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Roland Hymel

Roland Hymel was an archery champion at Loyola University who also won a contest to name the New Orleans Saints football franchise.

Roland Hymel

Courtesy of Loyola University

Roland Hymel and Henry Burch. Loyola Maroon (Publication)

Roland J. Hymel Jr. was a collegiate archery champion at Loyola University and one of the sport’s top-ranked individuals in national amateur competition. He later achieved local notoriety in a more prominent sport when he won a newspaper-sponsored contest in 1966 to name New Orleans’s new professional football franchise. Of the 425 football fans who recommended “Saints,” Hymel was declared the winner for his elaborate explanation of the name’s worthiness.

After graduating from Holy Cross High School in 1949, Hymel, a New Orleans native, enrolled at Loyola University, where he became the captain of the school’s first archery team. He led the Wolfpack to three consecutive state championships in archery (1951, 1952, and 1953) and was consistently ranked as the number-two collegiate archer in the nation in each of those years. He was also ranked as fifth-best archer in the country by the National Archery Association.

Hymel earned four varsity letters in archery at Loyola and competed in the pole vault under Coach Jim McCafferty, who saw the track and field program improve from club caliber to national prominence: the Wolfpack championship teams of 1951 and 1953 would be elected collectively to the Loyola Hall of Fame in 1999. A model student-athlete, Hymel was active with the Blue Key National Honor Society until his graduation from Loyola in 1953.

In 1966 the New Orleans States-Item sponsored a contest to name the city’s newly awarded franchise in the National Football League. Hymel was among 4,950 people to enter the contest, and his entry was declared the winner. His prize was a pair of season tickets for the Saints’ inaugural season in 1967.

Hymel was inducted into Loyola’s Hall of Fame in 2002.