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Monday, August 16, 2010

Moore Among Six Finalists For UIC Job

The head coaching vacancy is still unfilled at the University of Illinois-Chicago, but the Chicago Tribune is reporting that Wisconsin assistant and Chitown native Howard Moore is one of six finalists for the position. (Ed. note: The Tribune has edited the linked story, stating Tony Barone is no longer a candidate.)

Moore appeared to be one of the top candidates for the position ever since Jimmy Collins announced his retirement last month, but there has been no word on an interview until now. Minnesota assistant Vince Taylor could be one of the front-runners after interviewing this weekend, but apparently all six candidates met with the UIC brass today.

The other four finalists are Mark Montgomery (Michigan State), Willis Wilson (Memphis), Joe Pasternak (New Orleans), and Tony Barone (Memphis Grizzlies' director of player personnel). I think Moore, Taylor and Montgomery are on the short list. Illinois' recruiting savant Jerrance Howard already expressed his desire to stay with the Illini.

Moore's qualifications look good. The natural connection to the loaded talent base is there. Besides the obviously exciting opportunity to get his first head coaching job, though, there are a few reasons why Moore might want to continue solidifying his coaching resume with Bo Ryan and wait for something else down the line.

For starters, it's now the middle of August and the interview process appears to have just kicked off. For comparison, when Rob Jeter left Bo's staff five years ago, he was hired by UW-Milwaukee in April, with plenty of time to build his staff, hit the recruiting path and develop the program's culture. Is it too late in the offseason for UIC's new head coach to be effective in year one?

Not to mention that Tracy Webster, one of the guys who might have been on the short list of replacements for Moore, took a job on the Nebraska bench earlier this month. Don't you think these two former Badger teammates might have discussed whether a position might open up at Wisconsin?

If Moore were to accept a job offer to lead the Flames, his replacement would probably need to possess several characteristics that he and Webster share. Webster and Moore are both 30-something African-American coaches with Chicago roots and a wide range of coaching experience. In addition to his interim head coaching experience at DePaul, Webster has had short stints at some major programs (Purdue, Illinois, Kentucky) after rising quickly from D-III through Ball State at the mid-major level. Moore has been on the grind right from the get-go in 1996, coaching at the high school, D-III, mid-major, and now power-conference levels.

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