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Booker Girls name Loy Moore new coach

July 17, 2016
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Loy Moore may have retired from teaching and coaching in Arkansas, but he is just getting started in Florida.

A girls basketball coach for more than 30 years in high school and college in Arkansas and at the University of South Florida, Moore returns to the area as coach of the Booker High girls basketball team, according to new director of athletics Phil Helmuth.

The 55-year-old Moore coached at the University of South Florida in the 1980s under Trudi Lacy. He then returned to Arkansas, where he spent the past 20 years as head coach at South Arkansas Community College, Pine Bluff High School and as an assistant at the University of Arkansas.

“I still have a lot of good years left in me,” Moore said.

The Tornadoes were looking for a coach after Hollie Nelsen stepped down after two seasons. Booker had one of its most successful seasons, going 21-7 and reaching the Class 5A-Region 3 final before losing to Fort Myers Dunbar. The Tornadoes played the entire season without one of the area’s best players in Yamaris Guevarez, but have a number of key players returning in Cellexia Foster, Arie Bass, Diamond Merced and Cheesy Foster.

“It wasn’t a complete rebuild,” Moore said. “I looked at some other things and I saw we had a chance to be good here immediately. There was a connection with the administration. I felt immediately it was a good environment, very similar to the school I’ve been at the the past 20 years demographically. I felt like this is a place where we can consistently compete at an elite level.”

Moore will teach physical education at Booker.

“One hundred percent of his players not only graduate, but go on to college,” Booker principal Rachel Shelley said in a press release.

“His value system is there,” Helmuth said. “He does a really good job of getting his kids to college. He’s been around the block and he knows what he’s doing.”

In town to finalize housing arrangements, Moore stopped in at the team’s summer workouts Tuesday.

“I did meet with some of them who are coming to summer workouts,” he said. “A lot of the girls work. Attendance is not what it needs to be. But that’s unavoidable right now.”

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