Jim Moore is officially no longer the head women’s volleyball coach at Oregon. Associate head coach Matt Ulmer has been named interim head coach.
The Oregon athletic department said in a news release Wednesday night:
“Coach Jim Moore is stepping down from his position as Head Women’s Volleyball Coach effective immediately and will be retiring from the UO as of May 15, 2017.
“Coach Moore and the UO have come to realize that his coaching style is mismatched with the standards of the University of Oregon athletic department. He has acknowledged that his coaching style may have been viewed negatively by some student-athletes and for that he is sorry.”
Moore, the head coach at Oregon the past 12 years, had an overall record of 246-132 at the school, 120-110 in the Pac-12. Last season, the Ducks finished 21-13 overall and tied for fourth in the league at 13-7 before losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He took the 2012 Oregon team to the national semifinals and was named the Volleyball magazine national coach of the year.
Moore’s wife, Stacy Metro, will no longer coach volleyball. Metro has been Moore’s assistant indoors for the 12 years they were there and was the head beach coach. She will remain an employee of the university.
Moore’s agent, Nick Meeker, said Wednesday night that neither he nor Moore would make any further statements. Moore confirmed that when contacted by phone.
The 58-year-old Moore, a 1980 graduate of Long Beach State, previously was the head coach at Northern Michigan (1989-94, 2003-04), Kansas State (1994-97), Texas (1997-00) and Chico State (2001-02). He leaves as Oregon’s all-time winningest coach.
The Oregon statement added that “During the next few months, Coach Moore will work remotely on a transition plan to ensure the success of the program going forward. Associate Head Coach Matt Ulmer has been named interim head coach. Coach Ulmer is an outstanding coach and mentor for our student-athletes. He has a great connection to our current student-athletes and is well-regarded in the volleyball community.”
Ulmer, who was a D-III All-American at Carthage College in Wisconsin, was promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach after the 2015 season. Ulmer went to Oregon in 2014 after spending seven seasons at Long Beach State, five of which were served as a full-time assistant. He was also the sand volleyball program’s head coach and took Long Beach to the 2013 national championship.
Earlier this week the Oregon student newspaper the Daily Emerald reported that Moore and Metro had been fired. Moore said Tuesday morning, “I can’t say anything yet because we’re in the middle of negotiations.”
Meeker told VolleyballMag.com on Tuesday, “At this time, the only thing I can tell you is that yesterday’s reports stating that he and Stacy had been terminated are incorrect. They are both still employees at Oregon.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Eugene Register-Guard had a story by Chris Hansen that quoted a letter signed by a number of former Oregon players who came to Moore’s defense. The article included:
“ … in a copy of a letter written this week to university president Michael Schill and obtained by The Register-Guard, several former players suggest Moore is being unfairly forced to resign amid accusations of mentally abusive behavior toward his players — accusations they say don’t reflect the coach they know.
“His tenure has made me proud to refer to myself as an Oregon volleyball student and athlete,” wrote Kristen (Forristall) Rott, in a letter co-signed by 17 former players, including All-Americans Liz Brenner, Sonja Newcombe, Martenne Bettendorf and eight members of the 2012 team that played for the national championship.
Rott, whose senior season was 2008, described Moore as “an excellent coach, man of integrity, and educational leader.”
“(His) student-athletes learned discipline, accountability, leadership, respect, self- worth, confidence, and courage,” wrote Rott, now a teacher and volleyball coach at Wilsonville High School. “His character, his integrity, his work ethic, nor his intentions toward the University of Oregon have been called into question until now.”
At least one player from every year of Moore’s Oregon career signed the letter, with the exception of anyone from the 2016 team, which went 21-10 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament where it lost to No. 17 Michigan in four sets.
Rott suggested it is the current players who have rallied against Moore, and she was careful not to be dismissive of their complaints.
“The purpose of this letter is not to void their opinions,” she wrote. “The opinions they express are real to them. However, I would like to give you additional opinions from more than one cohort of athletes. The purpose is to more accurately describe his character.”