Billie Moore — the head coach of the first U.S. Women’s Olympic basketball team, the first head coach to lead two schools to national women’s basketball championships, and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — died Wednesday at the age of 79.
Her death was announced by UCLA, where she led the Bruins to a 1978 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national championship and the Naismith Hall of Fame on Thursday.
The UCLA athletics department said Moore was battling multiple myeloma, a plasma cell cancer that suppresses the body’s immune response, and died at her home in Fullerton, Calif., surrounded by family and friends. of his friends.
“Billie Moore was a trailblazer as a head coach and among a very small group of individuals who laid the foundation for where women’s basketball is today,” the Naismith President and CEO said. Hall of Fame, John L. Doleva. “Her impact on the basketball community knows no boundaries, and she will be missed by the entire Hall of Fame family.”
Moore, who coached UCLA from 1977 to 1993, holds the record for most wins (296) by a women’s basketball head coach in program history.
Prior to coaching UCLA, Moore was the head coach of the first United States Women’s Olympic Basketball Team in 1976. Along with players such as Pat Summitt, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Lusia Harris and Nancy Lieberman, Moore led Team USA to the silver medal at the Montreal Summer Games.
Moore, who was born in Westmoreland, Kansas, also led Cal State Fullerton to a national title in 1970. She was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.
“One of the things that when I got the call was of primary concern to me was that I’m being inducted as a coach in a team sport,” she said during his induction. “And when you’re in a team sport, you’re not here because of something you did yourself. It is obvious that this award is shared with many people who have played a very important role over the years and it belongs to many people.
She credited her father with giving her a love and passion for the game. She told the audience that she had hoped her career would not be based on wins and losses, but on the lifelong friends who she had done on the ground.
Overall, Moore compiled a college record of 436-196 for a .690 winning percentage.
Executive Director of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Danielle Donehew said Moore was a giant who paved the way for other female coaches.
“Most importantly, Billie was a teacher who continued to share her wisdom with former student-athletes and colleagues like Pat Summitt, her mentee, long after Billie had retired from coaching.” she declared.
“I met Billie while working for Pat and will forever cherish her wisdom and humor. Billie’s impact on our sport survives her through the multitude of lives, mine included, that she touched.