All In The Game, Yo: Moton’s Interviews The Price Of NCCU’s Success

Just a week after leading his alma mater to its first ever (D1) NCAA Tournament, Levelle Moton has  two interviews for head coaching jobs elsewhere. WRAL is reporting that the North Carolina Central coach will interview at Marshall and Florida Atlantic.

The head coach has been contacted by other universities for assistant coaching positions. 

Moton led the NC Central squad to a 28-6 record this past season and a MEAC tournament title. The title earned the Eagles their first ever trip to the NCAA tournament. 

“We know there’s some competition but we’re going to do what we can as a mid-major division one institution to keep Coach Moton at North Carolina Central,” NC Central athletic director Dr. Ingrid Wicker-McCree told WRAL ahead of the NCAA tournament in San Antonio.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. When you take a team to the NCAA Tournament just three years into becoming a full-fledged Division I member, bigger programs are definitely going to take a look.

It’s pretty easy to see why these programs and others are after him. Moton is a young, black coach with charisma and charm. He’s a family guy, and he keeps his nose clean. Oh, and there’s that 89-67 record in five seasons at NCCU. 

Right now, Moton is like a sophomore or junior player coming off a big season. It’s hard to imagine his stock getting much higher than it is right now. 28-5 seasons don’t come along very often. And while Moton and Co. gave NCCU a season to remember, there’s usually a price to pay for success as a small Division I school.

In the past, being a successful hoops coach at an HBCU hasn’t necessarily translated into jobs outside that realm. But as we saw last year with Anthony Evans leaving Norfolk State for Florida Atlantic and Cynthia Cooper-Dykes leaving Prairie View A&M for USC, that’s no longer the case. Check out our commentary, “A Good HBCU Coach Is Hard To Keep.”

Levelle Moton’s jersey hangs in the McDougald-McLendon Gym at NCCU. (News Observer photo)

The difference between Moton and the coaches who jumped ship last year: he actually played at an HBCU. Not only that, he played at the same school that many programs are trying to pry him from. That emotional connection is very real and goes both ways. Still, it seems many are in denial about the fact that as much as he loves NCCU, if the right opportunity comes along, he has to take it.

The fact is, Moton is in the business of college basketball. The painful truth is that NCCU will have to come up with the amount of cash comparable to what other programs would be willing to pay him or risk losing him if one of the teams currently interested like what they see.

Of course, there’s a very real possibility that Moton will be back with the Eagles next year. But it’s just as likely he’ll be flying on his own.

When the big boys come around, just remember the famous words of Omar Little:

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