KOKOMO, Ind. – On his application for the boys basketball coaching position at Kokomo High School, Matt Moore noted as his “reason for leaving” as the head men’s basketball coach at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, the following statement: “Interested in coaching high school basketball in Indiana at a high school that is committed to winning and values basketball.”
On June 17, the Kokomo School Corporation Board of Trustees gave Moore the opportunity to serve as the 24th boys basketball coach in the 111-year history of Wildkat hoops.
“In Indiana, two different types of basketball situations exist: teams and programs,” Moore explained. “I look forward to building off the great tradition known as the Kokomo Wildkat basketball program. The past Kokomo coaches have built a great foundation while fueling the successes of the program. I want to help Kokomo High School continue being one of the state’s top basketball programs.”
That rich Kokomo boys basketball tradition began in 1903, and Kokomo owns the state record with 74 sectional boys basketball titles. Moore replaces Brian McCauley, who left his alma mater after eight season to coach the Noblesville boys program.
Since 2009, Moore has served as head coach of the Ohio based school, where in his first two years as head coach he recorded the most victories than anyone else in 42 years of the program. Through his four seasons at MVNU, Moore ranked third in wins in program history.
“I revamped the MVNU program from the inside-out by recruiting high quality individuals who had a desire to pursue excellence,” Moore explained. “I am proud of the fact that my teams also have shown excellence in the classroom as our team GPA was 3.08, 3.25, 3.33, and 3.18 during my four years at MVNU.”
Athletic Director Jason Snyder is excited to have Moore join the KHS basketball family.
“Coach Moore has an extensive resume and comes highly qualified,” Snyder said. “Matt has shown a commitment to developing relationships with the players and the community at each stop. Coach Moore is going to be a great addition to our community and the athletic department as the leader of our boys basketball program.”
Moore is no stranger to the North Central Conference after serving as junior varsity head coach at Logansport High School for three seasons and as a varsity assistant to Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Al Rhodes. In between Logansport and MVNU, Moore returned to his alma mater and served as head assistant men’s basketball coach and director of sports information at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind.
“I have had outstanding mentors throughout my coaching career, from my high school (Columbia City) coach Chris Benedict to my college (Grace College) coach Jim Kessler, and my time at Logansport with Coach Rhodes,” Moore explained. “Some of my greatest experiences as a player and as a coach are rooted in being part of this great game in Indiana. Kokomo struck me as one of those jobs that reminded me of growing up knowing what Indiana high school basketball means. Kokomo is one of those few places left that embodies what I believe this basketball experience can be, and should be, for high school athletes.”
Outgoing KHS Principal Dr. Mike Sargent feels Moore is a perfect fit.
“Mr. Moore’s teaching and coaching ability will benefit both students and athletes at Kokomo High School,” Sargent said. “His vision for the basketball program and his leadership qualities will continue the historic success of the KHS basketball program.”
Coach Moore will teach physical education at KHS after serving as a professor of health and physical education at Mt. Vernon for the past four years.
Former KHS boys basketball coach Mike Wade, who now serves as Director of Operations and Human Relations, was pleased with the quality of candidates.
“Coach Moore comes to us highly recommended,” Wade noted. “Coach Moore’s uplifting spirit is very refreshing. Matt is a self-proclaimed basketball junkie who loves to teach basketball and build relationships.”
Moore explained that his passion for the game of basketball gained momentum as a four-year starter and two-year team captain at Columbian City High School, where, during his senior season in 1998, the team finished 18-6 and won its first sectional title in 20 years. At Grace College, Moore was a four-year starter and team captain for three seasons. During his collegiate career, Moore led the Grace team in assists, steals, and minutes played all four seasons.
“I am a very passionate and driven person, so I hope I can instill some of my basketball experiences – both at the high school and college level – with the Kokomo players,” Moore added. “This transition for me professionally will be a difficult one because of the time and energy I have spent building the program at MVNU and the relationships formed with my players. I am so excited to begin the process of building onto Kokomo’s basketball tradition. The drive for number 75 starts now.”
Moore noted that his family – wife Anna, 4 year-old Makenna, 3 year-old Mya and a new baby girl due in early July – are excited about returning to Indiana and watching the Wildkats play in Memorial Gymnasium.
Courtesy of Kokomo School Corporation