Oklahoma hires Loyola Chicago’s Porter as basketball coach

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Posted at 11:41 AM, Apr 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-03 15:52:56-04

Oklahoma hired Loyola Chicago’s Porter Moser as its basketball coach Saturday following Lon Kruger’s retirement.

Moser, who led Loyola to two deep runs in the NCAA Tournament, takes over a program used to success.

Kruger led the Sooners to a 195-128 record in 10 years and reached seven of the past eight NCAA Tournaments. Oklahoma reached the Final Four in 2016 with Buddy Hield leading the way. In Kruger’s final season at Oklahoma, the Sooners went 16-11 and finished the season with a loss to top-seeded Gonzaga in the second round.

In a statement, Moser mentioned the “standards that the programs at Oklahoma have set” and the opportunity to play in the Big 12 while praising Kruger.

“He’s all about winning the right way,” Moser said. “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.”

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said Moser’s “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,” Castiglione added.

Moser led Loyola to the Final Four in 2018 and the Sweet 16 this year. He went 188-141 in 10 years at Loyola and has a 293-242 record in 17 seasons as a college head coach, with stops at Arkansas-Little Rock (2000-03) and Illinois State (2003-07).

“It is impossible to properly thank Porter for all he’s done for our basketball program and University,” Loyola athletic director Steve Watson said. “His vision and leadership brought Loyola to new heights and Ramblers everywhere will be eternally grateful.”

The Ramblers went 32-6 in their Final Four season and charmed the nation in an unexpected run buoyed by one last-second shot after another. Along the way, their 98-year-old nun and team chaplain, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, became a celebrity, with bobbleheads and athletic apparel and national TV interviews.

The Ramblers beat Miami, Tennessee, Nevada and Kansas State to reach the national semifinal, where they lost to Michigan.

Loyola made another run this year, led by the nation’s stingiest scoring defense. The Ramblers went 26-5 in their fourth straight year with 20 or more wins. They earned their first AP Top 25 ranking since 1985 and won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament for the second time in four years.

Sister Jean, now 101 and fully vaccinated, was on hand for the NCAA Tournament this year. She watched in Indianapolis as Loyola beat ACC Tournament champion Georgia Tech and dominated top-seeded Illinois in the second round before falling to Oregon State.

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