Saturday, Feb. 23 marked a monumental moment for not just Head Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Moore, but for the entire College of Wooster community — Moore coached his last regular-season home game in Timken Gymnasium. With a full house of students, community members and Moore’s past players there to watch, the Fight- ing Scots fought hard into overtime (OT) against the DePauw Tigers and lost by a mere point. Nevertheless, the loss did not alter the gratitude served up by fans for Moore and the team after the final buzzer.
Going into the game, the Scots knew that this game was historic for Moore, but Moore told the team to treat it like any other home game. “Coach stressed to us not to make that game or day about him,” Keonn Scott ’21 said. “He wanted to make everyone feel that it was their day and that he would be absolutely nothing if it weren’t for the players,” said Scott.
From the tip-off to the end of OT, the Tigers and the Scots were neck-and-neck for the entire game. A late three-pointer by DePauw’s Aaron Shank ’21 in the few final seconds of OT silenced the Scots for an 88-87 victory.
“We fought till the end, and sometimes, that’s just simply not enough,” Danyon Hempy ’20 said, who scored an astronomical 40. points in the game against DePauw. “DePauw played a very solid game; we just didn’t get it done on the defensive end in that game and it cost us.”
Blake Southerland ’20 agreed, adding that DePauw had more energy towards the end of the game. “We just needed to have the same intensity for the entire game, and we needed to get more stops. Regardless, it was a hard-fought game for both teams.”
Moore mentioned the Scots’ struggle with defending the Tigers’ three-point shots as an obstacle. “We played well enough offensively to win the game, especially in the second half,” Moore said. “Our players did a great job coming from behind and getting the game to over- time … However, we struggled all game long in defending the three- point shots of DePauw as they made 18 three-point field goals; including the game-winner with three seconds left.”
Upon the completion of the game, a ceremony dedicated to Moore’s illustrious coaching career began with President Sarah Bolton giving thanks to Moore and highlighting his many remarkable moments at the College. Then, eyes were directed to the video board as graduated Fighting Scots basket- ball players thanked Moore for his dedication to the Wooster basket- ball program.
Moore was overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of the ceremony.
“When I looked at the group of men standing before me, I thought, ‘how very blessed and fortunate I have been to have had the oppor- tunity to coach and develop special relationships with them.’ I thought of Lou Gehrig’s famous speech in Yankee Stadium when he said he was the luckiest man alive.”
Although difficult to say in only a few words, current players con- veyed their appreciation to their be- loved coach. “Coach Moore means everything to me,” Scott said. “If it wasn’t for him believing in my abilities, I wouldn’t be a part of this pro- gram. He just cares so much about each and every guy and is more concerned with us becoming better people rather than just better bas- ketball players.”
Hempy, who also played his last regular-season home game in Tim- ken Gymnasium, couldn’t put into words how Wooster basketball had an impact on him for the past four years. “I could say so many things to Coach. I would just thank him for taking a chance on me. My time at Wooster has been incredible and I would have never had the opportu- nity if it wasn’t for him and Coach Cline.”
As for Southerland, Wooster basketball and Moore have shaped him into who he is today. “I just hope Coach knows how grateful I am to have been a part of this team for the past four years, and what a great ex- perience it has been for me,” he said. “I would like to just encourage him on what a great job he has done inspiring us and teaching us what it means to compete and how to be a good man off the court.”
Trenton Tipton ’20 added, “There are many things I could say, but we still have a chance to play a lot of basketball, so I am focused on winning the game against Allegheny and live to fight another day.”
Moore is beyond grateful for the teams he has coached and the College of Wooster community.
“I want to say to everyone in the Wooster Basketball Family that the program will continue to be very special and successful in all ways with Coach Cline as the Head Coach. He is as responsible as anyone for Wooster Basketball being what it is.” He also added, “Simply, thank you. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to coach at a tremendous institution for 33 years and to be associated with so many special people.