CLEVELAND — Steve Moore has built quite the NCAA Division III dynasty over his 33 seasons at the helm of The College of Wooster men’s basketball program, and those in high places within the sport have taken notice of his team’s successes.
Moore has more than 760 wins in his time at Wooster, and because of that, he was selected for consideration for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, but true to form, the long-time coach turned the focus on his players rather than himself.
“Anytime there’s a coach that has a good record, it’s fueled by players,” Moore told WKYC.com. “We’ve had a tremendous number of outstanding players at The College of Wooster who were very talented, and also, team players who have worked very, very hard to improve.
“Most definitely, it’s all about the program, the supporters, the fans, the college. We feel very good, and it’s such a good thing that our program has been able to get recognition for The College of Wooster and for the community of Wooster.”
Now in his 33rd and final season as the head coach of the Fighting Scots, Moore has compiled a 768-182 record, moving his career mark to 855-247 with a stop at Muhlenberg College before taking over at The College of Wooster and turning the program into a dynasty not only in the North Coast Athletic Conference, but also, on the national scene.
Moore has guided the Fighting Scots to 18 NCAC championships and 27 appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament, as well as the most wins of any program across all NCAA divisions during the 2000s.
“It started with a feeling of desire to do those things,” Moore said. “It’s been a saying in our building the last few years now that it’s a huge goal of ours to be playing well at the end of the season and to go play in March.
“It’s a great thing to do. Basketball’s a tournament sport, and it really is a fun thing and good thing to be playing in the national tournament each year. We’ve been fortunate to be there a lot of years.”
With all of his successes at Wooster, Moore could have tried to pursue coaching at higher levels of the college game, but the Monroeville, Ohio native never wanted to leave.
“We’ve been here going on 33 years now,” Moore said.
“My daughters were six and four when we moved here. They grew up here, and it was a great place for them to grow up and go to school. My wife and I have enjoyed the community in all ways, have made many friends and supporters of the program, and they’re all very special to us.”
Moore will find out on February 14 if he is a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020. If Moore is selected as a finalist, he will find out who was chosen for the Class of 2020 at the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Final Four in Atlanta on Saturday, April 4.
If Moore is selected for induction, he will carry Wooster with him all the way to Springfield.
“Wooster’s special,” Moore said. “It’s a great place to coach at. Plus, we’ve got outstanding support from the administration, faculty, students, and certainly great support from the community, very unique support from the surrounding areas of Wooster. Very special and uncommon in small-college basketball.”