Having served as an assistant boys basketball coach at Granite City High, Gerard Moore is familiar with the challenges faced by the program.
Moore, 42, is eager to tackle them. He’s been named the new head coach, replacing Rafi Karibian, who resigned after one season and a 1-23 record.
“Coach Karibian is a really good friend of mine,” Moore said. “He did an awesome job, in my opinion, sparking the rebuilding process. He took over a team that lost 90 percent of its varsity players that had experience from the previous year – and that was a good team.
“So he had a tough challenge, caused mainly by thin numbers. If we have the right type of players and the right attitude – and if we can build from the feeder programs – we can be successful. It’s a huge task and it’s going to take a lot of work and commitment.”
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Granite City hasn’t had a winning season in more than two decades, although the Warriors came close in former coach Steve Roustio’s final season in 2015-16 when they were 14-15.
We have to focus a lot of our attention in getting our numbers up by dipping into the elementary and middle schools and getting the kids engaged and excited about wanting to be a Warrior one day.
New Granite City boys basketball coach Gerard Moore
Moore was an assistant on Roustio’s staff for four years and also has assisted at Collinsville and McCluer North. He spent two seasons as the head coach at Riverview Gardens High in Missouri, leading the Rams to a 28-25 record from 2014-16.
Granite City has two returning starters in Freddy Edwards, who will be a sophomore, and Zidane Moore, who will be a junior. Zidane is Gerard and Crystal Moore’s youngest son.
“We can build around those guys,” Gerard Moore said. “We’re small but very athletic. What you’re going to see from us is we’re going to play really hard and we’re going to be disciplined. But we’ve got to speed it up. That’s our only chance. We’ve got to give ourselves an opportunity at easy baskets. Initially, that’s how we’re going to start out.”
Moore, who played for former Illinois coach Lou Henson at New Mexico State from 1998 to 2000, reiterated that the youth of Granite City must become more enthusiastic about participating in sports, basketball in this case, at the high school.
“We have to focus a lot of our attention in getting our numbers up by dipping into the elementary and middle schools and getting the kids engaged and excited about wanting to be a Warrior one day,” he said. “If we can do that, we might have a chance because Granite is a big school district, and it’s a good school district. It’s a job I’m willing to take on. I’m from this community and I know the program inside and out.
“I want to develop a culture of competing.”
Moore’s oldest son, Zeke, recently transferred from the Saint Louis University basketball program and signed with Tennessee Tech of the Ohio Valley Conference. Moore, a 6-foot-7, 195-pound guard, will sit out next season but has three years of eligibility remaining.
Gerard Moore’s oldest daughter, Addaya, has signed with Illinois. He has another daughter, Azaria, who is in seventh grade and also plays basketball.