Jon Teitel's Coaching Greats Series: Former Virginia Tech head coach Charles Moir
In the most recent installment in his "Coaching Greats" interview series CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with former Virginia Tech head coach Charles Moir, who won 213 games and led the Hokies to four NCAA Tournament appearances during his time in Blacksburg. An alum of Roanoke College, Moir's son Page is currently the head coach there.
Jon Teitel: You played basketball and baseball at Appalachian State, and later played minor league baseball for a few years. Which sport did you like more, and which one were you better at?
Charles Moir: I was probably a better baseball player, but I had to stop playing due to rheumatic fever. After signing to play pro baseball as a sophomore, I was ineligible from playing college baseball.
JT: After retiring from baseball you became a high school basketball coach and won four state titles in 11 years. Was it frustrating to not be able to go out on your own terms, and how were you able to be so successful at the high school level?
CM: I hated to give up baseball but figured that I would not make it to the majors and had a family to support. My brother was also a high school basketball coach. I enjoyed coaching and had some mighty good players.
JT: In 1967 you became head coach at Roanoke College, where your first recruit was Frankie Allen (the first African-American basketball player in school history who later succeeded you as head coach at Virginia Tech). How big a deal was it to recruit Frankie at the time, and what was the reaction like on campus?
CM: Frankie was a great guy and an outstanding basketball player. He was well accepted and had a great career. He still has a lot of state records in Virginia, but more than that he was a class guy. We still talk a lot on the phone.
JT: In 1972 your team went 28-4 and won the Division II national title, while you were named National College Division Coach of the Year. What did it mean to you to win the title, and what did it mean to you to win such an outstanding individual honor?
CM: I had some outstanding players who I have to credit for our success. We were not expected to win it all: it was definitely the highlight of my career.
JT: After becoming head coach at Virginia Tech you won the 1979 Metro Conference title thanks to tournament MVP Dale Solomon. How was Solomon able to play so well despite being a freshman, and where does he rank among the best players you ever coached?
CM: Dale was an outstanding player and athlete. I have never seen anyone shoot the ball better in traffic. He later had a good career overseas. Chuck Daly tried to sign him from Italy to play for the Pistons, but he decided to stay abroad.
JT: What are your memories of the 1979 NCAA Tournament (Solomon scored 24 points in a win over Jacksonville, but Larry Bird scored 22 points and had 13 rebounds in a win by eventual national runner-up Indiana State)?
CM: Indiana State coach Bill Hodges lives here in Roanoke and coaches a high school team. I still see him around town every so often. I felt like we had an opportunity to beat the Sycamores, but Bird was a lot better than I thought he would be. Bird was just unstoppable, and he had some good players around him.
JT: What are your memories of the 1980 NCAA Tournament (Solomon scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds in a four-point overtime win over Western Kentucky, but Isiah Thomas scored 17 points and had seven assists in a nine-point Indiana victory)?
CM: We were down 19 points in the Western Kentucky game but Dale had a great second half to lead our comeback. We had a chance to beat Indiana and it was a good ball game. We got called for offensive basket interference late in the game (which hurt us), but Indiana was very good and it was a tough loss.
JT: What are your memories of the 1984 NIT (Virginia Tech won three games by a combined nine points before a three-points loss to eventual champion Michigan in the semifinals)?
CM: We missed some free throws down the stretch against Michigan, but should have won that game. Michigan had a great team, and I later became good friends with Coach Bill Frieder.
JT: In 1987 after the NCAA found 12 violations within the program, you were forced to resign despite being cleared of any wrongdoing. Why did they make you resign if you did not do anything wrong, and would you do anything differently if you had to do it over again?
CM: They asked me to come back and coach, but I realized that there would be no way I could recruit the caliber of athlete we needed. They did not "make" me resign; I just resigned on my own after they did not extend my contract. I enjoyed my career there and gave them everything I had. Frank Beamer and Seth Greenberg are still good friends of mine.
JT: Your son Page is currently the head coach at Roanoke College. Was it hard for him to follow in your large footsteps, and did you have any influence on his career choice?
CM: I advised him after college to do something else because coaching is a hard life with little money unless you can make it to the top, but he has done great at Roanoke and had some great teams. I enjoyed my time at Roanoke, and it is a good academic school. I am proud of him and he has my full support.
Coach Moir is also on Jon's list of best coaches in ACC history.
Boston College: Al Skinner (1997-2010) 232-149, 7 NCAA tourneys, 3 conference titles, 1-time national COY, 2-time conference COY
Clemson: Cliff Ellis (1984-1994) 177-128, 3 NCAA tourneys, 1 conference title, 2-time conference COY
Duke: Mike Krzyzewski (1980-present) 887-281, 26 NCAA tourneys, 12 conference titles, 4 NCAA titles, 5-time conference COY, 6-time national COY
Florida State: Hugh Durham (1966-1978) 230-95, 3 NCAA tourneys, 1 conference title
Georgia Tech: Bobby Cremins (1981-2000) 354-237, 10 NCAA tourneys, 2 conference titles, 3-time conference COY, 1-time national COY
Maryland: Gary Williams (1989-present) 456-245, 14 NCAA tourneys, 3 conference titles, 1 NCAA title, 2-time conference COY
Miami (FL): Bruce Hale (1954-1967) 220-112, 1 NCAA tourney
North Carolina: Dean Smith (1961-1997) 879-254, 27 NCAA tourneys, 17 conference titles, 2 NCAA titles, 1 NIT title, 8-time conference COY, 3-time national COY
N.C. State: Everett Case (1946-1965) 377-134, 6 NCAA tourneys, 9 conference titles, 6-time conference COY
Virginia: Terry Holland (1974-1990) 326-173, 9 NCAA tourneys, 3 conference titles, 1 NIT title, 2-time conference COY
Virginia Tech: Charles Moir (1976-1987) 213-119, 4 NCAA tourneys
Wake Forest: Dave Odom (1989-2001) 240-132, 8 NCAA tourneys, 1 conference title, 1 NIT title, 3-time conference COY, 1-time national COY