Men's Basketball

How Sister Jean Helped Porter Moser Through A Major Decision

Courtesy of Lukas KeapprothLoyola men's basketball head coach Porter Moser hands Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt a number 99 basketball jersey to celebrate her 99th birthday in the Damen Student Center on Tuesday, August 21, 2018.

When Porter Moser was hired as Loyola men’s basketball coach in 2011, he immediately forged a bond with team chaplain Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, BVM. The two have become close friends — so close that she was one of the few people Moser turned to when he was faced with a crucial career decision in April.

Moser flew out to New York to interview with St. John’s University and was in talks to become the Red Storm’s next head coach. The decision was so tough he wrote two letters on the flight home: one if he left Loyola for St. John’s and one if he stayed in Rogers Park. He ultimately chose the latter and is now preparing for his ninth season as the Ramblers’ head coach. 

But there was one more letter he hasn’t told many people about — and it came from Sister Jean.

Four months after that fateful decision, Moser told The Phoenix Sister Jean was one of a handful of people he told about what was going on, a group which included Loyola Athletics administration and his wife, Megan.

“I jumped in the office, I popped in … and I gave her a big hug.”

Porter Moser, men’s basketball head coach

Before he left, Moser said Sister Jean wrote him a letter that was roughly a page and a half long. He didn’t go into specific details about what she said, but he said he still has the letter.

“I met with her and I asked her to pray for me,” Moser said. “She did, and that night she wrote me a long letter that really meant a lot to me. To show what she means to me, in a very, very tough time, professionally, for me — and personally — I asked her to pray for me, and she had such amazing words of wisdom and she was a true friend in that … I confided in her.”

After Moser made his decision to stay at Loyola, he stopped by Sister Jean’s office to deliver the good news and celebrate with her.

“I jumped in the office, I popped in … and I gave her a big hug,” Moser said. “I came into her office when I saw her and she was smiling ear to ear and she had her arms wide open like, ‘Come across my desk and give me a hug.’”

Nick Schultz | The Phoenix Porter Moser hugs Sister Jean after a victory.

Her letter and her prayers weren’t out of the ordinary for the now-100-year-old nun. Even when his first Loyola team went 1-17 in Missouri Valley Conference play in 2013-14, Sister Jean remained upbeat, positive and supportive of everyone — not just from a basketball standpoint, but also personally.

Even after the Ramblers made their run to the Final Four in 2018,  Moser said Sister Jean “doesn’t love us any more than the day we were 1-17.” She still sends the team emails after games and prays before games — even praying for the officials, which caught Moser off guard the first time he heard her do so.

Nonetheless, he said he admires how she’s sincerely always there for everyone, whether it’s members of the men’s basketball team or Loyola students.

“There are very few people in your life that have unconditional love — basically your parents,” Moser said. “Now I can throw Sister Jean in my ‘Mount Rushmore’ of people who have unconditional love for you.”

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