Last night I reported that part of the motivation for Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden in his futile pursuit of Purdue coach Matt Painter was former Missouri senior associate AD and current SIU Athletic Director Mario Moccia’s optimistic view - expressed to Alden - of Mizzou’s chances of landing Painter as its next basketball coach.
(SbB Report Confirmed; AD Claims Painter Coveted Mizzou ‘nearly year ago’)
Following my report, Moccia confirmed his involvement in the process to KANSAS CITY STAR reporter Mike DeArmond while also providing insight into what he may have communicated to Alden about former SIU coach Painter.
Moccia didn’t ask to go off the record. He admitted he knew about Painter’s interest in Missouri, that interest expressed to Moccia nearly a year previously while Mike Anderson was still the MU coach.
Moccia told me he was asked by Missouri to furhter (sic) help in its investigation of Painter that resulted in talks about Painter coming to Missouri.
Moccia did that because of his still-close relationship with Alden. “I love the guy,” Moccia said.
If Moccia’s claim, that Painter indeed had “expressed interest … nearly a year ago” in being the head basketball coach at Missouri is true, that goes a long way to explaining why Mizzou was so aggressive.
That may also be news to Purdue as it continues to gauge Painter’s loyalty quotient going forward.