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Chicago's Howard Moore Loves Being Part Of Bracket-Busting Badgers

By Justin Breen | March 22, 2017 4:56am | Updated on March 23, 2017 11:37am
 Assistant coach Howard Moore watches during the Big Ten tournament title game against Michigan.
Assistant coach Howard Moore watches during the Big Ten tournament title game against Michigan.
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Wisconsin Athletics

CHICAGO — Howard Moore loves busting brackets.

The Taft graduate and former UIC head coach is an assistant coach at Wisconsin, which shocked No. 1 seed and defending national champion Villanova in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The eighth-seeded Badgers face fourth-seeded Florida in a Sweet 16 matchup Friday at Madison Square Garden.

"I love that we busted so many brackets," said Moore, a former star at Taft who grew up near UIC. "That means we had a lot of people doubting us. I love that we could prove people wrong and shake up the world a little bit. Hopefully we can keep doing it."

Moore said the Badgers did not consider beating Villanova an upset.

"With all due respect to Villanova — and we have a ton of respect for them — we always felt that we can compete with anyone in the country," Moore said. "As long as we do the things that we do well, we feel we can compete with anybody.

"We were very motivated. We came up short with the regular-season [Big Ten] championship and we fell short in the conference tournament championship. Our players knew they hadn't played their best basketball yet."

Moore is in his second assistant coaching stint at Wisconsin. In between, he was the Flames' head coach from 2010-15 before his tenure ended with a 49-111 overall record. Moore and his family have built a home in Madison — where Moore was a key role player for the Badgers — and said he's "always felt fortunate to come back and help my alma mater."

But Moore said he wouldn't rule out a chance to return to the head coaching ranks.

"If the Lord gives me another opportunity, that would be great," Moore said. "It would be a lot different the next time around, trust me."

Moore's parents and several other family members still live in Chicago. He last was in the Windy City for the Chicago Public League basketball semifinals in February at Chicago State.

Moore is planning a third "Legends" event on the West Side in August to help elementary students learn hoops and life skills while entertaining them with a basketball game featuring former Chicago stars. In past years, Rashard Griffith (King), Jamie Brandon (King), Imari Sawyer (King), Arthur Agee (Marshall) and Ronnie Fields (Farragut) have participated.

"We're trying to make a difference in kids' lives," Moore said.