About The Baltimore Catholic League
In its 51st season in 2021-22, the Baltimore Catholic League (BCL) is currently comprised of eight Catholic high schools in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Harford County and Washington County — Archbishop Spalding High School, Calvert Hall College, The John Carroll School, Loyola Blakefield, Mount St. Joseph High School, Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, St. Frances Academy and St. Maria Goretti High School.
The league, founded for the 1971-72 school year, is one of the most prestigious boys’ high school basketball leagues in the country. Several alumni have gone on to star in college basketball at all levels and in the NBA.
Jack Degele is in his 22nd season as the Baltimore Catholic League commissioner. The 2020-21 BCL athletic directors are Jon Mellinger (Archbishop Spalding), Louis Eckerl (Calvert Hall), Seth Goldberg (John Carroll), Jeremy Parr (Loyola), Kraig Loovis (Mount St. Joseph), Alex Brylske (Mount Carmel), Nicholas Myles (St. Frances) and David Blenckstone (St. Maria Goretti).
The BCL traditionally plays a double round-robin schedule each season. Because seven of the eight current schools are also part of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), BCL games played (with the exception of St. Maria Goretti) also count in the MIAA A Conference standings. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCL played a single round-robin schedule for the first time in its history for the 2020-21 season.
At the end of the season, the eight schools play in the Baltimore Catholic League Tournament, which has been held in college gymnasiums and arenas throughout the Baltimore area in front of thousands of fans each year, since the first event in 1972. The winner of the BCL Tournament receives the Brother D. John Smith FSC Memorial Trophy, which is kept in the possession of the winning school until the following year. A committee of former coaches and media select the All-Tournament team, the John M. Plevyak MVP Award (named for the late Mount St. Joseph athletic director) and the Sportsmanship Award.
The BCL is guaranteed at least one bid to the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Frostburg, Maryland each year. The ACIT is one of the longest-running postseason high-school tournaments in the nation, and a BCL team has won the tournament twice — Calvert Hall (1982) and St. Frances (1996) — since the BCL was founded.
Each season, the BCL coaches select the Jerry Savage Player of the Year (named for the late Loyola coach and one of the BCL’s founders), the O. Ray Mullis Coach of the Year (named for the late Cardinal Gibbons head coach), the Mark Amatucci Defensive Player of the Year (named for the former Calvert Hall head coach), the Cokey Robertson Most Improved Player of the Year (named for the former St. Maria Goretti head coach), the Dave Kropfelder “Never, Never Quit” Awards (named for the late Mount St. Joseph star athlete, and later a referee, and given to one player at each school) as well as All-Baltimore Catholic League honorees. The selections are announced at a luncheon for all of the BCL teams and coaches after the conclusion of the regular season.
The Baltimore Catholic League was established May 11, 1971, when the six original members — Archbishop Curley, Calvert Hall, Cardinal Gibbons, Loyola, Mount St. Joseph and Towson Catholic — broke away from the Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA) in basketball to form their own league in the aftermath of a postgame incident after a MSA playoff game in February 1971, while remaining members of the MSA in all other sports. Calvert Hall, Loyola and Mount St. Joseph are the three remaining original members of the BCL. St. Maria Goretti was added for the 1984-85 season, St. Frances became a member in 1988-89, Archbishop Spalding was added to the league for the 1997-98 season, John Carroll joined the BCL in 2010-11 and Mount Carmel was the latest addition to the league in 2011-12.
The BCL has recognized 60 players, coaches, athletic directors and administrators as Baltimore Catholic League Hall of Famers. The league inducted BCL HOF classes in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018.