Georgetown is celebrating 100 years of men’s basketball this year. What do we know about our first coach?
Maurice Joyce (1851-1939) coached the men’s basketball team for its first five seasons, from 1906-1911. He had a 32-20 (.615) record. A man of many occupations, including circus performer, U.S. Marshall, and boxing coach to President Theodore Roosevelt, Joyce is credited with introducing the game of basketball to Washington. Arriving in D.C. in 1892 as director and physical instructor for the Carroll Institute, a city-wide amateur athletic club, Joyce used basketball - invented the previous year by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts - as a conditioning tool. Naismith’s rules stipulated that a basketball team consist of nine players but Joyce began modifying these rules and dropped the number of players per side first to seven and then to five. To increase the pool of potential opponents for his teams, he worked hard to spread the new sport throughout the region. After Georgetown University completed its new Ryan Gymnasium (now incorporated into the Royden B. Davis, S.J., Performing Arts Center) in 1906, it recruited Joyce, the preeminent fitness instructor in the region, as Physical Instructor. And, of course, Joyce brought with him his enthusiasm for the game of basketball, forming a varsity squad on campus in December 1906.