Oklahoma hires Loyola Chicago's Moser as basketball coach

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Loyola Chicago head coach Porter Moser, right, consoles guard Marquise Kennedy after a Sweet 16 game against Oregon State in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Indianapolis. Oregon State won 65-58. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Porter Moser orchestrated one of the great underdog stories in sports in recent years, leading mid-major Loyola Chicago to two deep NCAA Tournament runs with the blessing of Sister Jean.

Moser's teams won't surprise anyone now.

Oklahoma hired Moser as its basketball coach Saturday following Lon Kruger’s retirement. Moser embraces the challenge of coaching at a Big 12 program that reached the Final Four in 2016 and has featured NBA talents Buddy Hield and Trae Young.

“I’ve always said there are reasons why you win,” Moser said in a statement. “If you look at the standards that the programs at Oklahoma have set, there are reasons why they’ve won. The coaches, infrastructure and community are all championship caliber. You just want to be a part of that. To play in a premier league like the Big 12 and be a part of this championship culture excites me.”

Kruger led the Sooners to a 195-128 record in 10 years and reached seven of the past eight NCAA Tournaments. In Kruger’s final season at Oklahoma, the Sooners went 16-11 and finished with a loss to top-seeded Gonzaga in the second round.

Moser praised Kruger and believes the foundation is set.

“He’s all about winning the right way,” Moser said of Kruger. “I look forward to continuing that blueprint and continuing the blueprint we had at Loyola: winning the right way. I’m thrilled to join a program that is so focused on culture, people and excellence. I’m looking forward to diving in and building relationships with our players, the other coaches and the OU community.”

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said Moser’s “attributes, acumen and record of success totally aligned with what we were seeking.”