File photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Matt Moore, then an assistance coach at Grace College, speaks to the Lancer men’s basketball team in a huddle late in an NAIA Division II?national tournament second-round game against Morningside College March 14, 2008 at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo. On Saturday Moore, the older brother of current Grace coach Scott Moore, was announced as the new head boys basketball coach at Warsaw Community High School, pending school board approval.
File photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union Matt Moore, then an assistance coach at Grace College, speaks to the Lancer men’s basketball team in a huddle late in an NAIA Division II?national tournament second-round game against Morningside College March 14, 2008 at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo. On Saturday Moore, the older brother of current Grace coach Scott Moore, was announced as the new head boys basketball coach at Warsaw Community High School, pending school board approval.
After an extensive search, Athletic Director Matt Binkerd hired just the third boys basketball head coach at Warsaw Community High School.

The choice??Forty-year-old Grace College alum Matt Moore.

The announcement came Saturday and is subject to school board approval, which is expected to come at its next scheduled meeting a week from today, April 27.

“He’s the perfect fit for this position,” said Binkerd. “Matt was at the college level, but his dream job was to be a high school basketball coach. That really hit home with me, he’s been at the college level, but high school is where he wants to be at.”

Moore played high school basketball at Columbia City before going to Winona Lake to play college ball at Grace College under legendary head coach Jim Kessler. Upon graduating in 2002, Moore began his coach career under Kessler as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

His ties to Grace continue today; he has twin brothers, Marcus and Scott, who are head women’s tennis coach and head men’s basketball coach, respectively. Scott took the reins when Kessler retired, and just completed his first season as head coach of the Lancers.

Moore also understands there are big shoes to fill following Al Rhodes, the hall-of-famer, and Doug Ogle, the only two coaches the Tigers have known since 1980.

“With only two coaches there in 40 years, and I’m 40 years old, but it’s kind of surreal to mash that together,” Moore said. “I grew up 21.3 miles from the Tiger Den. My memories of what Tiger basketball is, and the Tiger community, the Warsaw community, was a big reason why I chose Grace College and is a place that has become my home in a lot of ways.

“My entire family is there, my wife has family there. There is just a draw to the community that is a big pull for us.”

Moore comes to Warsaw from Fishers, where he compiled a 47-27 record in three seasons. Moore set school records for wins in a season in back-to-back years, had a 12-game winning streak last season and played a top-five schedule in the state. Despite a 12-12 mark in his first year, Moore set a record for most wins by a head coach in his first two seasons in school history.

Before that, he was the head coach at Kokomo, guiding the WildKats to a 42-30 record in three seasons after a rocky 10-13 first season.

He also had head coaching experience in the always-tough Crossroads League, leading Mount Vernon Nazarene from 2009-14.

Moore broke back into the high school ranks as an assistant to Rhodes at Logansport for three years before heading to Kokomo.

He said his playing style will contain elements of the things he likes with an eye toward working with the players who put in the effort to represent the Tigers well.

“Having been a college coach for nine years, and a high school coach for nine years and in two different high school settings, I have understanding of who I am, and what I like offensively and defensively, and that’ll be part of the fabric.

“But also you have to play to your talent. You have to understand you have to let your guys play fearless, and if you can do that, it puts them in a power position to take things to the next level.

“We’re going to be as good as our players who are willing to put in time, and that’s something we’ve dedicated ourselves to. We’re going to stay on the high end of what trends are moving well in basketball. We want to be a team that shares the ball, shoot the three and play fast, but most of all we want to win. And whatever we need to do to win is going to take precedent with a particular group.

The homecoming wasn’t necessarily in Moore’s short-term plans, with four daughters and his wife, Anne (also a grace alum), expecting their first son in about two weeks. He did say they had planned to sell their current home in Fishers anyway, but the plan on where to buy was altered with the opportunity to put down roots with extended family nearby.

“I wasn’t unhappy (in Fishers); we were doing great things and had a great team coming back,” Moore said. But to come back (to Warsaw) is a great opportunity from a basketball and education standpoint. But we also have family, and that’s where we want to be.”

“I heard this a long time ago; ‘I don’t want to coach 20 years, I want to coach for a year 20 different times.’ Each year will be a one-year process where we’re really helping the kids and love on them hard, have success and go through the journey with them.

“If I started out with the goal of a 20-year career, that time would go fast and I might miss out on some things. I’d rather go one year at a time for 20 different years, and really experience that process.”

Moore said there’s some differences between playing basketball in central Indian as opposed to the northern sections of the Hoosier state.

“It’s important to understand where you are at. In central Indiana, it’s a different beast in a lot of ways. I had to navigate moving down. In similar to moving back up there, there is a familiarity which is nice. But at the same time, utilizing people that have connections is going to be important.”

“At the end of the day, I’m going to continue to try to do what I’ve always done. I think if you step back and look at how that can be, it can bother some people. I kind of lean into that a little bit. It’s kind of my personality. I played for coach Kessler and he was an awesome mentor for me. He always said I was kind of a bulldog. I think that’s how my coaching philosophy is. I’m going to be prepared and step into it and compete and not shy away from expectations.”

Moore said he was going to reach out as soon as possible to returning players and others, given the parameters available during the pandemic. He added they’ve made an offer on a house in the area, and hope to  be settled in long before the next school year begins.