He grew up on Loyola's campus. Saturday, he'll lead Oregon State against the Ramblers.
Oregon State was already on an incredible late-season run, but matching up against Loyola in a Sweet 16 game was beyond the wildest dreams of coach Wayne Tinkle.
Tinkle's father Wayne Sr. worked as vice president and dean of students at Loyola from roughly 1967 to 1980. So Tinkle didn't just grow up in Chicago, he literally grew up on Loyola's campus.
"This is really going to mean something extra special for me and my family," Tinkle said after the Beavers beat Oklahoma State in the second round. "He had two offices, one on the North Shore, one downtown at Water Tower Place.
"Some of my most fond memories were in the summer going to his office at Water Tower Place. He would have to do some work and he'd have people just keep me out of trouble. I'd go up to the little gym, shoot some hoops. Then we'd go to the Cubs games in the afternoon."
Tinkle, the youngest of 11 siblings, talked about waiting outside the players' parking lot at Wrigley Field and getting autographs from Rick Monday, Bobby Murcer and Billy Williams. He vaguely recalls attending a Loyola-Detroit game at Alumni Gym when Dick Vitale was the opposing coach.
Tinkle's father eventually took a job at Gonzaga, so the family moved to Spokane, Wash. Tinkle has been head coach at Oregon State since 2014 and has never had success like this.
The No. 12 seed Beavers have won five in a row, starting with UCLA, Oregon and Colorado to win the Pac-12 tournament. Considering the success Pac-12 has had in the NCAA Tournament, that's an impressive streak.
Oregon State has been building motivation from being picked to finish 12th in the conference, but that forecast seemed reasonable up until around late February.
The recent push has been about balance, with four different leading scorers in the last five games. Against Oklahoma State, 6-5 senior guard Ethan Thompson scored 26 points. Against Tennessee, it was 7-1 senior center Roman Silva with 16 points. Before that, 6-10 junior Maurice Calloo and 6-7 junior Warith Alatishe led the team.
So the Beavers have experience. They've been hot from 3-point range, hitting at least 9 3-pointers in four straight games before going cold against the other OSU. Oregon State is also getting it done on defense, holding Oklahoma State to 27.7 percent shooting and Tennessee to 33.3 percent.
No. 8 Loyola, on the other hand, led the nation in scoring defense. The Ramblers allowed just 60 and 58 points in their opening wins against Georgia Tech and Illinois. It was the Illini's lowest point total of the season and Tech's second-lowest.
Ramblers coach Porter Moser talked about preaching to his players that defense is what wins conference titles in the Missouri Valley, a mantra that began when Loyola joined the league in 2013.
"I think the other thing about defense is how you frame it; how you frame defense to a recruit," Moser said. "You see everyone talk in the NBA about two-way players -- Michael, Kobe, Kawhi, Klay Thompson. We talk about that in recruiting. It doesn't mean you don't get your offense developed. Defense creates offense. I think that's part of how we get these guys to believe in it."
Moser credited assistant coach Drew Valentine, older brother of Bulls guard Denzel, for helping implement the team's defensive strategy.
" I've got an unbelievable staff and they work their tails off," Moser said. "We've got smart players, really smart players. We can adjust a ball screen in the middle of a 30-second time out or do something (else)."