Porter Moser got his passion for coaching after playing for the great Tony Barone.
Barone, a former head coach at Texas A&M that also led the Memphis Grizzlies briefly in 2006-07, coached Creighton for six years from 1985-91. Moser, a 6-foot-2 guard, helped the Bluejays win the 1989 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as a junior.
"He was my first mentor," Moser said Sunday, after his team beat Illinois State to win the MVC Tournament. "I played for him for four years, and he got me into the coaching profession, and I worked six years with him. I saw how he brought it every day at practice, every day, and that's how I was as a player. I've taken really good things from different people along the way. I've been lucky. I've had really good mentors."
Lucas Williamson, Cameron Krutwig, Clayton Custer, Marques Townes, Donte Ingram and Ben Richardson had a good one this season, too. All six crowded the dais at postgame press conference Sunday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. About an hour after they beat Illinois State 65-49 to win the Valley Tournament, seniors Ingram and Richardson talked about what they learned from Moser.
"I can't really pick out one thing that I've taken from him," said Ingram, the tournament Most Outstanding Player. "His leadership every day, he brings it. His energy. The same way everyone sees him like that on the court, he's like that in practice every single day. Like I said, I've taken a lot from him, and I can't pick out one thing."
Richardson, the Valley's defensive player of the year, admired Moser's daily standards.
"He brings it every day, and that's why we've gotten so much better because we have an off-day in practice, he doesn't let it slide," he said. "It's not about who's right. He always says that. It's about getting it right."
Moser became the second coach in Valley history to win the MVC Tournament as a player and a coach Sunday, joining former SIU leader Chris Lowery. Lowery helped the Salukis win the 1993 and 1994 tournaments as a guard, and led SIU to the 2006 MVC Tournament championship as a coach.
Moser, surprisingly, said it was better as a player.
"Five or six of my Creighton teammates drove from all areas to be out here," Moser said. "You're connected. It connects you the rest of your life. So I'm happy for these guys. For me, I mean, I'm so excited for where we're going, where the program's going, but if you really ask me why I'm excited, it's because the group in the locker room and just the moments we're sharing right now."
Moser's Creighton squad that reached the NCAA Tournament in 1989 lost its first game to Missouri. Loyola will find out its fate on Selection Sunday.