Porter Moser has had plenty of suitors since taking Loyola Chicago to the 2018 Final Four, but it was Joe Castiglione and Oklahoma who coaxed the 52-year old head coach out of Chicago.
After days of seemingly little public movement concerning the OU job, Sooner fans began to dream when Moser was reported as the leading candidate for the vacant post last Thursday evening.
By Friday, the hype train had left the station and Joe Henricksen of the Chicago Sun Times had reported Moser would follow Lon Kruger at Oklahoma.
While celebrated as a potential home run hire, some were left puzzled as to why OU was the right fit for Moser. The Loyola man hadn’t parlayed his Final Four run into another job, turning down St. John’s among others to stay in Chicago.
Again, Henricksen was able to provide some insight.
The health and stability of the OU athletic department, spearheaded by the widely respected Castiglione, was a major factor. There is an established culture of winning championships under Castiglione, and of course the backing (and funding) required to make that expectation a reality.
"You look at top to bottom all the sports at OU, you look at the university, it's all class," Moser told Sooner Sports TV's Jessica Coody upon his landing in Norman on Tuesday. "They win the right way and that's what we're looking for.
"That's the path I want to follow, is a university like that."
And Moser won’t have to build basketball success from nothing at Oklahoma. The Sooners have made it to a pair of Final Fours since the turn of the century, once under Kelvin Sampson in 2002 and most recently when Kruger and Buddy Hield powered their way to Houston in 2016.
Now that Moser has touched down in Norman, he will have to reshape the roster. Of last year’s team, Victor Iwuakor, Brady Manek, Anyang Garang and Trey Phipps have all entered the transfer portal, and Austin Reaves, De’Vion Harmon and Kur Kuath have their sights set on the pros.
Addressing the roster is among the first things Moser said he wants to do.
"We've got a lot of spots to fill on the roster, so hit the ground running recruiting, building relationships with the current players getting to know me and what I'm about, and getting to know their families," he said. "I'm just looking forward to meeting all the OU people and that's what's been overwhelming, on a positive thing, is how many people reached out.
"My Twitter went nuts, so it's cool."
The facilities and recruiting budget in place at a school like OU checked another box for Moser, who will have to put them to quick use to start recruiting the transfer portal himself.
Blake Griffin’s donation of the Griffin Family Performance Center gifts the Sooner program with a state of the art training facility to help develop their athletes, as well as the practice courts on the Legacy Court addition to the Lloyd Noble Center.
With the many advantages at Oklahoma, it can also be said there is less pressure, Henricksen wrote.
Football will always be priority No. 1, and there won’t be major expectations heaped on Moser from the jump. He also won’t have boosters breathing down his neck. He will be able to step back and build his program the way he intends with the expectation of annual visits to the NCAA Tournament and the hope he will be able to recapture his Loyola magic and take the Sooners on some deep runs.
Moser will speak with local media for the first time on Wednesday morning at the Lloyd Noble Center in a press conference (closed to the public), where he will have the opportunity to further expound on his decision to accept the OU job and set the expectations for the program himself.
Until then, OU fans can continue to bask in the glow of reeling in one of the most highly sought after coaches on this year’s carousel.
"Those that don't know Porter Moser soon will," he said. "I'm going to be out there looking forward to meeting everybody, and they're going to get to know what I'm about."