Moore to bring New Vision, New Attitude to Quinnipiac
by Seth Rothman
March 29, 2007
HAMDEN — In between the congratulatory handshakes, Tom Moore, Quinnipiac’s new basketball coach, had a message for his new team at the press conference Thursday to officially announce what WQAQ Sports reported on Monday night.
“We’re going to build it more from the defense to the offense,” Moore said. “We like to play fairly fast offensively, but the toughest teams to play are the opportunists that can consistently break, that can grind you and make you play a lot out of the half-court, and make you take a shot late in the shot clock.”
It is the opposite philosophy than Joe DeSantis had, who was fired from the position 22 days ago.
For the last 13 years, Moore, Quinnipiac’s 6th coach in the 55 year history of the Men’s Basketball program, has been Jim Calhoun’s top assistant at Connecticut. Despite the fact that he has been in Storrs for over half of his professional career, Moore is excited to begin his first Division I head coaching job.
“This is a huge career decision. When you have a wife and three children, it just multiplies, too. The pressure that you can put on yourself to make that decision is enormous,” Moore said. “The last week or so has been that way; just dealing with a range of emotions. It’s been hard, it’s been really hard the last week balancing the excitement and the nerves.”
Moore, who planned to meet with the team later in the afternoon on Thursday, said his team will be better disciplined than DeSantis’ team. DeSantis had issues this past season with an academically ineligible student, and the alleged sexual assault involving freshmen players James Feldeine and Trevon Charles.
“What I’m hoping to do when I see the guys this afternoon is to sort of tell them a little bit about what I’m about, what I stand for,” Moore said. “Not throw a lot of rules at them right now. The first thing I’m going to talk to them about is their academic performance. A major part of being a student athlete is the student part.”
Moore, 42 in May, is known as a brilliant recruiter. He’s not, however, looking for the player that can jump the highest and run the fastest. He will look for a different type of student-athlete.
“It’s going to be someone who I feel will buy into the academic part as well. It’s going to be someone who is selfless enough, and somebody who’s going to be committed to what’s happening here,” Moore said. “It’s going to be about basketball savvy.”
For Quinnipiac Director of Athletics and Recreation Jack McDonald, this afternoon’s announcement was the perfect ending to a hectic month.
“We certainly landed a local guy, but I’ll tell you, it was incredible the national names and the national attention that this search brought from all over the country,” McDonald said. “There were major Division I head coaches and assistant coaches who had great, great interest in Quinnipiac.”
Quinnipiac President John Lahey was equally pleased with the outcome of the coaching search when he opened the press conference with opening remarks.
“The step we’re making today absolutely is an enormous leap forward for Quinnipiac University, our athletic program, and more specifically, our men’s basketball team,” Lahey said. “I couldn’t be happier with the person we attracted to direct and lead our men’s basketball program.”
Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun was also in attendance, sitting in a reserved seat in the second row to the right of the stage set up at the baseline at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. Calhoun has been tutoring Moore and getting him ready for this day for 13 years. According to McDonald, however, it was Calhoun’s recommendation that set Moore apart from the rest of the field.
“He [Moore] was almost the first name that popped up, and it stayed throughout the process,” McDonald said. “In general, it was just a good feeling.”
“Coach Calhoun is like the atom bomb. You can only drop it once. He waited for the perfect time to drop it,” Moore said. “They pursued me pretty quickly, and he was doing that at the same time, so it kind of happened on its own. His weight in the college basketball world is just so big.”
“I think it’s a great move for him and Quinnipiac,” Calhoun said. “Quinnipiac is growing like crazy; I have no doubt it is now a better place because of Tom Moore.”
Moore hasn’t watched video on his new team. He said he wants to let his eyes give him his first view on them. However, when his Huskies played the Bobcats this season, he was very impressed with their offensive skill.
“We always feel like they attacked us offensively. I think Coach DeSantis is a great offensive coach, they always had a great mindset when they played us,” Moore said. “Most smaller schools would come in and play UConn and be intimidated. I always thought Coach DeSantis did a great job getting his kids excited to play us and try to take us down.”
“I thought even in the middle of the year this year, without being able to see many games, just as a college basketball fan, that stretch they had this year when they won 10 of 12, the only losses were Central Connecticut, is a really impressive stretch,” Moore said.
Moore has very high goals for his team. When asked if he thought the Bobcats, losing 5 seniors this year, might be in a rebuilding phase he insisted his team was going to be successful.
“I’m looking at next year. Our goal every year here to get to the NCAA Tournament,” Moore said. “So, I don’t think we should short-sell ourselves next year. Whatever challenge comes our way, we’ll do our best to try and solve it.”