Born: March 5, 1947

Dave Loos made his way in this world as a basketball coach, winning more than 500 games at the collegiate level and earning his way into numerous halls of fame.

But baseball was his first love.

“Baseball was my favorite sport,” Loos said. “I was more skilled in baseball. Good hands and a plus arm were my best attributes. I played all the time.”

Though he loved baseball, the basketball bug bit him in high school. Eventually he was good enough on the hardwood to earn a scholarship to Memphis State, where he also played baseball.

For his success as an athlete and later a coach at Mehlville High School, to his excellence on the sidelines as a college coach at Memphis, Christian Brothers University, and Austin Peay, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted Dave Loos as a member of the Class of 2023.

At Memphis, Loos played for and later coached alongside Moe Iba for one season. Four years as an assistant at crosstown Christian Brothers followed before Loos returned to St. Louis as the boy’s head coach at Mehlville.

“I made a lot of mistakes at Mehlville as I was cutting my teeth as a head coach,” Loos said. “I learned some hard lessons, which helped me grow as a coach.”

After five winning seasons and a state tournament berth at Mehlville, the city of Memphis called once again as he was named head coach at Christian Brothers.

“Recruiting became the first order of business,” Loos said. “I used the contacts I had made in St. Louis a great deal.”

Loos left Christian Brothers in 1986 following three straight 20-win seasons. He returned to his collegiate alma mater, working as an assistant to Larry Finch, and helping the Tigers to a pair of NCAA Tournaments and an NIT appearance in four seasons.

“It was at Memphis that I learned the up-tempo game,” Loos said. “We pressed on defense much of the time and ran at every opportunity.”

Austin Peay came calling after the 1990 season, and Loos headed east to Clarksville, Tenn., where he would remain for 27 years.

His first season couldn’t have gone much better, as Loos led the Governors to a third-place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference, earning the first of his five OVC Coach of the Year honors. But Loos struggled over the next three seasons, winning just 29 games.

The 1996 squad turned it around. A powerful and athletic lineup led the Governors to the OVC Tournament title, sending Austin Peay to its first NCAA Tournament in nearly a decade.

Three more NCAA Tournaments followed in 2003, 2008, and 2016. But as is often the case for coaches, Loos can’t forget the ones that got away.

“We were in the championship game of the OVC tournament eleven times,” he said. “I seem to dwell on the seven times we lost rather than the four we won. For me, losing was catastrophic. I dwelled on it too long.”

Loos, who also spent 16 years as Austin Peay’s athletic director, retired from coaching at the end of the 2016-17 season.

He’s since had time to reflect on his coaching legacy.

“I would like to be remembered as a coach who won a lot of games and did it with class, integrity and character,” Loos said.

His family was along for the ride.

“I have to say that my wife gave up her life for my career,” Loos said. “Any success I had was directly attributable to her and the sacrifices she made.

“My children grew up in the gym. I was so blessed to have them involved in our program. They kept me grounded and helped me remember there were other things in life besides basketball.”

It’s all coming full circle now for Loos.

From Little League games in South County, to a standout career as a baseball and basketball player at Mehlville High School, cutting his teeth as a head coach at his high school alma mater, two separate detours through Memphis, and finally a career-defining stop in Clarksville, Tenn., Loos has done just about everything and pretty much seen it all.

“This is such a big deal for me having grown up in St Louis,” said Loos. “To be recognized in this way is the highest honor. This ties a big ribbon around my career. I am so appreciative. Thanks to all of those who had a hand in making this happen.”