Photo by Gary Nieter/Times-Union
From left, Grace College head basketball coach Scott Moore, Warsaw Community High School head basketball coach Matt Moore and Grace College head women’s tennis coach Marcus Moore form a dynamic trio of coaches in Warsaw/Winona Lake.
Photo by Gary Nieter/Times-Union From left, Grace College head basketball coach Scott Moore, Warsaw Community High School head basketball coach Matt Moore and Grace College head women’s tennis coach Marcus Moore form a dynamic trio of coaches in Warsaw/Winona Lake.
Three gentlemen, brothers all, two of them twins, entered the Warsaw Tigers boys’ basketball locker room for the beginning of a free flow discussion on family, basketball, coaching and other matters. However, the first 4 ½ minutes were spent at the white board with magnetic pieces reviewing an offensive set fresh on their minds.

Grace College men’s head coach Scott Moore, his twin brother Marcus Moore (Grace women’s tennis coach, and second leading scorer in Grace’s history), and Warsaw boys’ basketball coach and older brother Matt Moore were the three gentlemen.

In true gentlemanly form, they quickly apologized for the delayed beginning and resumed their energetic discussion of a very impressive offensive play with at least three options I could discern as an on-looking layman. I thought it was apropos for the next hour laying ahead for each of us.

Further to that, Marcus Moore, the storied “scorer” among the three Columbia City High School and Grace College basketball alumni isn’t coaching basketball anymore, but he was certainly an integral part of the evening’s opening discussion of the new offensive wrinkle.

Marcus said, “(Coaching) was the time of my life, but I kind of grew away from the coaching aspect and found out once I started having a family, I enjoyed kind of like the outside perspective of stuff. I missed the grind, but I can taste that through these guys. It is nice just to go to two games, and then come home and not figure out how to guard somebody, or just stay up all hours. I can just text then and tell them what they did wrong all the time, and my feedback has no repercussions.”

At age 40, Matt is 5 ½ years older than the twins. Although there is a distinct age difference their endeavors in playing and coaching college basketball brought them together in multiple locations, sometimes two of the three or all three.

First reunion stop -- Grace College. Matt returned to his alma mater (Class of 2002), in 2006 as an assistant to coaching legend Jim Kessler. He was a point-guard who recorded over 600 assists in his collegiate career. Now his leadership on the floor would be enhanced further under the influence of the guru, Kessler.

Matt’s leadership skills were tested quickly because he was coaching his brothers in the final two seasons of their college athletic careers.

He commented on the challenge, saying, “You have to coach the game, not coach circumstance, right? So, there are other guys that are on the team that are like ‘well he's getting shots because he's your brother’ But no, he used to play because he knows his stuff, and so that dynamic early on was what I had to handle to prove myself as a coach when I'm coaching with them.”

The twins, Scott, and Marcus, would have their beefs on the floor that quickly rebounded to their ordinarily strong bond, but they felt it was good for them to be seen at odds with assistant coach, and brother, Matt. Fortunately, a Zen master like Coach Kessler knew how to let it last long enough to be constructive

Scott and Marcus nonetheless had different styles of play complementing each other on the prep hardcourt as well as the college floor. Marcus, already known as a scorer in high school, continued that path successfully at Grace. Scott was a point guard with good looks feeding him often.

Scott remarked, “I know I like making adjustments on the floor offensively, and now when you're young you're competing but when you're on the same team you were never competing (as rival siblings) once you're on the same team. But then we were lucky enough to have a really good high school team, and a great coach (Columbia City 18-year chief Chris Benedict), and I just knew that our best chance of hitting shots was to get him the ball. I mean, you have him averaging 20 points per game.”

The competition Scott alluded to was a natural part of growing up as active, athletic twins. He and Marcus competed more among themselves because Matt was older and doing things with other guys in his age group. While the boys complemented each other on the court they constantly competed in other aspects of life… at almost everything!

Marcus said, “The ultimate thing of being twins, you're always trying to be better than him and he's always trying to be better than you. If you can't do better than him, you only have each other to defeat. I think it's good because it teaches you, like, even to this day looking back, no matter what we did: better grades, taking a test, and even if you just beat everybody else, but if you don't beat him (Scott) it really doesn't count! As an adolescent in a child before the maturation process hits you, the thought comes to mind that ‘I just I hope (Scott) doesn't win it’ when competing along with others.”

Marcus and Scott graduated Grace College in 2008 and moved on to Australia to play professional basketball after competing for Athletes in Action in Beijing, China. Brother Matt moved on to a head college coaching position at Mount Vernon Nazarene in bucolic Central Ohio.

Another Moore Brothers’ reunion followed when Scott finished playing in the Land Down Under and joined his elder sibling as an assistant at Mount Vernon Nazarene.

Matt was almost 24 when he took the reins, and he moved out of what could have been a long-term comfortable learning experience to strike out on his own.

He said, about moving to MVN, “It's not the easiest thing, but I thought that was the best thing for me at the time to learn if I wanted to do this. I was a 23-years old head assistant at a small college at a really good school. But I wanted to figure it out right away. But the time had come, and again one of those, I think, divine moments where I’m trying to wrestle with ‘OK this is the path I want to take. I want to coach.”

Scott added, regarding Matt’s destiny, “I think for all three of us, it's safe to say, always knew Matt was gonna do this for a long, long time at whatever level he wanted. I think he loves it way more than we love.”

This is high praise, because Scott is in his second year as a head coach at Grace. He took a team projected to win 13-14 wins in his inaugural head-coaching season and finished the year with a 19-12 won-loss record.

Scott, who moved on from MVN to an assistant coaching position at Grace, continued, “I like coaching people, particularly I like the 18- to 21-year-old athletes. I like that time frame in their lives because that was a big-time frame for me.”

Matt’s path in terms of time served in various capacities was what would be out of most people’s comfort zones.

The 40-year-old with 17 years of coaching under his belt said, “I've had probably more people say, ‘what are you doing?’ in the moves that I made. I had a chance after senior year in college to be on the staff at Columbia City. It would have been an easy move, but I go with Coach (Al) Rhodes (at Logansport), right? I've got a chance to stay there probably take the Logansport job, instead I go back to Grace so that I can coach (Marcus and Scott), and be around them. The instead of staying there for the long haul, I go to Mount Vernon, and take that job I'm there for a while.”

Matt kept moving, and his next three recent coaching positions, including here in Warsaw, were served at the high school level.

He continued, “All of a sudden Kokomo shows up, and I'm going to be high school coach. ‘What are you doing?’ Then we build it up we have a ton of success there, then we are rolling to Fishers doing something they had never done. Who really wants to leave there, right? Now I’m here in Warsaw. That's just kind of been my path. I'm a builder in a lot of ways, so for me the challenge has always been to resurrect, to build.”

One of his first building memories wasn’t a basketball team, it was a classic derelict automobile he saw each day growing up.

Matt continued, “I remember where our grandparents lived out in the country, a curvy road, and there was a barn with an old 57 Chevy in front of it for a while. As a kid I drove out all the time, and I would look at it, and I would dream of one day when I turned 16, I would get that car, and I would fix it up I. love seeing things resurrected rebuilt. That's why my moves have for me have made sense. But maybe that’s not something for other people.”

The Moore brothers all cited high school coach Chris Benedict for their competitiveness; the drive to do whatever it takes to win and succeed. Teenagers are driven to play better and to win greater each year. However, they credit Grace legend Jim Kessler to their ability to build people. The skills are usually in place to get you in the door in an NAIA basketball program. Kessler, they unanimously agreed, developed them as young men while they played basketball, learning valuable lifelong skills while continuing to win on the court.

The Moore brothers are happy to have their families close to home, and their children close as well to grow up together. While Australia, and Fishers are interesting ports of call, Warsaw is now home to each of them, with plenty of Moores to love in the same town.