Oklahoma has one less basketball coaching vacancy to fill, according to reports.

Porter Moser, the architect behind Loyola Chicago’s modern-day renaissance, will be OU’s next men’s basketball coach, according to SoonerScoop.com and The Athletic's Shams Charania.

Moser, 52, is a Naperville, Illinois, native and has coached the Ramblers since 2011. He went 188-140 over his 10 seasons, leading Loyola to the program's first Final Four appearance in 56 years.

Moser's 2017-18 team that made the Final Four was the program's first to crack the NCAA Tournament since 1985. Moser guided the Ramblers to a second Missouri Valley Conference championship this past season and took them to the Sweet 16.

Moser replaces longtime coach Lon Kruger, who began his OU tenure the same season as Moser’s first in Chicago. Kruger retired last week after a 35-year coaching run, posting a 195-128 record at OU and finishing his illustrious career with 674 wins.

While Kruger was unable to deliver a Big 12 championship to Norman, he restored the program’s national relevance after the program experienced consecutive losing seasons and led his 2015-16 squad to the program's first Final Four trip since 2002.

Kruger got the program back on its feet and leaves the door open for Moser to carry it even further.

Moser, who played at Creighton from 1986-90, started his coaching career immediately after college. He held assistant coaching positions with Creighton, Texas A&M, Milwaukee and Arkansas-Little Rock until he landed the Trojans' head coaching job in 2000.

He left Arkansas-Little Rock with a 54-34 record in 2003 for the same position at Illinois State. Moser had only one winning season with the Redbirds and was fired after four seasons.

Following a four-year stint as an assistant coach at St. Louis, Loyola gave Moser a second chance at being a head coach.

The Ramblers tallied three losing records in Moser’s first three years but he led them to a 24-13 record in his fourth year and won the College Basketball Invitational, a single-elimination postseason tournament for teams that did not make the NCAA Tournament or NIT.

Loyola took off from there winning 15 games the next season, 18 the next, then 32, 20, 21 and 26 this past season.

Moser is set to become the 15th head coach of OU’s men’s basketball program, which has made two national-championship game appearances (1947 and ‘88), five Final Fours, 14 conference regular-season titles and seven conference tournament crowns.

While he inherits a program that’s made three consecutive NCAA Tournaments, winning two of three Round of 64 games, he will have to replenish OU’s roster.

The Sooners will lose seniors Austin Reaves and Kur Kuath, both of whom have stated they will pursue professional careers. The two could have returned for the 2021-22 season with the NCAA’s blanket COVID-19 eligibility waiver applying to all players from this past season.

Fellow senior Alondes Williams has yet to announce his intentions, while Brady Manek is exploring his options in the transfer portal.

OU will be without Anyang Garang, Victor Iwuakor and Trey Phipps after each announced they would enter the NCAA transfer portal as well this offseason. Phipps has already found a new home in Oral Roberts.

De’Vion Harmon will not be back either. The two-year Sooner guard is leaving school early to enter the NBA draft. If he doesn’t sign with an agent, Harmon can return to school if he withdraws his name by the early-entrant deadline.

Porter will have two incoming freshmen — CJ Noland and Bijan Cortes — and plenty of names in the transfer portal to recruit.

Perhaps OU will need some retooling, but it’s nothing Moser hasn’t done before.

Joe Buettner

405-366-3580

Follow me @JoeBuettner

jbuettner@normantranscript.com

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