Westmont College basketball coach John Moore, the sage of the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table’s Monday press luncheons, has received a retirement gift from that local booster organization.
The Round Table announced last week that it is naming its annual College Coach of the Year Award after the Warriors’ long-time mentor.
“He’d come every week, without fail, and would always conclude the luncheons with a thoughtful message that tied together all the coaches’ presentations,” Round Table board member Gary Cunningham said. “I think this is a fitting way to thank him for all that he’s contributed to this community.”
Round Table president Ken Newendorp said Cunningham and several other board members approached him during their recent retreat and proposed the naming convention as a way “to honor John and keep him involved with us.”
“He’s such a wonderful human being and the epitome of what you want in a coach,” Newendorp said. “Sure, he won a lot of basketball games, but he also did it with character and integrity, and by being such a tremendous teacher.”
Moore, who remains at Westmont as both an associate athletic director and associate professor of kinesiology, retired this spring as the Warriors’ basketball coach after 27 seasons. He set the school record for basketball coaching victories with 558 and, combined with his five seasons at Fresno Pacific, retired with a win-loss coaching record of 637-352.
He also played point guard for the Warriors, handing out 422 assists — fourth all-time at Westmont — in just two seasons (1976-78) after having transferred from Cypress College. His appreciation for the Round Table began when former Westmont coach Chet Kammerer started to bring him to its press luncheons.
“It was such a privilege to be there with Chet and the other athletes,” Moore said. “What the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table does is so different than in any other city. This is very uncommon and something that is very unique to the city of Santa Barbara.
“To be a part of it in this way is stunning and it is a great privilege, so I’m thankful for that.”
Moore was named NAIA National Coach of the Year last March after leading Westmont (26-5) to the Golden State Athletic Conference championship. The Warriors were seeded No. 2 in their bracket for the NAIA National Tournament — the highest placement in their history — but the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He won the Round Table College Coach of the Year Award in 2015 when he guided Westmont to the NAIA Tournament final for the first time in school history. He guided the Warriors to an NAIA National berth 14 times, including the last six seasons in a row — the longest streak in school history.
“This is such a fitting recognition for coach Moore,” Warrior athletic director Dave Odell said. “Since the day he arrived at Westmont, John has been a wonderful representative of Westmont in the Santa Barbara sports community.
“His Round Table luncheon talks are legendary and his appreciation and care for youth and high school sports are exemplary. I anticipate that many of the coaches that win this award will be among the many that John influenced during his time at Westmont.”
The Round Table’s Coach of the Year awards for both the collegiate and high school levels will be presented next May during its Evening with the Athletes.
The organization has postponed the start of its Monday press luncheons until January because of the coronavirus.
“Our goal is to come back from Christmas break and hopefully have the luncheons in person,” Newendorp said. “Obviously, it has to coincide with the resumption of the sports seasons and be in compliance with health department guidelines.
“We might have to hold the luncheons outside somewhere. We’ve always partnered with Harry’s Plaza Café, so we’d like to see if that can be worked out. If not, we’ll look at other options, like perhaps having it at the carousel building at Chase Palm Park.”
The Round Table’s Hall of Fame induction banquet, originally scheduled for next month, has been postponed until October of 2021. It does plan to award its Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award and Phil Womble Ethics in Sports Award beginning this month. They are presented to one athlete apiece from each of the area’s high schools and colleges.