Oklahoma chooses Loyola Chicago’s Porter Moser to lead men’s basketball program

Porter Moser (courtesy Loyola Athletic Communications)

NORMAN – One of the most successful coaches of the past half-decade, Porter Moser is heading to Norman as the 15th head coach in University of Oklahoma men’s basketball history. The hire was announced Saturday by OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione.

Moser (pronounced “MO-zer”) will be formally introduced this coming week at a press conference on the OU campus.

“We are absolutely thrilled to announce and welcome Porter Moser as our next great OU head coach,” said Castiglione. “As we dug deep into the backgrounds of candidates, his attributes, acumen and record of success totally aligned with what we were seeking. He’s a purposeful and proven leader who prioritizes positive culture, accountability, academics, player development, innovation, transparent communication and a holistic approach to the student-athlete experience.

“Porter is also a bright, energetic and tireless recruiter who will similarly engage all stakeholders related to the future success of Oklahoma men’s basketball. His wife Megan, daughter Jordan and sons Jake, Max and Ben complete an all-star team and are emblematic of the family environment and values he wants to carry on within our program. We can’t wait to get them to campus.”

Over the last four seasons at Loyola University Chicago, Moser has claimed three regular-season Missouri Valley Conference titles, won six NCAA Tournament games, secured two Sweet 16 berths and reached the 2018 Final Four. During that stretch, Moser has totaled a record of 99-36 (.733) – tied for the 10th most wins by a Division I head coach since the start of the 2017-18 season.

“We’re so happy to welcome Coach Moser and his family to the OU family,” said OU president Joseph Harroz Jr. “He has had storied success at Loyola Chicago both on the court and in his positive impact in the lives of his student-athletes. It’s a thrill that he will bring that same energy and excitement to Sooner Nation.”

Moser is coming off a 2020-21 campaign in which he led the Ramblers to a 26-5 record and Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles. Their 16-2 record in MVC play set a program record for most wins in conference play. As an eight seed in the NCAA Tournament, Moser’s squad upset No. 1-seed Illinois in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second time since 2018. 

“Our family is so excited and honored to join the Sooner family,” said Moser. “Joe Castiglione has a reputation for building championship programs at the University of Oklahoma. I’ve always said there are reasons why you win. If you look at the standards that the programs at Oklahoma have set, there are reasons why they’ve won. The coaches, infrastructure and community are all championship caliber. You just want to be a part of that. To play in a premiere league like the Big 12 and be a part of this championship culture excites me.

“I have so much respect for Coach Kruger. He’s one of the icons of our profession. The fact that he was at Oklahoma shows that OU covets character. He’s everything that young coaches should aspire to. He’s all about winning the right way. I look forward to continuing that blueprint and continuing the blueprint we had at Loyola: winning the right way.

“I’m thrilled to join a program that is so focused on culture, people and excellence. I’m looking forward to diving in and building relationships with our players, the other coaches and the OU community.”

Moser’s teams have been built on a strong defensive identity paired with efficient offense. The Ramblers ranked second in adjusted defensive efficiency (KenPom.com) in 2020-21, allowing only 87.0 points per 100 possessions. Loyola foes scored just 56.1 points per game – the lowest opponent scoring average in the country. And under his direction, the Ramblers finished in the top 17 nationally in field goal percentage in each of the last five seasons. His most recent team ranked sixth in the nation by shooting 49.8%.

A 17-year Division I head coach, the 52-year-old Moser is most known for his run to the 2018 Final Four. After assembling a 25-5 regular season record (15-3 in MVC play), Moser guided Loyola to seven straight postseason wins, claiming the 2018 Missouri Valley tournament title and making a historic run to the pinnacle event of college basketball as a No. 11 seed. The Ramblers’ run included wins over Miami, Tennessee, Nevada and Kansas State.

Moser boasts six NCAA Tournament wins since 2018 – tied for the seventh most nationally in that time frame. Loyola, Gonzaga and Houston are the only teams outside of major conferences to reach two of the last three Sweet 16s.

In his 10 seasons with Loyola, Moser assembled a 188-141 (.571) record and reached the postseason every year since 2017, winning the CBI title in 2017 and qualifying for the NIT in 2019 in addition to the Ramblers’ NCAA Tournament runs in 2018 and 2021. The 2020 postseason was canceled due to COVID-19.

Prior to his arrival at Loyola, the Ramblers had just one 20-win season in the previous 26 years. Moser went on to lead the program to five consecutive 20-win campaigns – Loyola’s longest such streak in over 60 years.

The 2018 Missouri Valley Coach of the Year, Moser has mentored his student-athletes to multiple league honors over recent seasons. His roster has boasted three of the last four Missouri Valley Players of the Year and two of the last four MVC Defensive Players of the Year.

With a career record of 293-242 (.548), Moser was hired for his first head coaching job in 2000 at Arkansas-Little Rock. In three seasons with the Trojans, Moser took over a program that went 4-24 during the season prior to his hiring and went 18-11 just one year later. The Trojans ranked last in the conference in several defensive categories prior to his tenure, but Moser turned the program around in just one season to finish with the Sun Belt’s best field goal percentage defense and second-best scoring defense. 

He steered the Trojans to a 54-34 overall record before heading to Illinois State in 2003. After his 2003-04 squad notched a 10-19 record, Moser improved to 17-13 in 2004-05 despite being picked to finish last in the league in the preseason poll. 

Following four years at Illinois State, Moser worked under legendary coach Rick Majerus at Saint Louis as an assistant coach from 2007 through 2011. He then returned to a head coaching role by being named Loyola’s head coach prior to the 2011-12 season.

A Chicago area native, Moser grew up in Naperville, Ill. He was a two-year starter at Creighton and helped lead the Jays to the 1989 Missouri Valley Conference title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. He graduated in 1990 with a degree in business management.

Immediately following his collegiate playing career, Moser began his path in coaching at his alma mater as a graduate assistant. He left Creighton for an assistant coach role at Texas A&M for four seasons followed by a year at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Moser returned to Texas A&M for two more seasons (1996-98) on the Aggies’ bench, then served as an assistant coach at Little Rock for two years before his promotion to head coach.

Moser will be joined in Norman by his wife, Megan. The couple has four children – Jordan, who is a member of Loyola’s women’s basketball team, Jake, Max and Ben.

COURTESY OKLAHOMA ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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