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Home / Sports / Final Four 2018: The stories that Loyola-Chicago coach Porter Moser humiliates, he does not want to tell

Final Four 2018: The stories that Loyola-Chicago coach Porter Moser humiliates, he does not want to tell

SAN ANTONIO – The eight of them gathered in the spacious suite of the Porter Moser in the Westin on Wednesday evening. This motley team of coaches included middle-aged men you might never have heard of: John Gallagher from Hartford, Mike Martin from Brown, Chris Harriman from New Mexico, Dave Pauley from the University of Sciences from Philly.

A clan of coaching eccentrics from across the country, none of whom have found mainstream success, college basketball and the month of March sometimes for the happier, but not always more deserving. Until two weeks ago, Moser was like her.

In most cases he is still.

"He's in the Final Four, his pictures are here on the wall … and a year ago he tried to win in the (Missouri Valley Conference)," said Gallagher. "Did that happen?"

Yearbook Memories

The friends exchanged ancient stories as they drank beer and chewed on wings and squid. At some point the time had come for a toast. With glasses Loyola Chicago team in the middle of an all-time timer of an NCAA tournament run glasses should be raised. Moser ̵

1; Man of the Hour, King of the Week and Coach of the Month – spoke up.

"To David Patrick for getting his first coaching job," he said.

Steve Shields, an assistant at Southern Miss that Moser has known for almost 30 years, was not surprised by Moser's words for Patrick, who had just made his appearance at UC Riverside earlier this month. Nobody else in the room was too. As always, Moser refused to do it to himself.

"Distracting from his luminous moment," Shields said.

Up to this point, Loyola-Chicago is an amazing story, but not a unique story. Moser's way to the Final Four is, however. We saw seeded Cinderella teams 11. make it so deep into the NCAAs before (see: George Mason and VCU). Moser, however, has done the unprecedented. Never before had a coach left until he had played his first NCAA tournament (14 seasons), making the Final Four on his first trip to Big Dance.

"When the nation hit him, we saw him at the age of 18," said Todd Eisner, Winona State Coach and Moser's college friend. "Outgoing, enthusiastic, passionate, he always played with an edge, but always felt like he belonged, this weekend is the fruit of all those days, months, years of work."

Reasons to Believe

Talk to those who know Moser best, and they'll swear he deserves that glory. Talk to those who barely know him, and they could say the same. People like John Giannini ( La Salle), Wes Flanigan (Little Rock) and Scott Cross (UT Arlington): All three were fired this month, two of them within the last week. Moser took the time to get her numbers from other people, call her and talk to them for 15, 20, even 30 minutes (and there could be more), just to send encouragement and assure them things can change for the better.

"This is Porter Moser, it's always about someone else," said Gallagher.

Moser knows it. He was there.

In 2007, he was forced into Illinois state after four odd years. He went there 51-67 and never finished better than the sixth in the Missouri Valley. It was a 180's from Moser's time in Little Rock, when he was hired in 2000 at the age of 29 – making him the youngest head coach in Division I – and three successful seasons (without NCAA tournament) brought in the ISU job , The ISU embarrassment hurt him so much that a sports director of the MAAC even interviewed him.

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<p></span><figcaption class= Moser worked for years at the NCAA tournament and certainly not at the final four.

"That's about as little as I've ever seen," Eisner said.

Eisner and Moser arrived together in Creighton in 1986, when Moser – a walk-on – had the same spiky hairstyle at 18, but still 49 years old. After the Ramblers' victory over K-State in the Elite Eight, Eisner and Moser chose past and present from the 16th floor of Moser's hotel room at the Hyatt in downtown Atlanta.

Sister Jean's Press Conference

"The best thing that happened in your career was that I was fired in Illinois State," Eisner told Moser.

"You are one hundred percent correct," said Moser.

The Illinois State Debacle became the low point of his career, changing his life. Moser never lost his trademark enthusiasm or passion, though his future coaching seemed grim.

"Adversity does not have to define you," said Moser. "Some of the worst things that have happened in my life, from a young age, some of the best things have happened."

What followed was an unexpected opportunity to work for Rick Majerus at Saint Louis in 2007. During those four seasons and beyond, Moser went through what he calls a "competitive reinvention process." As a result, he became another coach on the floor and an even more closely linked in the industry. He refused to let failures affect his professional course. To work for Majerus, who could be contentious and brutal with his players, made Moser only friendlier.

"It's not common for a person to be as good at this job as Porter," said Harriman. "A job full of people who can be criss-crossed – you know how it is with guys and recruits – I think you'll have a hard time finding someone who does not like Porter and does not respect him on any level."

Ask those who talk to him only occasionally, and they'll swear that this had to happen to Moser. The universe would bow to him, and now it has – fast and earned. Harriman is a prime example of this. Majerus made two five-day intervals for Harriman when the then-young assistant tried to get his first position in Division I. He did not think he had a chance to join a legend. But Moser, who was promoted to head coach after a season as an assistant, had Majerus' trust just as much as anyone who worked for the infamous coach.

"Porter is full of energy, a guy who has done it for a long time and was willing to fight for me to work with," said Harriman, co-head coach in Nebraska and now New Mexico. "Coach Majerus told me later that Porter is the worst person to hire me."

Last summer, when Harriman was unsure after a coaching change in New Mexico, Moser called him daily.

"And now he plays in the Missouri Valley conference championship, they win, I call him 90 minutes later and he picks up the phone," Hey, Harri, "http://www.cbssports.com/" Harriman said. " What? He is unaware of this madness when it comes to people who are close to him. He will do anything in the world for you. I owe everything I have in this profession, Porter. "

There are more similar anecdotes like these from Gallagher:" Porter saved our season. "

Gallagher trains in Hartford, a program nearly 900 miles from Loyola, Chicago and one who has never competed in the NCAA tournament has never been to Moser, never worked with him, the two got to know each other better when they shared a rental car in Greece a few years ago.

Then there is this.

"We're 3-6, I get a call," Gallagher said. "We're dead in the water. It is Porter. He spends two hours with me on the phone. We've lost three out of four games in the last 30 seconds, and he only paints a picture like an artist, and I'm serious. "You have this thing right where you want it, man. You are in a perfect place. He has his team, he tries to train his team. And I can remember that we defeated Rutgers at Rutgers. He wrote to me at 9:01 right after the game and said, "That's what I'm talking about." I said, "Three weeks ago, you gave me the best 90-minute speech someone gave me." He replied, "We have to be there for each other." Http://www.cbssports.com/ "

Hartford went on to win 16 more games and scored his highest win in any season since the early 1970s. Gallagher got a contract extension.

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<p></span><figcaption class= Moser and guard Ben Richardson hug each other during an NCAA tournament game.

While Gallagher, Martin, Eisner, and a mob of Moser's friends in Atlanta took the seats, they filled the plaza behind the Ramblers Bank. Nearly 100 people in the Porter Posse. Everything there to finally see Porter Moser's moment.

"I said to Mike Martin, the reason is that everyone here feels like he's playing Sweet 16," Gallagher said. "And now everyone feels like they're in the Final Four, because Porter makes you feel like this guy is the connector of all the coaches, because of Porter I've met so many coaches from everywhere."

Harriman introduced Gallagher to Gibson's Steakhouse in Chicago nearly five years ago.

"I feel like I've known him since I was ten years old," said Gallagher. "And if you meet the coach of Loyola-Chicago, no offense, you do not feel like he's going to the Final Four one day – we've done all those coaches that know him well – for the little guy "For the guy who does it right, who has integrity, who does not do any cuts, that does not do anything shady."

On Friday morning here in San Antonio, Eisner had barely woken his sleep away from his old friend was called. In the years since graduating in Creighton together, Eisner and Moser never share a bank together. They never trained together. The Final Four is always your time to catch up. This is the first time in 26 years that they did not participate together in the Final Four. Normally Friday afternoon was a prelude to the night of the night, to spend a night in a bar in the wall, which was the prelude to a few appearances. Of course Moser could not attend this year.

"He ruined it this year," Eisner joked.

But Moser still called with clear eyes and full of spirit.

"I've trained nearly 700 games, and I do not know if I've ever looked forward to a game," Eisner said.

Saturday night will give the NCAA tournament another chance to give the sports world one of the best stories ever. But there never was a story like Porter Moser. He took the long valley trail here, went through seven sub-.500 seasons and suffered three rebuilding jobs.

Now he has left the gullies and crawled through the desert of NCAA Tournament shutouts to finally make it after 14 years. Moser has found water, an oasis in the spring heat of South Texas. Behind him is a village of mostly unknown coaches and friends and family members looking for the biggest college basketball end ever written by a man who would soon reveal that fame to another.

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