Loyola coach Porter Moser has enjoyed an intense national spotlight over the last week after the 11th-seeded team upset two nationally ranked opponents to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1985.
Coming off the Ramblers’ first 30-win season in program history and their first Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title and tournament championship, Moser’s value has significantly jumped — something not lost on athletic director Steve Watson.
Watson told the Sun-Times that Loyola and Moser have been discussing a new contract in recent weeks.
“We started talking about an extension and ripping up the old contract and doing something a little different,” Watson said. “Obviously, [we’re] focusing on Thursday’s game, but we’ve been talking about his contract.”
Watson wouldn’t get into specifics but said the two have “definitely discussed” a raise.
“I can tell you this: We want Porter to be our coach for a long, long time,” Watson said.
It’s not uncommon for coaches to jump ship for a Power Five conference team after leading a lower seed to success in the NCAA Tournament. After coaching Arkansas-Little Rock to a first-round upset of Purdue in 2016, Chris Beard was hired by UNLV for 19 days and then by his current employer, Texas Tech. Bruce Pearl, who is now the coach at Auburn, led Milwaukee to the Sweet 16 in 2005 and then was hired by Tennessee.
And with Loyola on the rise, Moser is in position to make a similar leap.
Moser signed a five-year extension after last season that ties him to Loyola through the 2021-22 season.
Loyola’s latest “990” tax form — a document the university must file with the IRS and make publicly available as a condition of its nonprofit status — shows Moser was paid a base salary of $420,211 from mid-2015 through mid-2016. That’s more than a $35,000 pay increase from the previous year.
In comparison with other Missouri Valley Conference schools, Moser’s salary is fairly up to par. Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson’s base salary is on the high end of the conference; he’ll make $850,000 this year. On the other end is Indiana State coach Greg Lansing, who will make a base salary of $219,000 this year.
Moser said he hasn’t “dug into” the idea that he’s underpaid.
“I’ve been so focused on this program,” Moser said. “I talk to our guys about the process all the time. If I sat there and thought about the end result of that, I wouldn’t be taking care of business. My focus has been on the journey of this program. All of that will — God willing — take care of itself.”
Although Moser, a Naperville native, has made it clear he loves Chicago, it’s unclear if that “love” is enough to keep him around. Moser and his family have moved to four cities in three states in his coaching career.
“Everyone knows how I feel about Chicago. I love it. I love the culture of a Jesuit school,” Moser said. “I do have kids. I have moved. My kids know … that’s part of the profession.”
But Moser is trying to block out the distractions while he focuses on Loyola’s game against Nevada in Atlanta.
“My whole life with my family, my faith has been with this program,” Moser said. “I’ve put everything I had into this thing, and to get it to this point and the pride of Chicago, the pride of Loyola University, it means so much.”
Follow me on Twitter @madkenney.