Doug Moe

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Doug Moe
Doug Moe (cropped).jpeg
Moe during his ABA career
Personal information
Born (1938-09-21) September 21, 1938 (age 84)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High schoolThe Bullis School
(Potomac, Maryland)
CollegeNorth Carolina (1958–1961)
NBA draft1961 / Round: 2 / Pick: 22nd overall
Selected by the Chicago Packers
Playing career1965–1972
PositionSmall forward
Number34, 15
Coaching career1972–2008
Career history
As player:
1965–1967Pallacanestro Petrarca Padova
1967–1968New Orleans Buccaneers
1968–1969Oakland Oaks
1969–1970Carolina Cougars
1970–1972Virginia Squires
As coach:
1972–1974Carolina Cougars (assistant)
1974–1976Denver Nuggets (assistant)
19761980San Antonio Spurs
19801990Denver Nuggets
1992–1993Philadelphia 76ers
20032008Denver Nuggets (assistant)
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As coach:

Career ABA playing statistics
Points6,161 (16.3 ppg)
Rebounds2,560 (6.8 rpg)
Assists1,197 (3.2 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Career coaching record
NBA628–529 (.543)

Douglas Edwin Moe (born September 21, 1938) is an American former professional basketball player and coach. As a head coach with the Denver Nuggets in the National Basketball Association (NBA), he was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 1988.

Early life[edit]

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Moe was a star player at the University of North Carolina, where he was a two-time All-American. However, his collegiate career ended in controversy when he admitted to being associated with a point shaving scandal.[1] Moe received $75 from fix conspirator Aaron Wagman to fly to a meeting in New Jersey, arranged by Moe's friend, conspirator Lou Brown, but Moe reportedly turned down an offer to throw games. There is no evidence that Moe was ever involved in a fix conspiracy, but his ties to the scandal blemished his reputation.[2]

Moe was selected in the NBA draft in 1960, by the Detroit Pistons, and again in 1961, this time by the Chicago Packers, but began his pro career in Italy's Lega Basket Serie A with the Pallacanestro Petrarca Padova,[3] and later in the American Basketball Association with the New Orleans Buccaneers, Oakland Oaks, Washington Caps, Carolina Cougars and Virginia Squires. He garnered ABA All-Star honors three times in an injury-shortened five-year professional playing career.

Moe became a head coach in 1976–77, after serving as an assistant coach for the Carolina Cougars. Moe worked behind the bench for 15 years, ten of them with the Denver Nuggets. He also had stops with the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers.

In Denver[edit]

Moe began his coaching career with the Carolina Cougars in the ABA as an assistant coach to his UNC teammate Larry Brown from 1972 to 1974. He then followed Brown to Denver, where they coached the Nuggets from 1974 to 1976. During those two seasons, the Nuggets were 125–43 (.744). They advanced to the ABA Finals in 1976, but lost to the New York Nets in six games.

After the ABA–NBA merger in 1976, Moe served as a head coach for the San Antonio Spurs for four seasons (1976–80), leading them to a conference finals appearance in 1979. He returned to Denver in 1980 to take over the head coaching reins from another UNC alum, Donnie Walsh. From 1980 to 1990, Moe compiled a 432–357 (.548) record and led the Nuggets to the postseason nine-straight years—advancing as far as the Western Conference Finals in 1985. He guided the Nuggets to two Midwest Division titles (1984–85 and '87–88) and a franchise-record 54 wins in 1987–88. He was named NBA Coach of the Year that same year. Under Moe's direction, the Nuggets high-octane offense led the league in scoring in six of his 10 seasons in Denver.

Moe announced his dismissal from the Nuggets on September 6, 1990 at a press conference where he and his wife Jane had a Champagne toast. He had three years remaining on his contract but was caught in the middle of a front-office restructure initiated by Comsat Video Enterprises, Inc. which had purchased the franchise eleven months earlier. Comsat Chief Executive Officer Robert Wussler was most critical of his coaching.[4] Moe is honored by the Nuggets with a banner that reads "432" for his number of wins as a Nuggets' head coach.

Moe also served an unsuccessful stint as a head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers (1992–93), with his son David Moe as an assistant coach. In 1979, he led the Spurs to the conference finals. His overall NBA head coaching ledger stands at 628–529 (.543) and his wins are the 19th-most in NBA history, though he is not in the Hall of Fame.

Coaching style[edit]

Moe used a run-and-gun offense which had his team shoot before the opponent's defense had set up.[5] He ran almost no plays, instead relying on ball movement, screens and constant cuts to the basket. Players were not to hold onto the ball for longer than two seconds. The movement of the ball was predicated on what the defense allowed. "You can't diagram it, you can't put a pencil and paper to it. If you do, you're doing an injustice to the system", said former Nuggets assistant Allan Bristow. Moe simply said, "The passing game is basically doing whatever the hell you want."[6]

Moe's passing strategy was adopted from North Carolina head coach Dean Smith. Smith, normally a conservative coach, thought that the passing game could work with the right players, but he did not believe players would be smart enough to execute it at all times.[6]

Though his offensive strategy led to high scores, Moe's Denver teams were never adept at running fast breaks. His teams at times appeared to give up baskets in order to get one. He disputed the fact that his teams did not play defense, attributing the high scores to the pace of the game.[6]

On coming to the NBA after the NBA-ABA merger[edit]

"One of the biggest disappointments in my life was going into the NBA after the merger. The NBA was a rinky-dink league—listen, I'm very serious about this. The league was run like garbage. There was no camaraderie; a lot of the NBA guys were aloof and thought they were too good to practice or play hard. The NBA All-Star Games were nothing—guys didn't even want to play in them and the fans could [sic] care less about the games. It wasn't until the 1980s, when David Stern became commissioner, that the NBA figured out what the hell they were doing, and what they did was a lot of stuff we had in the ABA—from the 3-point shot to All-Star weekend to the show biz stuff. Now the NBA is like the old ABA. Guys play hard, they show their enthusiasm and there is a closeness in the league. Hell, the ABA might have lost the battle, but we won the war. The NBA now plays our kind of basketball."[7]

Head coaching record[edit]


Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
SAS 1976–77 64 44 38 .537 3rd in Central 2 0 2 .000 Lost in First Round
SAS 1977–78 82 52 30 .634 1st in Central 6 2 4 .333 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
SAS 1978–79 82 48 34 .585 1st in Central 14 7 7 .500 Lost in Conf. Finals
SAS 1979–80 66 33 33 .500 (fired)
DEN 1980–81 51 26 25 .510 4th in Midwest Missed Playoffs
DEN 1981–82 82 46 36 .561 2nd in Midwest 3 1 2 .333 Lost in First Round
DEN 1982–83 82 45 37 .549 2nd in Midwest 8 3 5 .375 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
DEN 1983–84 82 38 44 .463 3rd in Midwest 5 2 3 .400 Lost in First Round
DEN 1984–85 82 52 30 .634 1st in Midwest 15 8 7 .533 Lost in Conf. Finals
DEN 1985–86 82 47 35 .573 2nd in Midwest 10 5 5 .500 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
DEN 1986–87 82 37 45 .451 4th in Midwest 3 0 3 .000 Lost in First Round
DEN 1987–88 82 54 28 .659 1st in Midwest 11 5 6 .455 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
DEN 1988–89 82 44 38 .537 3rd in Midwest 3 0 3 .000 Lost in First Round
DEN 1989–90 82 43 39 .524 4th in Midwest 3 0 3 .000 Lost in First Round
PHI 1992–93 56 19 37 .339 (fired)
Career 1157 628 529 .543 83 33 50 .398

See also[edit]

 Sports portal


  1. ^ Callahan, Tom (June 26, 1989). "Essay: Did Pete Rose Do It? What Are the Odds? spread". Time. Archived from the original on October 22, 2010.
  2. ^ Goldstein, Joe (November 19, 2003). "Explosion II: The Molinas period spread". ESPN Classic.
  3. ^ Olsen, Jack. (February 13, 1967) Pallacanestro Is The Rage, Sports Illustrated, February 13th 1967. Retrieved on 2016-07-08.
  4. ^ "Moe Toasts Nugget Firing," The Associated Press (AP), Friday, September 7, 1990. Retrieved November 26, 2021
  5. ^ Marchall, John (February 17, 2005). "Doug Moe: Denver's unlikely ambassador". San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Newman, Bruce (November 7, 1988). "This Joker Is Wild". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  7. ^ Pluto, Terry, Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association (Simon & Schuster, 1990), ISBN 978-1-4165-4061-8, p.34

External links[edit]