On March 30, the athletics department at IUPUI introduced the 2023 class for its Hall of Fame. The class includes volleyball player Kaitlyn Hickey, swimmer Alexus Laird, golfer Jose Pablo Segurola, men’s basketball player Alex Young, cross country and track star Robert Murphy and former Director of Athletics Michael Moore.
Moore, like his other fellow inductees, achieved great things during his time at IUPUI. Moore spent 19 years as Director of Athletics before leaving in 2015. During Moore’s tenure, he took the Jaguars into NCAA Division I, as well as increased the number of sports offered from nine to 18. The Jaguar name also came into effect while Moore was at IUPUI, changing from the Metros. Moore also oversaw IUPUI into the Summit League in 1998 as well.
Sports teams saw a share of success under Moore. Eight different sports saw conference title wins and women’s diving brought home a couple of NCAA championships. Moore brought more change by moving the men’s basketball program to the Farmers Coliseum, where they play to this day.
When Moore started in 1996, IUPUI had just transitioned from NAIA to NCAA Division II and had already declared the intent to go to Division I.
“So the challenge we had was that we were ineligible for any NCAA championships at the Division II level,” Moore said. “While at the same time, we still had not transitioned into Division I.”
An eight year waiting period faced the Jags once the transition was complete, in order to participate in NCAA tournaments. Before going D1, the school had eight athletic programs and needed 14 to be considered a D1 school.
“I had to add six programs pretty quickly,” Moore said. “We had to build them from scratch. We didn’t really have time to do it how you would normally do it, which is to stair-step everything and get ready.”
The campus itself would become “closer” as Moore says, with the re-brand from Metros to Jaguars and the sports programs joining the Mid-Continent Conference (now The Summit League). IUPUI did not have rivals prior to joining D1, let alone competing for conference championships. Everything was built from the ground up.
“We didn’t have a pep band, we didn’t have cheerleaders, we didn’t have a fight song,” Moore said. “We built all that from scratch. It was a team effort. Back then it was hard to get folks to admit that they had attended IUPUI because it doesn’t say “IUPUI” on your degree. I think Division I athletics went a long way to bringing the campus together.”
While the transition to Division 1 was a highlight during Moore’s time with the Jags, the former Director of Athletics remembers a time when the men’s soccer team made their only NCAA tournament to date in 2000.
“I’ll never forget, we were in Dallas, Texas, getting ready to play the No. 1 seed in the tournament, SMU, and we took the team out to dinner at a nice steakhouse,” Moore said. “I’ll never forget, we’re all sitting, and I had one of the athletes come up to me. He said ‘Mr. Moore, this is so awesome, thank you so much for bringing us to this place but we just have one question.’ I said, Well really? What’s that? and they go, ‘How much money do we have to chip in for the meal?’”
“My comment to him was, “You made the big time. Order what you want.”
After leaving IUPUI in 2015, Moore transitioned into the Director of Major Gifts for Southern Illinois Athletics in 2017. Moore now serves as the Director of Development for the School of Liberal Arts at SIU. Moore still thinks fondly of IUPUI and the growth since his departure.
“I’m enjoying it. I’m still involved in higher ed,” Moore said. “I still follow the Jaguars. I feel like I’ve got a lot invested in them and the institution. I love watching how the program has continued to grow. I think they’re starting to gain some traction in the Horizon League and they seem to be doing very well.