CLEVELAND -- The Moran family and John Carroll University men’s basketball program have been synonymous with each other over the last quarter-century, and that is a legacy Pete Moran is proud to carry on as head coach of the Blue Streaks.
When his father, Mike, stepped down following his 25th season last winter, Pete Moran was promoted from assistant to head coach, and in his very first year leading the program, guided the Blue Streaks back to the NCAA Division III National Tournament.
“It’s kind of a surreal experience, to be honest with you,” Moran said in an exclusive interview with WKYC.com. “Ever since my dad took over the position 25 years ago, when I was 13 years old, I realized ultimately, being the basketball coach at John Carroll University was a goal.
“To be able to obtain the position after my father’s retirement, it’s been a surreal experience, and I’m really excited. It’s hard to follow a legend, but I know he’s extremely supportive.”
During the regular season, John Carroll posted a 20-5 record, and rolled their way through the competition in the 2018 OAC Tournament, winning by an average of 19.6 points over Heidelberg, Baldwin Wallace and Ohio Northern.
By virtue of a 94-77 win over Ohio Northern in the OAC Tournament Championship Game last Saturday night, the Blue Streaks claimed their fifth postseason title and second in the last three years. John Carroll (24-5) previously won OAC Tournament titles in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2016.
During the celebration of the OAC Tournament Championship, father and son shared in the joy of the experience.
“There’s two things, two phrases that a father could tell a son that really gives them chills up their spine, and that’s ‘I’m proud of you,’ and ‘I love you,’” Moran recalled. “I got a couple of those from my father, which made the experience even more enjoyable.”
Long before Moran took over the John Carroll men’s basketball program, he was on an unconventional career path.
Admittedly not “a great student in high school,” Moran got a job in the business world, but after some time, he better understood there was a different route to follow, which led to him enrolling at John Carroll at the age of 23.
“I didn’t value the importance of education, and I’m very open and honest about that,” Moran said. “Going into the workforce for a couple years after high school kind of opened my eyes up. I knew after a couple years of working at a bank that this profession was not for me.
“When I reflect on all of the good things that have ever happened in my life, the arrows point to John Carroll University,” Moran said. “I met my wife here. We have three children now. I was able to play for my father, which is any kid’s goal. I was able to play with my younger brother, played in the Final Four, and some of my best friends are all John Carroll grads.”
After winning OAC Tournament and regular-season championships, John Carroll was selected as a host for first and second-round games in the NCAA Tournament, and after cruising to a 95-72 victory over Thomas More College, the Blue Streaks will host The College of Wooster on Mike Moran Court tonight.
“The University took a chance on me as a 23-year old freshman, and all I can do is work my hardest to repay them,” Moran said. “There’s no dollar amount that I could ever donate to this University that justifies what they did for me and how much they transformed my life.”