, draining 493 of his 861 field goal attempts (.573).
A native of Brockton, John Loonie graduated from WPI in the spring of 1987 with a degree in computer science. His IQP project utilized computers in elementary school classrooms in Worcester.
Voted one of WPI's all-time top-10 men's basketball players in 2001, he currently is the director of software development for Demandware in Woburn. He and wife Suzanne, live in Boxborough with their children, Ryan and Erin.