By Josh Hall
April 14, 2014
When John Moseley visited the Lincoln University campus for the first time last week, he couldn’t help but feel excited.
Now, he’s ready to take on the challenge of re-energizing a men’s basketball program that has struggled in recent years and making it a contender again.
“I got the feeling the people here are willing to do their part to help us turn this basketball program, or return this basketball program to a championship level in the (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association),” Moseley said. “As I researched this job, I was intrigued by the chance to compete in one of the most competitive Division II conferences in the country.”
Moseley was named the Blue Tigers’ new head coach at a press conference Monday. Lincoln president Kevin Rome and athletic director Betty Kemna said they are confident they have the right man for the job.
“We’re committed to investing in our athletic programs, investing into our student-athletes and building a winning program like we used to have,” Rome said. “But the past doesn’t matter if you’re not winning now. With that being said, we’re excited to bring someone here who we think can do that for basketball. We believe John is the coach who can take us to the next level.”
In its last five seasons under John Redmond, Lincoln was 18-116 overall and 11-75 in the MIAA. The Blue Tigers are coming off a 3-24 season in which they were just 1-18 in the MIAA.
“After comprehensive review of our men’s basketball program, we determined it was time to make a move, to move the program in a different direction,” Kemna said.
Lincoln has made the NCAA Division II Tournament 12 times as a member of the MIAA. The last time was in 1981 and the Blue Tigers haven’t had a winning season since 2001, when they went 14-12.
Moseley is anxious to get Lincoln back on track.
“It’s my desire to get this thing turned around as quickly as possible, so I’m not willing to sacrifice a season to make moves,” he said. “It may seem far-fetched right now, from where the program has been in the last few years, but I’m confident that we’ll bring the young men here necessary, along with the young men that are already here, and we’ll put a product out there that the university can be proud of.”
Moseley joins Lincoln after spending the past four years at North Carolina Central University, including the last three seasons as the team’s associate head coach. Working with head coach LeVelle Moton, Moseley helped lead the Eagles to a 28-6 record.
NCCU earned a No. 14 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament, where the Eagles fell to No. 3 Iowa State in the second round.
“There are a lot of people that have played a role with helping me get to this point in my career,” Moseley said. “As a young coach, I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of really good coaches and really good people. The lessons that I learned while serving under these guys will be evident in the program that we establish here at Lincoln.”
Moseley brings 10 years of Division I experience with him to Lincoln. A 1998 graduate of East Carolina University, Moseley returned to his alma matter in 2008 to serve as the program’s director of basketball operations. In 2009, Moseley was promoted to assistant coach, serving as the recruiting organizer.
Prior to coaching at East Carolina, Moseley was an assistant coach at Winston-Salem State University in 2007-08. Before that, he made a one-year stop at Wright State University, working as an administrative assistant.
Moseley’s teams have enjoyed success at each of his stops, including the high-school ranks. Moseley was the head coach at Warren County High in Warrenton, N.C., from 2004-06, leading the program to its first state championship in 23 years.
“I think the success of all the places that I’ve been, it goes back to a couple of things,” Moseley said. “You’ve got to have discipline and you’ve got to have accountability on your team. The best teams I’ve been around police one another and there’s no coach that has to step in and say, ‘You didn’t do what you’re supposed to.’ The young men on the team take ownership of the team and they police one another.”
While on his visit to Lincoln last week, Moseley had the opportunity to visit with several current players. He wanted them to understand the importance of academics and how to properly conduct themselves on and off the court. The coach also sensed his players were eager to to make strides.
“When I talked to those guys, I know they’re hungry for success,” Moseley said. “But success doesn’t come by accident. You’ve got to get up every day, have a plan and work that plan. I expect our team to be competitive, tough and relentless.”
Moseley said he plans to bring the same game philosophy that was used at North Carolina Central. In the last three years, the Eagles have been near or at the top in the league’s defensive categories. That’s something Moseley hopes doesn’t change while guiding Lincoln.
Offensively, there are still some questions.
“I would love to stand here today and tell you we can run up and down and we’re going to score 127 points a game, but I don’t know right now,” Moseley said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m confident and excited to get on the floor and get after it with these guys.”
This will be the first head coaching job at the collegiate level for Moseley, who has bachelor’s degrees in both science and exercise and sports science, as well as master’s degrees in education and athletic administration.
Getting the chance to compete against other teams in the MIAA was a big draw for Moseley when the job became available. He noted the league had four teams in the Division II Tournament, including eventual national champion Central Missouri.
“It’s one of the reasons I certainly think it’s a good job,” Moseley said. “You want to compete against the best and I think we’ve got some of the best in this league. It’s a great measuring stick for our program. When you recruit young men, you talk about winning championships. Well, this league has proven if you’re able to compete in this league, you have a product that is good enough to compete nationally.”
Still, Moseley knows he and his team will have their work cut out for them. But he’s also ready to tackle the challenge.
“I’m no magician. I’m a good basketball coach, but it helps to have good basketball players,” Moseley said. “I think we have some of those guys here now. It’s me and my staff’s obligation to go out and find other ones that fit into what we’re trying to accomplish. I think the guys will accept the challenge, I think they’re tired of being at the bottom of the league and I think they’re just excited about having a change.”