Porter Moser, head coach of the Loyola University Ramblers men’s basketball team, is a Naperville native and Class of 1982 graduate of Ss. Peter and Paul School, the kindergarten through 8th grade Catholic school located in the heart of Naperville.
“Since his team’s historic season run to the Final Four in March, we’ve been trying to coordinate a time he could return to his alma mater and meet with our students,” said Meg Olsen, Marketing and Enrollment Director for Ss. Peter and Paul.
The big day for Coach Moser’s visit was May 30.
And just before 12:45PM, an enthusiastic group of cheerleaders, student body, faculty, staff and the school mascot began arriving for the special assembly in the school gymnasium.
Class by class, kindergarten through 7th grade students entered the gym through a tunnel of pom poms and enthusiastic cheers before finding their places on the bleachers or the floor.
When everyone was seated, now internationally-known Coach Moser was greeted with resounding joy and prayer as he was welcomed to share fond memories and the values he’d learned as a student from grades 1-8, at the same school his father, Jim Moser, had attended.
After thanking Olsen for the invitation, Coach Moser expressed appreciation to former Ss. Peter and Paul Principal Frank Glowaty, Coach Dave Schmecht and fellow classmate Mary Phillipp for their introductions that took him on a trip down memory lane. The coach said he was no fan of podiums as he snapped a portable microphone to his Loyola spirit wear, stepped into the sea of students sitting on the gym floor and asked one question to get everyone’s attention.
‘How great is dress-down day?’
“How great is dress-down day?” Coach Moser asked emphatically, connecting instantly with the students, as he began to present his positive message.
Quickly he turned to many lessons learned and memories of how his foundation of faith, values and love for lifelong learning were all part of his early education at Ss. Peter and Paul.
“The older you get, the wiser you get,” Coach Moser said, remembering he didn’t always think his elders knew best. “The older you get, the smarter your parents get,” he added, showing significant respect for his past experiences that taught him, “Your faith will be your foundation.”
For more than 40 minutes Coach Moser addressed the attentive audience, devoting about 20 minutes to many “great questions” asked by students during the Q&A.
Coach Moser provides answers to ‘great questions’ with words of wisdom
- My best recruit was my wife, the mother of our four children.
- All the little things you worry about don’t really matter.
- Create a culture of “put ups” rather than “put downs.” Uplift each other and don’t care about who gets the credit.
- Buzzer beaters are very euphoric!
- The best drills are competitive ones with goals.
- The coolest part of the Final Four was sharing the journey with everyone at Loyola and more.
- Sister Jean, at 98, is very special as she leads the Ramblers in prayer.
- Recommended books are Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon.
- The older you get, the more you’ll reminisce. Reflect. Be humble.
- My biggest influence was another college coach, Tony Barone.
- Be keepers of the culture that’s been going on at Ss. Peter and Paul for decades.
- Compete as hard as you can and have as much fun as you can.
- Be a lifelong learner.
- Don’t try to go too fast. Embrace every second of your experiences.
- My favorite saying is “Fall seven. Rise eight,” an old proverb that relates to an attitude of resilience.
- Coaches, athletes and other celebrities are regular people. That’s what they do…That’s not who they are. Basketball is what I do.
- People want to be held accountable. When you share trust and love, you can hold people accountable.
Coach Moser also led the students in an inspirational chant aimed at helping them overcome obstacles they might face. He hopes they’ll remember what they repeated in unison with him.
“How you think is how you feel,” Coach Moser said, asking the students to repeat with enthusiasm after each statement.
“How you feel is how you act,” he continued. “And how you act defines you.”
Create a culture of ‘put ups’
In closing, Coach Moser added, “I really want to thank everybody… Create a culture of put ups, a culture of faith and a culture of family atmosphere… And pay your journey forward.”
‘Porter Moser, Class of 1982, Faith, Family, Final Four’
As a gesture of appreciation for his time and talents, the teachers and faculty also presented Coach Moser with a brick that will be inscribed with “Porter Moser, Class of 1982, Faith, Family, Final Four” to commemorate his return home to Ss. Peter and Paul.
Editor’s Update / June 1, 2018, is Founder’s Day, the last day of school, at Ss. Peter and Paul.
Here’s to a safe and enjoyable summer for all local students, filled with family, friends and lifelong learning.
UPDATE, July 18, 2018 / Note the “Home of the Trojans” mural pictured behind Coach Porter Moser in the Ss. Peter and Paul gymnasium, dated 1996. The air-brushed custom painting is one of 80 brilliant murals in Naperville created by Timm Etters, known for his artistic designs in School Districts 203 and 204 that started locally with a mural at Waubonsie Valley High School more than 25 years ago.
During a chance encounter while Etters is working on a KidsMatter project for Century Walk in downtown Naperville, the prolific muralist said he had seen the Positively Naperville photos on Instagram last month, recognizing his mural in the background of photos with Coach Moser during an assembly at Ss. Peter and Paul.
This week Etters is “touching up” his KidsMatter artwork with a little white wash in the stairwells of the Van Buren Parking Deck where every level is enhanced by art related to local high schools.
“I’ve always wanted to make a difference to kids and the community,” said the artist who has completed 310 commissioned hand-painted murals.
Etters also aims to connect with youth by acknowledging the ups and downs of life and inspiring “perseverance.” Small world! —PN
Editor’s Note / Also save the dates, Sept. 30 and Dec. 2, for “Century Walk Dedications” that also make a difference in the community. For info, visit www.centurywalk.org.