Any head coach will tell you a key ingredient to success is having an elite coaching staff that checks a lot of boxes and brings a lot of versatility.
After a decade of success with Loyola basketball, Porter Moser is ready to show everybody what he can do leading Oklahoma.
As he enters that first season, he’s off to a roaring start. Between replenishing the roster through the transfer portal to hiring top-tier assistants, his first month was an unquestioned success.
“From having a former player of mine in Clayton Custer (director of video operations and player development), to having someone with me for 17 years like Matt Gordon (special assistant to the head coach and director of scouting), to having David (Patrick) and K.T. Turner (associate head coach) and Emanuel Dildy (assistant coach) on the road recruiting and to maintaining Mike Shepherd (director of operations) and Bryce Daub (director of strength and performance) who know the lay of the land, I just couldn’t be happier with the versatility and well-roundedness of this staff,” said Moser last week.
Moser finalized the staff last week, bringing a nice set of assistant coaches that do indeed check all of the boxes and do indeed bring a lot of versatility.
He didn’t mince his words at the introductory press conference about what Moser would be looking for when he started to go through the hiring process.
“But I will tell you two things — one, what I look for is the extension of the values that I have. I like high-energy guys. I don’t like to pigeonhold assistant coaches,” said Moser last month. “I want my assistant coaches to be in the mold of being a head coach someday, so I want them to be able to on-floor coach. I want them to able to be able to recruit. I want them to build relationships in the community. I want high-energy. I want them to be guys that are the same with me. I don’t want them to be on an island.
“I want those assistant coaches to be, what I’ve always been myself, life-long learners. I want my coaches to be life-long learners — finding new ways, finding things to enhance, finding new ideas that would attract the players who should be here. The only thing I can say is that we’re going to get that. We are getting that, just can’t say it yet.”
So who are these guys?
The first name to get confirmed was K.T. Turner, formerly of Texas. He only spent one season in Austin, but he has loads of experience in the state of Texas from his seven seasons at SMU and now will be an associate head coach for Moser.
“I’m really excited to be back in the state of Oklahoma and work for Coach Moser,” said Turner. “He did a fantastic job at Loyola, getting to the Final Four and Sweet 16s. He’s a very consistent coach. I’m just excited and think we can do a lot of great things here at OU. I look forward to getting aligned with Coach Moser’s culture and coaching style. We’re going to do some special things.”
You could argue that Turner has already paid off in one big way in the addition of transfer Ethan Chargois, also from SMU. Turner was around during Chargois’ recruitment and first years as a Mustang and definitely made those dots connect a lot faster.
Give Moser time, and there’s no question he’s going to be just fine in the state of Texas. But initially? Hey, doesn’t hurt to have someone to open the door. Turner is that guy, and you can already tell by how aggressive OU is getting in the Lone Star State for the 2022 and 2023 classes in recent weeks.
“I’m so excited to work with K.T.,” said Moser. “I’ve watched his ascent in coaching from afar and he’s one of the most respected up-and-coming coaches in our profession. He’s earned that respect through his incredible hard work, energy on the floor and relationships in so many key parts of the country. He has experience coaching in the Big 12 and recruiting throughout Oklahoma, Texas and surrounding regions.”
Not long after Turner was confirmed came the word that Emanuel Dildy would be leaving his assistant coach spot at Northwestern after three seasons to join Moser in Norman.
Dildy did a lot of work in recruiting some of the players that eventually made the magical run to the Final Four for Loyola in 2018, having been on staff with Moser from 2013-16.
“I am grateful and excited to be a part of the Sooner family and look forward to contributing to the established winning culture,” said Dildy. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to reunite with Coach Moser and look forward to assisting him in pushing OU basketball to even greater heights.”
It didn’t take long for Dildy to hit the recruiting trail hard and often. Whereas Turner and Moser might need some time to adjust to how they’re going to work together, no such period was necessary with Dildy.
He knows Moser, knows what is going to work and has hit the ground running. Dildy is going to give OU a strong presence not only in Chicago but throughout the Midwest.
The EYBL squad of Team Griffin has become a staple for OU recruiting in recent years, and look for MOKan Elite to be the same way with Dildy. The squad that was once upon a time dominated by Trae Young and Michael Porter Jr., could be a future frequent stop for the Sooners.
Dildy went from Loyola to Missouri to Valparaiso and then Northwestern, giving him the Power Five experience and building all those oh-so necessary recruiting ties in the region.
“Emanuel was a previous member of my coaching staff and played an integral part in recruiting key players on Loyola’s Final Four team,” said Moser. “He has an unbelievable energy level to him in all facets of the job. He knows me well and has tremendous familiarity with how I coach, recruit and scout. He’s built a national reputation as both a coach and as a recruiter.”
Turner and Dildy were announced rather quickly, but David Patrick became a pretty intense battle to secure his services.
Patrick, a former head coach at UC-Riverside, was already an associate head coach at Arkansas under Eric Musselman. It was going to take something special to get him away from Fayetteville.
Moser is that something special.
“I’m super excited to join Porter, who’s obviously great coach, but more importantly to me a great friend and a person I’ve looked up to over the years,” said Patrick last week. “Yes, Porter’s a competitor and can really coach, but he’s a better person.
“The week I was hired as head coach at Riverside was the week, he was getting his Loyola team ready to play in the Final Four, and during a very busy period he took time to celebrate my hire and made the moment about me. That’s rare and shows you the kind of person he is and the care he has for people.”
Patrick explained his Moser connection comes from their friendship with the late-great Hall of Famer Rick Majerus. Moser and Patrick have been friends for a long time, just never had that door open for a chance to coach together.
“I have so much respect for him as a coach,” Moser said. “He’s run his own program at Riverside. He’s got worldwide recruiting ties. And he has a tremendous knowledge of the game. But he’s also a first-class human being and a friend, and I’m thrilled to add him as the final piece to our staff.”
Patrick gives OU a recruiting presence out west, but also a huge presence overseas, especially Australia. Patrick is slated to be an assistant coach for the Australian team at the Olympics this summer. Previous stops include assistant gigs at LSU and TCU, as well.
There are still two open scholarships for the Sooners, but the worry is gone. Between what Moser has already accomplished in the portal combined with the staff now fully assembled, it’s just a matter of time of finding the right pieces and getting this ball officially rolling.