Billie Moore, coach of the first United States Olympic women’s basketball team that won a silver medal at the Montreal Games in 1976, has died. He was 79 years old.
The death was announced on Thursday by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where Moore coached the women’s team from 1977 to 1993.
It said Moore died of cancer on Wednesday night at his home in Fullerton, California. He was surrounded by family and friends.
Koch was the first in American women’s basketball to lead two collegiate teams from different universities to win national championships in 1970 and 1978.
In 1999, Moore was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
He began his coaching career as an assistant at Southern Illinois University. He spent eight seasons at Cal State Fullerton, where he went 140–15.
At UCLA he went 27–3 in 1978 and amassed 296 wins in his 16 years with the Bruins. He had a record of 436–196 over his 24-year career.
Moore led the US women’s team at the Montreal Olympics nearly half a century ago. The team, which included stars Pat Summitt, Ann Meyers Drysdale and Nancy Lieberman, went 3–2 in the competition and was whitewashed 5–0 by the Soviet Union team.
USA Basketball, which governs basketball in the United States, said in a statement, “It has been a pride to be a part of (Moore’s) journey. Our thoughts are with your loved ones during this difficult time.”
Dawn Staley, the current head coach of the United States women’s basketball team, said on social media that women’s basketball “lost a legend today in Billie Moore … leading our sport with class, dignity and determination.” Thank you for following through.”
Staley’s national team has won seven consecutive gold medals, most recently at the Tokyo Olympics.