After leading the Loyola Ramblers to a historic Final Four run, head coach Porter Moser signed a contract extension to remain in Rogers Park through the 2025-26 season.
As a private institution, Moser’s contract financials don’t have to be disclosed, making it difficult to say exactly how well the Ramblers might be protected from another school pursuing Moser at some point. So the extension isn’t necessarily a guarantee that he sees this contract through to its conclusion.
However, there are a few key factors that should help keep Moser around for a while. The length of the deal offers security, and Loyola showed plenty of loyalty by bringing Moser back for a sixth season after an 89-105 record in his first five seasons. Also, the fact that he’s a Chicago-born Catholic who played in the Missouri Valley Conference would certainly give them a better chance than most programs. Now, the institution hopes this opens the door to sustained success.
The next step for the Ramblers is to parlay their on-court success this spring into success on the recruiting trail. It’s something they’d already got a taste of in the recruiting cycle prior to their Final Four run.
To date, Moser’s biggest signing was Elgin native Christian Negron. The former Larkin star had offers from schools like Butler, Illinois and Oregon State but chose to head to Loyola.
He wound up largely being a non-factor last season, but that’s almost besides the point. He still has plenty of time to grow into a contributor. Even if he doesn’t, winning those types of recruiting battles help indicate to the rest of college basketball that they don’t have to subsist on table scraps.
Still, having captured Chicago’s attention, they have to get aggressive locally. The area is a hotbed for hoops talent, and Loyola suddenly has the sort of profile that will allow them to pursue players that were previously off limits.
Recruiting traditionally operates on a one-year delay, even after an impressive run like Loyola’s. That’s largely because by the time they made their run, the Class of 2018 had already been picked clean.
They might be able to land a leftover or two and can definitely be a bigger factor in the graduate transfer market this spring after graduation. However, the Class of 2019 and beyond will have to be their primary focus.
The timing certainly could be better. There currently are only 13 Class of 2019 prospects with Division-I offers in the state of Illinois, and five of those players are from downstate where Loyola might not have as much influence.
The good news is that Loyola has a solid returning core, and they’ve shown an ability to supplement their roster by working the transfer market and recruiting internationally. Clayton Custer, Marques Townes, Cameron Krutwig and Lucas Williamson all have eligibility remaining, and the Ramblers should be favorites within the conference again in 2018-19.
Obviously another successful season would only increase confidence in the direction of the program for kids around this area. They also can continue to supplement the roster by doing what they’ve always done, allowing them to pick and choose their recruiting battles for prep stars.
If they can do all that, the potential to make regular trips to the NCAA Tournament and occasionally steal a win or two is very realistic. That’s really all they need to continue to hold Chicago’s attention after decades of college basketball futility.
Extending Moser was step one. There are still many more steps to go before they can realize that potential, but having Moser there to steward the program moving forward gives them the continuity they need to get started.