Habitat

Tower Pizza

Photo by Steven Douglas ’16

Before Tower Pizza, there was Mother’s, and Mother’s had no tower.

In 1985, local boy Tony Seruto and his wife, Joanne, decided to set up shop in a little place on Lincoln, between Manchester and 83rd. They signed a lease and opened a sports bar. As Seruto was remodeling, the landlord put a tower on top, thought it would look nice, and gave it no more thought than that. But Seruto saw the resemblance to LMU’s chapel. He decided his shop could have only one name.

Brian Quinn ’63, then director of athletics, walked through the door a few weeks later, unknowingly starting a Tower-LMU relationship that’s now 27 years old.

“I could be Tony’s first customer,” Quinn says. “Tony has always said that. In the beginning, it was just me who went there from LMU,” Quinn recalls. “Soon I was holding meetings there.”

“Brian started bringing people by, and the business grew,” Seruto says. “He began ordering food for teams. I don’t know if I would’ve made it without his support. So I started sponsoring events, and that’s been going for more than 25 years.”

Over the years, Tower Pizza has become entwined with LMU’s triumphs and tragedies. Seruto remembers CBS’ “60 Minutes” filming the crowd that came to watch LMU defeat Michigan in the 1990 NCAA basketball tournament. And Quinn still recalls the disappointment of the 1990 baseball team, winner of 45 games, that gathered at Tower to see the NCAA tournament selections only to be entirely passed over.

Today, Tower is a nearly ever-present sponsor of LMU sports events: men’s basketball, volleyball and soccer, to name a few. Tower also has supplied pizzas to Anchor Splash, Delta Gamma sorority’s annual fundraiser for the Blind Childrens Center of Los Angeles. And Seruto fed work groups organized by the late Peg Dolan, R.S.H.M., to help out at local churches. (She loved the Cobb salad, Seruto remembers.)

Quinn still holds meetings at Tower Pizza, unofficial ones with friends who are the retired directors of athletics of UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara. Or he’ll run into some of the regulars, stalwarts like Joe Callinan ’57, Joe Haworth ’66, Mike Mulvihill ’59, John Sharp ’53, Jim Stahl ’65 and Richard Rolfs, S.J., ’45.

“You can go in there on any given day and won’t know who you’re going to see from LMU: alumni, former players, coaches.”

Quinn and Seruto have become friends over the years. “Tony calls me whenever he catches fresh fish to tell me to stop by,” Quinn says. For a long time, Quinn’s habitual order was the chicken fajita sandwich, Veracruz-style, with spices and vegetables. But the real treat? “Joanne would make homemade chocolate cookies. If I was real lucky, I would get two.”

Brian Quinn ’63

Brian Quinn ’63 teaches sports management at California State University, Fullerton. He is also a site representative for NCAA post-season baseball. In January 2013, he retired from his post as Cal State Fullerton’s director of athletics. From 1985–98, Quinn was director of athletics at LMU, and as an undergraduate, he played for the basketball and baseball teams.

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