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Ducks hire ambitious volleyball coach.

Byline: Ron Bellamy The Register-Guard

Jim Moore, a veteran head coach with a history of improving embattled college volleyball programs, has been hired to revive the struggling program at the University of Oregon, which hasn't had a winning season since 1990.

"I wanted to go to a place that I can win it all," Moore said Monday, refusing to be daunted by the fact that Oregon hasn't even posted a winning record over the past 14 years. "The University of Oregon, I absolutely believe, is one of those places."

Moore, 46, replaces Carl Ferreira, who resigned last month after five seasons in which Oregon was 43-104 overall and 4-86 in the Pac-10 Conference.

Ferreira's predecessor, Cathy Nelson, went 43-105 in her five seasons, including 9-81 in the Pac-10. The Ducks haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 1989, and they've finished last in the Pac-10 in four straight seasons, and in nine out of the past 12.

"In a few years, it's going to be great to see how our volleyball program has turned around," said associate athletics director Renee Mack Baumgartner, who conducted the UO coaching search.

Over 16 years and five jobs as a college head coach, Moore has an overall record of 355-154.

"I've been at different places, and I wanted that to stop," Moore said. "I wanted to come some place that I could stay."

The Long Beach State graduate coached Northern Michigan to the Division II national championship in 1993, and then spent four seasons at Kansas State, where he took a program that had never reached the postseason and compiled a record of 61-34, coaching the Wildcats to their first-ever national ranking and two NCAA Tournament appearances.

From Kansas State, Moore moved to Texas, where he took the Longhorns to the Big 12 Conference title in 1997. Two years later, Moore was an applicant for the then-vacant Oregon job, to succeed Nelson, but he withdrew his candidacy, on the verge of coming to Eugene for an interview, because his youngest son, Michael, then 1, was hospitalized with an allergy that caused severe breathing problems.

"I would have taken the (Oregon) job," Moore said. "It was really hard for me. After I got off the phone (to withdraw) I looked at the map and just fell apart, because I knew that's were I needed to be. There aren't many times in life you have a second opportunity to do something you really want."

A year later, Moore left Texas anyway, resigning after a difficult, injury-marred and somewhat tumultuous season in which the Longhorns went 10-18, then the program's only losing season in its 27-year history.

"It's obviously a great place to work, but it didn't ever feel right," Moore said, acknowledging: "We had a bad year the last year."

After Texas, Moore spent two seasons at Chico State, then he returned to Northern Michigan for the past two seasons, leading NMU from a 15-15 record the season before his return to a 26-1 mark in 2003 and back to the Division II Elite Eight last season.

Moore said his formula to turn around the Oregon program will be "recruit, recruit, recruit," and that he will look regionally, on the West Coast, in the Midwest and overseas for athletes.

He'll have two open scholarships to fill for the 2005 season. Oregon returns 13 of 15 letterwinners from the squad that went 1-17 last season in the Pac-10, which produced three of the Final Four teams, including national champion Stanford.

Moore said Oregon's style of play will be determined somewhat by his evaluation of the Ducks' returning personnel.

Moore will hire two full-time assistants. His volunteer assistant will be his wife and current assistant coach at NMU, Stacy Metro, who was coached by Moore both in high school and then, after she initially played at Colorado, at NMU, where she was twice national player of the year.

"It's a great story unto itself," Moore said, noting that he and Metro "never got along" as player and coach, but that their relationship changed after he hired her as his assistant coach at Kansas State. They were married in December 1995, after Moore's second season at Kansas State; they have two sons, Matthew, 7, and Michael, now 6.

Moore will receive an annual salary of $90,000, and athletics director Bill Moos said the athletics department will ask the UO chancellor's office to approve a four-year contract.

Ferreira was the second Oregon head coach to resign after the end of his fall sports season. Soccer coach Bill Steffen stepped down Nov. 10 after being unable to forge a winning season in nine years as coach of Oregon's revived program. Under Steffen, the Ducks went 49-107-14 overall, and 16-54-6 in the Pac-10.

Moos said Oregon hopes to announce a replacement for Steffen within two weeks. He said associate athletics director Dave Heeke traveled last week to interview eight candidates, and that three finalists would be invited to Oregon for further discussions next week.
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Title Annotation:Sports; Jim Moore, who has experience turning around struggling programs, says Oregon is a school that "can win it all"
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 11, 2005
Words:833
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