The highs and lows of the Tom Moore era at Quinnipiac, a trip down memory lane

Photo courtesy Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Morey Hershgordon

After 10 years as head coach at Quinnipiac University, Tom Moore is gone.

Athletic Director Greg Amodio, hired on June 20, 2015, was brought to Hamden largely to focus on improving the men’s basketball program. Amodio saw two seasons and had enough. Moore’s 19-42 record during that time ultimately did him in.

Before Quinnipiac embarks on a national search for its next head coach, let’s take a look back at the highs and lows of the Moore era.

Highs:

1) March 10, 2010: The Northeast Conference Championship Game

In just his third season at the helm, after 15-15 and 15-16 seasons, Moore led the Bobcats to an unprecedented 23 wins and a regular season championship. At 15-3 in the NEC, Moore’s bunch clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals against Monmouth and LIU Brooklyn respectively, set the stage for Quinnipiac to host an NEC Championship game at home against rival Robert Morris on national television. Unfortunately for Moore and his staff, this was the closest they would ever get to reaching the coveted NCAA Tournament. The 52-50 loss left a sold-out Lender Court in shock. Quinnipiac never returned to a conference championship game again.

2) The 2013-2014 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference season

After an 11-7 NEC regular season record the year before, Moore’s experienced group was tabbed as the overwhelming favorite to win the NEC and punch its first ticket to the Big Dance. However, in December of 2012, Quinnipiac announced that it joined the MAAC. Against a significant step up in talent, Moore and Co. did not flinch. The skipper took a team full of NEC recruits to the top of the new conference in year one. A season series sweep of Manhattan, which would then win back-to-back championships, as well as a 14-6 MAAC record earned the program the No. 3 seed and a first round bye in the conference tournament. The team defeated No. 11 seed Niagara in the quarterfinals before losing to the Jaspers in the semifinals.

3) December 21, 2014: Quinnipiac defeats Pac- 12 opponent Oregon State, 60-52, in Hamden

Hands down the best win in the Tom Moore era. The game could also be tabbed as, “The Zaid Hearst Show.” The small forward netted 24 points, including a perfect 11-for-11 from the line, but that wasn’t nearly his greatest accomplishment on the night. Hearst, known as a great two-way player, guarded all-Pac- 12 standout Gary Payton II, son of NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton, for the entire game. Creating a night to forget, Payton II, who averaged 13.4 points that year, didn’t record a single point and fouled out after just 26 minutes of action. Later that season, Payton II won Pac- 12 Defensive Player of the Year as well as being named to the conference’s first team. The win is the only Power-5 victory in Moore’s tenure.

Lows:

1) February 27, 2014: Umar Shannon’s season-ending injury

Just before the inaugural year in the MAAC, graduate guard Umar Shannon transferred to Quinnipiac after spending four years at St. Francis (PA). The sharpshooter was the missing piece to Moore’s squad which already had point guard and front court positions intact. The redshirt senior averaged 14.3 points, 2.3 assists, and two rebounds per game. In late February, Quinnipiac had a chance to win the league’s regular season crown. At 14-4, with two favorable games to play, Shannon injured his knee in the team’s final home game against Siena. The Bobcats would go on to lose that game 72-70. Sidelined for the remainder of the season, the team got blown out at Marist 103-72. After a 19-8 start, they finished 1-4 in their last five games.

2) Giovanni McLean ruled ineligible for the 2014-2015 season

The once Oklahoma-bound guard committed to play for Quinnipiac prior to the 2015-2016 season. The addition of McLean, along with a core group of seniors Hearst, Ousmane Drame, Evan Conti, Justin Harris, was supposed to bolster a team fresh off a 20-win season. Before the season even began, McLean was investigated and later ruled ineligible after fraudulent transcripts at his former school, Westchester Community College, were found to be true. With him on the bench, the team did not meet its high expectations, finishing 15-15, and bowing out to No. 11 seed Marist in the opening round of the MAAC Tournament.

3) Losing seven straight games to end the 2016-2017 season

Riding the coattail’s of Mikey Dixon and Peter Kiss, two of the league’s brightest young stars, Quinnipiac, picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll, sat at an even 7-7 league record on Feb. 6. With an opportunity to earn a first-round bye, the Bobcats lost their last seven games of the season allowing opponents to score an average of 92.3 points per game during that stretch.

RELATED: What’s in store for the future of the Quinnipiac men’s basketball program?

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