Kirsten Moore, head coach of Westmont women’s basketball team, examines the role coaches play in educating students in a free, public lecture Thursday, Oct. 24, at 5:30 p.m. at University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara St. No tickets are required; the limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please call (805) 565-6051. The talk, “Athletics in Higher Education: How Competitive Sports Teach Lessons for Life,” is part of Westmont Downtown: Conversations about Things that Matter, which is sponsored by the Westmont Foundation.
Moore, who led the women’s basketball team to its first-ever NAIA National Championship last year, says competitive athletics play an important function at a liberal arts college. “While I want to win,” she says, “I also want my players to grow and develop in all areas of their lives and to excel in the classroom. The personal disciplines and leadership skills developed through intercollegiate athletics not only help students in their studies, but prepare them to be successful in their lives after graduation.”
In November, Moore will receive the “All That’s Right in Sport” award as part of the Musial Awards in St. Louis. The national title was an inspiring culmination of a year beset by tragedy, blessings and finally, triumph. Kirsten and her husband, Alex, were expecting their first child in the spring of 2012. In May of that year, Alex died from complications following surgery for Crohn’s disease. Kirsten persevered as a mother and coach, giving birth seven weeks after Alex’s death to their first child, Alexis.
Westmont went 24-3 in the regular season and reeled off five consecutive tournament wins to claim the national title. “Alex motivated me to do things the right way and do the work,” Kirsten says. “It was the fuel that motivated this team and me personally. We kept doing the work last year, not just surviving, but overcoming, and ultimately finding victory.”