NCAA Loyola Chicago Illinois Basketball

Loyola head coach Porter Moser celebrates after a win over Illinois in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on March 21.

Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma’s longtime athletics director, had plenty of reasons to hire Porter Moser, and he made them known.

OU introduced the 10-year Loyola Chicago coach, who took the Ramblers to the 2018 Final Four, as its 15th head men’s basketball coach Saturday morning.

Castiglione listed the major factors of what made Moser the right person for the job in what could fit a lengthy statement.

“He's a purposeful and proven leader,” Castiglione said, “who prioritizes positive culture, accountability, academics, player development, innovation, transparent communication and a holistic approach to the student-athlete experience.

"Porter is also a bright, energetic and tireless recruiter who will similarly engage all stakeholders related to the future success of Oklahoma men's basketball.”

Just before that glowing endorsement, Castiglione initially introduced Moser as the school’s “next great OU head coach.”

Expectations ought to be high with Moser’s recent success with Loyola, which made this year’s NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 after knocking off No. 1 seed Illinois.

Over the last four seasons, the Ramblers have won 99 games, as well as three Missouri Valley Conference regular season titles and two tournament titles.

Moser was fired as Illinois State’s head coach four years prior to taking the Loyola job in 2011 and restored the program to national prominence.

He won’t have as much of a rebuilding job at OU, which is five years removed from a Final Four run of its own and has earned three consecutive NCAA Tournament bids — likely four if the 2020 NCAA Tournament wasn’t canceled due to COVID-19.

He will have to follow the man that did put OU back on the map, Lon Kruger, who retired from coaching last week after 10 seasons in Norman.

"I have so much respect for Coach Kruger. He's one of the icons of our profession. The fact that he was at Oklahoma shows that OU covets character,” Moser said in a statement. “He's everything that young coaches should aspire to. He's all about winning the right way. I look forward to continuing that blueprint and continuing the blueprint we had at Loyola: winning the right way.”

While OU has enjoyed sustained success under Kruger, Moser will have to replenish a roster hit hard by offseason departures.

OU's three leading scorers, Austin Reaves (NBA Draft), De'Vion Harmon (NBA Draft) and Brady Manek (transfer portal), are not expected to return next season. It will also be without Victor Iwuakor, Trey Phipp and Anyang Garang, all of whom are seeking transfers this offseason.

Moser unsurprisingly doesn’t seem deterred by the challenges ahead of him in Norman.

"Our family is so excited and honored to join the Sooner family," Moser said. "Joe Castiglione has a reputation for building championship programs at the University of Oklahoma. I've always said there are reasons why you win. If you look at the standards that the programs at Oklahoma have set, there are reasons why they've won.

"The coaches, infrastructure and community are all championship caliber. You just want to be a part of that. To play in a premier league like the Big 12 and be a part of this championship culture excites me.”

Joe Buettner


Follow me @JoeBuettner

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