With Loyola headed to the Final Four, one of the NCAA Tournament’s feel-good stories lives on, and Sister Jean fever continues to sweep the nation. The 11th-seeded Ramblers beat No. 9 Kansas State over the weekend to win the South Region, and will face No. 3 Michigan in San Antonio on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Loyola University Chicago’s Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, their 98-year-old team chaplain, has become one of the beloved darlings of March Madness. Last Friday, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum announced a new, limited-edition bobble of Sister Jean, and within 40 hours it became the best-seller in the institution’s history.
In just one day, Co-Founder and CEO Phil Sklar said, Sister Jean bobbleheads had been sold to people in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Canada. The Hall of Fame and Museum sold 5,000 in a little more than 48 hours (1.7 per minute), with 63 percent of the orders coming from outside the state of Illinois. The bobblehead was mentioned during Loyola’s Elite Eight win over Kansas State, and quickly surpassed the Clemson Football National Championship edition as the best-selling bobblehead, with one person buying 30 of them.
"We've been completely overwhelmed with the love for Sister Jean and her bobbleheads," Sklar said in a release. "When the Final Four rolls into San Antonio in just a few days, the biggest name might not be a player, coach or celebrity attendee – instead, it most likely will be a nun from Chicago. Who would have guessed that just a few weeks ago when the NCAA Tournament got underway? Not even Sister Jean herself, who only had Loyola-Chicago going to the Sweet 16."
Sister Jean has been the chaplain for the Loyola University’s men’s basketball team since 1994. As the Ramblers have advanced in the NCAA Tournament, Sister Jean has captivated the nation with her positive attitude and support for the team. According to Twitter, Sister Jean – with her motto, "Worship. Work. Win." – was the most tweeted-about person of the Tournament’s opening weekend, and her popularity has generated an enormous amount of media attention.
"We are so excited that people around the country are getting the opportunity to learn what all of us at Loyola have known for quite some time, and that is that Sr. Jean is an absolute treasure," Loyola Athletic Director Steve Watson said. "She is an amazing person and part of the fabric of what makes Loyola such a wonderful place. Most people never have their own bobblehead, but the fact that Sister Jean is about to get her second shows just how special she is."
Many people have asked me what I gave up for lent. My answer is simple. Losing. — Sister Jean (@SisJeanLoyola) March 24, 2018
Sister Jean had a bobblehead in her likeness given away at Loyola games in 2011 and 2015, and those are now valuable commodities, selling for more than $300 each on eBay.
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum features a smiling Sister Jean in her Loyola jacket and scarf. They cost $25, are expected to arrive in June and are available for pre-order in the Hall of Fame and Museum’s Online Store. The bobbleheads are officially licensed by Loyola University Chicago and are being produced in conjunction with the school’s athletic department.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bobblehead will benefit the Loyola Athletic Fund and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
"Sister Jean and Loyola have been one of those amazing feel-good March stories, and we’re thrilled to be working with the University so that more fans across the country can have a Sister Jean bobblehead," Sklar said. "Everyone needs some of Sister Jean’s positive attitude and great spirit in their life, and this bobblehead will be a great way to have that."
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.