The college basketball family grieves for a beloved colleague.
46-year-old Jennifer Moore and her 9-year-old daughter Jaidyn were killed on Saturday morning in a crash involving a vehicle traveling the wrong way near Ann Arbor, Michigan.
They are the wife and daughter of Wisconsin Badgers assistant basketball coach Howard Moore.
The vehicle that struck them was traveling westbound on the eastbound lane of a major highway. Jaidyn was pronounced dead at the scene while Jennifer died while in transit to University of Michigan Hospital and was taken off life support on Saturday.
Howard and his 13-year-old son Jerell survived with non-life threatening injuries and were also treated at U-M Hospital.
According to the Detroit News, 23-year-old Samantha Winchester, was driving the vehicle that struck the Moore family’s car. Winchester was also killed and a toxicology report is pending.
Moore has been coaching for 20 years and had been an assistant at Wisconsin from 2005 to 2010 before returning in 2015.
Moore, a native of Chicago who attended Taft High School in the city’s public school league, played his college ball at the University of Wisconsin. He started his college coaching career after graduating from Wisconsin as an assistant at the University of Chicago in 1998. He then went on to become an assistant at Bradley for three years, Ball State and Loyola of Chicago in subsequent seasons.
He was the head coach at the University of Illinois Chicago from 2010-2015.
Oftentimes, we never know who an assistant coach is in big time team sports. Their faces tend to blend into the background as the light of scrutiny, as well as the spoils of victory, are rained down upon the head coach and players.
But behind the scenes, the assistant coaches are the ones who run the team on a day-to-day basis, often mentoring, tutoring and leading players down the path to becoming mature, conscientious members of society.
Within his own household as a husband and a father of two young children, the level of pain being suffered by the Moore family right now is beyond comprehension.
The New Orleans Pelicans suffered through a similar tragedy when head coach Monty Williams lost his wife Ingrid in a similar accident in 2016 where a driver crossed over from a lane travelling in the opposite direction and hit her car head-on.
Though sincere, the outpouring of love and support will always pale in comparison to the senseless loss of life.
Moore was a Badgers assistant under Bo Ryan and remained on the staff under Greg Gard upon Ryan’s departure in 2016.
He is a Wisconsin alum who graduated in 1995, and played 47 games for the team during his college career.
Jennifer’s philanthropic endeavors in Madison, Wisconsin were well known through the Moore Foundation, which was founded by the family to give back to the community.
She also started a social media campaign to help a pregnant mother in November.
Wisconsin basketball coach Greg Gard released a statement saying the school is grieving the devastating losses.
“Our basketball program is an extremely close family and we are all grieving for the Moore and Barnes families. Howard is so much more than a colleague and coach,” the statement read. “He and Jen and their children are dear friends to everyone they meet. Their positive and energy lift up those around them. We will miss Jen and Jaidyn dearly and we will put our arms around Howard and Jerell and the entire family, giving them love and support during this unspeakable time.”