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On August 23, 2010, Howard Moore was introduced as UIC's head men's basketball coach and vowed that the Flames would play with toughness and grit, two qualities that were developed in the west side Chicago native at a young age. Over the past four seasons, the foundation of Moore's vision for a championship program has been established with the same type of character that has come to symbolize his beloved City of Broad Shoulders.
Now entering his fifth season as head coach, Moore has proven his formula works. In 2012-13, the Flames won 18 games for the first time in six years and posted the nation's 12th largest turnaround from the previous season. UIC also secured its first-ever postseason win in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
After graduating nearly 60 percent of his team's offense from that historic 2012-13 season, Moore looked to challenge his young program with a grinding non-conference schedule for the 2013-14 campaign. Games against Illinois, SMU, Louisiana Tech, Northwestern and Colorado State presented the Flames with two options. Fold or fight? The Howard Moore-coached squad chose to fight.
In total, UIC's non-league opponents went 115-64 (.642) prior to their respective conference seasons, the second-hardest schedule among Horizon League teams based on opponent winning percentage.
Despite ending the season with a 6-25 record, UIC continued its blue-collar Chicago style of play that was evident to its loyal fan base. Nail-biters and heartbreakers were a common headline during the 2013-14 season as 11 of UIC's defeats came by seven points or less. In conference play, the Flames actually owned a lead or held a tie with under seven minutes to play in eight of their 15 setbacks.
On Feb. 25, 2014, everything harmonized in an epic 80-58 road victory at Milwaukee, the eventual Horizon League Tournament Champions. The 22-point blowout was UIC's largest conference road win since 1998, a Flames' squad that was given an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Moore's success during the 2012-13 season was rewarded by being named a finalist for the Ben Jobe Award, an accolade given the nation's top collegiate coach. Moore also earned a three-contract extension from UIC officials, which keeps him at UIC through the 2017-18 campaign.
UIC's turnaround season began with a red hot start in November and December. The Flames jumped out of the gate with a 9-1 record, and appeared in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 in four-consecutive weeks. Notable wins during an eight-game winning streak included victories over Colorado State and Iona, who both advanced to the NCAA Tournament, and a road win over Northwestern on Dec. 1.
The biggest step UIC took during Moore's third year was on the defensive end. The Flames led the Horizon League in defensive field goal percentage, stifling opponents to just a 40.6 percent shooting output. UIC was 13-1 on the season when holding its foes to between 30-39 percent shooting. The Flames also limited their opponents to just 62.8 points per game, the lowest mark in school history.
The first two seasons of the Howard Moore era produced impressive wins over in-state rival Illinois, Rhode Island, Evansville and 2012 NCAA Tournament participant Detroit. As a head coach, Moore boasts a 2-2 record against Big Ten Conference foes.
Moore's basketball coaching craft was honed under the tutelage of some of the game's greatest instructors. Stu Jackson. Steve Yoder. Stan Van Gundy. But perhaps what directly prepared Moore for his first head coaching job was the success that was enjoyed by Wisconsin, his alma mater, during a five-year stint on Bo Ryan's staff. With Moore on the bench, UW posted three of the top-five winningest seasons in school history, including an historic 2007-08 campaign that saw the Badgers win a school-record 31 games en route to the Big Ten Conference regular season and tournament championships.
Wisconsin made five-straight trips to the NCAA Tournament during Moore's tenure on staff, winning a total of eight games in the "Big Dance." The memorable 2007-08 run produced a "Sweet 16" berth. With the Badgers, Moore helped coach four All-Big Ten Conference players, and enhanced Wisconsin's recruiting presence in the highly talented Chicagoland region, successfully recruiting four players from the Windy City and its surrounding suburbs.
First Team All-Big Ten selection Frank Kaminsky was one of those four players from the Chicago area that Moore recruited to Wisconsin. The 7-footer piloted the 2013-14 Badgers to a 30-8 season and their first the Final Four run since 2000.
Before joining the staff in Madison, Moore spent one season as an assistant coach under Jim Whitesell at Loyola in 2004-05. In 2003-04, he served as an assistant under head coach Tim Buckley at Ball State, where he helped reel in what many recruiting experts dubbed as the highest-rated recruiting class in the Mid-American Conference.
From 2000-03, Moore served as an assistant coach at Bradley University where he worked as a lead off-campus recruiter and mentor to both the guards and post players. The 2001 recruiting class was one of the school's best, featuring Danny Granger, who eventually blossomed into a 2009 NBA All-Star as a member of the Indiana Pacers. He also helped mold Phillip Gilbert and James Gillingham into All-Missouri Valley Conference selections. Moore worked alongside current UIC Associate Head Coach Al Biancalana at Bradley under head coach Jim Molinari.
Moore, who grew up just blocks from the UIC campus, began his collegiate coaching career in his hometown by serving as an assistant coach at the University of Chicago during the 1998-99 campaign; prior to that, he was as an assistant coach for two years at his alma mater, Taft High School, on the northwest side of the city.
Before joining the Division I coaching ranks, Moore worked as a sales representative for a pair of Chicago-area corporations for three years. He opted for a career change that eventually brought him back to the near west side of the Windy City because he "hated the cold call days." Moore was actually still making sales calls during that 1998-99 season at the University of Chicago.
Moore played in 47 games for Wisconsin from 1990-95, including 21 appearances as a senior. During his playing career under Yoder, Jackson and Van Gundy, the Badgers earned back-to-back NIT berths in 1991 and 1992. In 1994, Moore teamed with Michael Finley, Rashard Griffith, Tracy Webster, Andy Kilbride and Brian Kelley to help Wisconsin end a 47-year drought and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1947.
In 1994, Moore represented the Big Ten Conference on a team of league all-stars who were selected to compete in Argentina.
A recipient of the University of Wisconsin African-American Alumni Association Student Leadership Award in 1993, Moore graduated from Wisconsin with a Bachelor's Degree in African-American Studies in 1995. Moore graduated from Taft High School in 1990, guiding his team to the Chicago Public League semifinals as a senior. He was named to the CPL Hall of Fame in 1999.
Moore and his wife, Jennifer, have two children: a son, Jerell, and a daughter, Jaidyn. In December 2010, he was presented the Ricky Byrdsong Award at the Union Club of Chicago. The award annually recognizes men who are good fathers, have reached out and made a difference in the lives of youth, and have demonstrated a spiritual dimension to their lives.