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Former UCLA, Olympic Women's Basketball Coach Billie Moore Dies at Age 79

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2022

Billie Moore, Head Coach for the University of California, Los Angeles UCLA Bruins during the NCAA Pac-10 Conference college basketball game against the Washington State Cougars on 3rd March 1991 at the Pauley Pavilion, Westwood, California, United States.   (Photo by Gary Newkirk/Allsport/Getty Images)
Gary Newkirk/Allsport/Getty Images

Former UCLA, Cal State Fullerton and Team USA women's basketball coach Billie Moore died Wednesday at the age of 79.

According to ESPN's M.A. Voepel, Moore had been in hospice care at her California home because of cancer.

After playing basketball and softball in her youth, Moore's first big break in coaching came at Southern Illinois University where she served as an assistant women's basketball coach before becoming the head women's basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton in 1969.

Moore led Cal State Fullerton to a national championship in her first season there and went on to the Final Four of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) tournament in 1972 and 1975 as well.

Her success at Cal State Fullerton led to Moore being named the head coach of the United States women's basketball team at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

In the debut of women's basketball at the Olympics, the Americans won a silver medal, losing 112-77 to the Soviet Union in the gold medal game.

The Olympic run catapulted Moore to the head coaching job for the women's basketball team at UCLA, and she once again experienced instant success, as the Bruins won the AIAW championship in her first season in 1977-78.

The AIAW tournament was the precursor to the NCAA women's basketball tournament, which became the preeminent tournament in women's college basketball in 1982.

With titles at Cal State Fullerton and UCLA, Moore became the first coach to lead two different schools to national championships in the history of major women's college basketball.

Moore also took UCLA to the Final Four in 1979 and had five more tourney appearances during her time at the school. Moore coached at UCLA from 1977 to 1993 and posted a 296-181 record, making her the winningest head coach in the history of UCLA women's basketball.

When adding in her time at Cal State Fullerton, Moore compiled a record of 436-196 as a college head coach.

Moore was recognized for her massive accomplishments in women's basketball in 1999 when she was inducted into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.