Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Robert McKinney
PORTALES – Wayne Moore, after 22 years as head coach of the Eastern New Mexico University women's basketball team and 37 years in the coaching profession, announced his retirement today, effective at the end of the current academic year. Moore earned a 315-261 (.547) record at ENMU, including 16 seasons with a .500 or better record. ENMU will seek to fill the coaching vacancy in the near future.
"It will be very difficult to replace Coach Moore," ENMU President Steve Gamble said. "Wayne Moore is the type of coach you'd want your daughter to play for. He's had an exceptional career and he will be greatly missed."
Moore began coaching at Eastern New Mexico in 1980-81. His teams won at least 15 games 13 times, including the university's best record ever, 23-5, in 1992-93. The 1992-93 team also won the Lone Star Conference regular season title with a 12-2 record.
He recorded his 300th career victory at ENMU on Feb. 5, 2000, when the Zias defeated LSC rival Abilene Christian University, 74-68. Moore was chosen LSC Coach-of-the-Year in 1989-90, 1990-91 and 1992-93.
Moore's teams were known for their tenacity on defense. They were also known for their success both on and off the court. The Zias were always very strong academically. Seven members of this year's team qualified for the ENMU Athletic Honor Roll with 3.0 grade point average or higher during the Fall 2001 semester.
"I've coached 37 years in the public schools and college, and I feel that while I still have my health, I'm going to do some things that I've always wanted to do," Moore said in announcing his retirement. "I love teaching and coaching and working with young people. I'm just tired of traveling . . . it gets to be too much, as much as we have to do it in the Lone Star Conference."
Moore has been associated with Eastern New Mexico University and the surrounding area his entire life. He grew up in nearby Elida, N.M., and attended ENMU as a basketball player from 1956-58, and as a baseball pitcher from 1963-65. He graduated from Eastern in 1965, with a bachelor of science degree in Physical Education. He earned a master's degree from ENMU in 1972.
"It's home," Moore said. "The opportunities were here . . . and I just took what came. The grass has never looked greener on the other side for me."
His first coaching position was at Melrose High School (N.M.), where he was assistant basketball, football and track and field coach. He became head boys' basketball coach the following season. He remained at the high school level for 14 years, coaching the boys' team at Melrose and later at Clayton H.S. His record as a high school coach was 222-124 (.642).
The combined 36-year record for Moore as a high school and collegiate head coach is 537-385 (.582). Although he has coached his way to more than 500 wins, it is his integrity, personality and loyalty that have earned Moore his greatest respect.
"He projects everything you want in a coach: honesty, integrity, loyalty . . . he's a totally class act," ENMU Interim Athletic Director Mike Maguire said. "Wayne Moore is one of the most respected coaches in the area, and he has brought the women's basketball program to prominence here at ENMU."
"Loyalty is one of my major values," Moore said. "We want to run a clean program and we're not abusive to our players. We expect the same appreciation for what we're doing back from them. I don't expect profanity out there on the floor . . . that's such a small discipline. And it's been important for us to graduate players and watch them mature."
Although Moore has placed ethical values and respect high on his list of priorities, he doesn't think all coaches have shared his concerns.
"I think a lot of athletics at the college level and in public schools have lost a lot of emphasis on values," he said. "And that's the best place to teach them values."
Moore has developed lasting relationships with coaches and players throughout the region over the years. His commitment to running a quality program with student-athletes who are both successful in the classroom and on the court has made him popular with other coaches as well as members of the Portales community.
"I think it's evident, and its important to me, that we're well respected in the Lone Star Conference as a program. We've made a lot of good friends in the conference," Moore said.
With a career spanning several decades, Moore has experienced many successful seasons as a basketball coach. His ENMU teams have brought excitement and fun to Greyhound Arena.
"The highlight of my career was . . . winning the conference (in 1992-93)," he said. "It was a big thing for us. I think we competed very well."
"There's no replacing Wayne Moore," Maguire noted. "He has been a great friend to the athletic department, to the community and to the LSC. He really cared about the student-athletes, and he developed well-rounded people who have contributed in positive ways to their communities. As a coach, he's always been there with great advice and loyal support, and we will miss that."
Eastern's athletic department employees and members of the ENMU Bench Club booster organization will still see Moore from time to time, since he'll be visible at home games in a variety of sports. His friends might even run into him at other sporting events throughout the country.
"I'll become a fan," Moore said. "I have friends in Major League Baseball that can get me tickets, and I have a friend in the NBA. I like to play golf. I like to hunt and fish. I won't have any trouble finding something to do."