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Hoops coach vows to fire up the Flames

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Howard Moore and Jimmy Collins
Howard Moore, left, introduced Monday as new men’s basketball coach, shakes hands with retiring Flames coach Jimmy Collins.

Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

“We’re going to win on the basketball court, we’re going to win in the classroom, we’re going to win in the community and we’re going to win on campus,” vowed Howard Moore, new coach of the men’s basketball team, as he was introduced Monday at a press conference in the UIC Pavilion.

Moore, 37, a University of Wisconsin assistant coach who helped lead the Badgers to five straight NCAA tournament berths, succeeds Jimmy Collins, who announced his retirement last month after 14 seasons.

“Let’s talk basketball — we’re going to get this thing going,” Moore said. “My goal as head coach at UIC is to do two things: we’re going to win championships and we’re going to get young men to earn their degrees.”

Moore grew up near UIC on the West Side, where he attended Taft High School and played on a team that made the Chicago Public League semifinals.

“It means a lot to me to come home,” he said, becoming choked with emotion as he thanked his parents and grandmothers, his wife, Jennifer, and their two children.

He attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, earning a bachelor’s in African American studies and playing on a team that made the NCAA playoffs for the first time in 47 years.

After graduation, he was an assistant coach at Taft, then moved to collegiate ball at University of Chicago, coaching at Bradley, Ball State and Loyola before joining UW in 2005.

“He’s one of the hardest-working assistant coaches in the game,” said UIC athletics director Jim Schmidt.

“We were looking for someone with great intelligence, Chicago roots, great passion for the game and a tremendous ability to inspire young people.

“Howard was a winner in life before he came to UIC — before he even coached a game or played a game.”

Since Moore joined Wisconsin, the Badgers have made NCAA tournament appearances every year, advancing past the first round in the last four seasons. In 2007-08, the team won a school-record 31 games and the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships.

“We’re going to do this with what I’ve learned in the last five-and-a-half years working under (Wisconsin head coach) Bo Ryan,” Moore said.

“Be compliant. Be effective. Pay attention to detail. Pride ourselves on preparing and striving for perfection.”

Moore, whose appointment must be approved by university trustees, was recommended by a search committee of faculty and staff chaired by Schmidt and Eric Gislason, former interim chancellor and professor emeritus.

“When we interviewed him, he blew me away,” Gislason said of Moore.

“He had a plan — a 40-page PowerPoint document of what he wants to do. I love his energy.”

Moore said several times that his job will be not only coaching players to win games, but become successful adults.

“I will give you every ounce of energy I have to make sure this program is a class program that will go above and beyond basketball, to be a program of pride and dignity and excellence,” he said.

“This is about a community and a family that we’re going to develop, nurture and expand throughout the state of Illinois.

“When we fire the Flames back up, it’s gonna get hot, baby. It’s gonna get hot.”


“He’s one of the hardest-working assistant coaches in the game,” athletics director Jim Schmidt (right) says of Howard Moore.

Photo: Robert Dupuis-Devlin

Howard Moore and Jim Schmidt

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