Richmond’s Chris Mooney to miss rest of basketball season due to heart surgery

Chris Mooney (courtesy Richmond Athletic Communications)

RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond Men’s Basketball Head Coach Chris Mooney will have surgery next week to remove an aneurysm in his ascending aorta and will miss the remainder of the season, Mooney and Richmond Athletics announced Friday. Mooney will undergo the procedure at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Va. Assistant Coach Peter Thomas will serve as Interim Head Coach during Mooney’s recovery period, which is expected to last four to eight weeks.
“The University of Richmond and Spider Athletics are committed to doing everything possible to support Chris on his path to a full recovery,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics John Hardt. “Our main focus is ensuring that Chris has the time and space to prioritize his health and his family during this period. We look forward to having Chris back on campus leading Spider Basketball when he is fully recovered and ready to resume his duties.”
“I want to thank Richmond Athletics leadership, my coaching staff, and our players for doing everything they can to make a difficult situation a little bit easier,” said Mooney. “I’m grateful to have a tremendous medical team to rely on, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to fully focus on my health for the next few weeks. During that time, I’m confident that Peter Thomas, the rest of our coaches, and our players will rise to the challenge and have a successful end to the season.”
“For the past 18 years, Chris has been a coach, a mentor, and a friend, and my primary concern is that we assist him in every way possible during his recovery,” said Thomas. “A part of that is preparing and playing to the standards he has set during his time at Richmond, and our team and our staff are ready to accept that responsibility.”
Mooney has been the Head Coach at Richmond for the past 18 seasons, compiling a school-record 325 wins and leading the Spiders to their only two Atlantic 10 Championships, in 2011 and 2022. Mooney holds program records for wins in a season (29 in 2010-11), conference wins in a season (14 in 2019-20), and wins vs ranked opponents (15), among others. His 18 seasons at Richmond are the third-longest tenure at a single school in Atlantic 10 history, trailing only John Chaney (24 seasons at Temple) and Phil Martelli (24 seasons at Saint Joseph’s).
Thomas is a 2007 graduate of Richmond who is in his 16th season on a college coaching staff. He rejoined Richmond last May after nine seasons on the staff at Campbell University, including five as Associate Head Coach. Thomas served as Richmond’s Director of Basketball Operations for five seasons from 2008-13 after spending the 2007-08 season on the staff at Eastern Kentucky. He earned Academic All-Atlantic 10 honors twice during his time at Richmond and served as a team captain in 2006-07, averaging 6.5 points and 2.7 rebounds per game while making 30 starts.
Thomas will make his debut as Interim Head Coach Tuesday vs Saint Louis. The game will tip at 7pm at the Robins Center and be broadcast on MASN and ESPN Plus.