the situation figured," says Ken Loeffler, the La Salle coach. "Had he
scored earlier to break the record, I'd have sent in a sub for him and made him
come off the floor alone for an ovation. So he waited until just before the
game ended to shoot."
When Gola was at
La Salle High School he was known as a great ballplayer. As a senior he played
in the North-South All Star high school game and was voted the outstanding
player. By actual count he got 62 scholarship offers.
Gola's home is
within walking distance of La Salle and he and his family are Catholics. They
preferred their boy's education and basketball to continue under the Christian
Brothers. Thus the string which began at Incarnation Parish School will be
completed when Tom finishes his business administration course next June.
Until he gave it
all up for basketball, Gola was a four-event track star and baseball player.
More informally, he is one of a harmonica trio which entertains his teammates
at annual team dinners. He also is unofficial assistant to the trainer when
bandaging and minor medications are required.
If Gola cared
to, he could act as La Salle's sacred cow and get away with it. But he prefers
not to. Last year demands on his time from the college publicity department
kept him from many classes. Once he missed turning in an assignment. The next
day he apologized to the instructor, Brother Edward, and asked the opportunity
to make up the assignment.
to take the cut, of course," the Brother said.
asked Loeffler for permission to leave practice early. "When my pictures
were taken yesterday," Tom said, "I missed an assignment. I must make
Brother why you were absent," Loeffler said.
didn't," Gola answered. "I didn't want him to think I was ducking work
because of basketball."
ducking anything," Loeffler said. "You were working for the college
taking that time with the photographer."