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College roundup: Gay coach comes out publicly to increase LGBT visibility in sports

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Northwestern swimming coach Jesse Moore talks publicly for the first time about being gay.

Jesse Moore recently joined the Northwestern swimming and diving team as associate head coach.

EVANSTON, Illinois — After two years coaching swimming at the College of William & Mary, Jesse Moore had an interview to join the Duke coaching staff in 2012.

Moore, who grew up in Hershey, Pa., had been open about being gay with everyone in his life since his freshman year of college. But that three-hour drive south from Williamsburg, Va., to Durham, N.C., felt like a momentous gap as far as LGBT acceptance.

He questioned how he would be received until he pulled into the parking lot at the Duke pool and saw head coach Dan Colella’s car.

“His bumper sticker on his car said, ‘The Tea Party is a nice way of saying a group of racists and homophobes.’ I was like, ‘OK, I am going to be good here,’” Moore said.

Moore got the job and spent four years as a Duke men’s and women’s swimming assistant coach. In September, he accepted the position of associate head coach for Northwestern women’s swimming, which has started this season 5-0.

This marks Moore’s fourth landing place coaching college swimming, and he’s been open with his teams about his sexuality all along the way. This is the first time he’s talked about it publicly.

“We have a social responsibility to be open with our student athletes because that’s life and that’s our education system,” Moore said. “Nothing will change if somebody doesn’t step forward.”

Moore joins Stanford diving coach Patrick Jeffrey and Michigan assistant diving coach Jamie Bissett as publicly out college swimming and diving coaches. Moore says he knows of many other LGBT coaches, so he decided to organize an LGBT coaches panel for this year’s College Swimming Coaches Association of American annual conference, which is in May in San Diego.

He wants to help athletes and coaches feel the acceptance he has enjoyed.

“I never really felt discriminated against much ever in my entire life,” the 31-year-old Moore said. “I feel a little bit more comfortable wearing things on my sleeve and being open and honest about who I am and pushing for things like the CSCAA to have a gay coaches panel.”

Moore, who is 6-feet tall, swam at William & Mary from 2004-08. He told a few people that he is gay before college, but it was as a college freshman that he started opening up about being gay. The Tribe men’s swimming team embraced him and asked to throw him a Coming Out Party.

While working on a master’s degree at Drexel, Moore started coaching Drexel swimming in 2009. At that time, he also did an internship in Philadelphia at the Attic Youth Center, which serves LGBTQ youth. There he started to see the extreme struggles some kids experience being LGBT.

That helped Moore realize the importance of LGBT visibility. As Moore received more recruiting responsibilities at Duke and Northwestern, he made diversity a topic he discussed in the first conversation with any potential recruit.

“Whether it’s religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation … if someone is not cool with that then don’t come to our team,” Moore said.

When he arrived at Northwestern this season, he made sure to be open about who he is with his new athletes.

“It’s really important for everyone to know who I am,” Moore said of his approach to telling the Northwestern team he is gay. “I’m not the type of person to walk up to someone, ‘Hey, I’m Jesse. I’m gay.’ … I am who I am. If you hear me say that I think Anderson Cooper is a good-looking man then you can assume I’m attracted to men.”

Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBT.

Division I

Kendall Covington (junior, Penn women’s volleyball) helped the Quakers (10-12 overall, 5-5 Ivy League) go 2-1 the last two weeks, and her best match came in Friday’s 3-0 win against Harvard with eight kills, two digs, a solo block and an assist.

Tim Cox (senior, Yale men’s cross country) achieved a personal record by 15 seconds at the CCSU Mini Meet on Oct. 21 by completing the 5-kilometer course in 15 minutes, 38.4 seconds to finish 28th and help the team take third place. Cox did not run at Saturday’s Ivy League Championship.

Mason Darrow (senior, Princeton football) returned to action against Harvard on Oct. 22 but as a reserve after missing the Brown game the previous week. Darrow resumed starting at center in Saturday’s 56-7 win at Cornell.

Chandler Frumin (junior, Tennessee women’s rowing) helped the women’s Varsity 8 to victory Oct. 22 at the Secret City Head Race in 18:02.3 to open the fall season.

Connor Griffin (sophomore, Fordham men’s swimming) did not compete Oct. 20 due to illness. Griffin opened his season in a three-team home meet Friday, and he won the 200-yard backstroke (1:59.61) and took third in the 100 backstroke (56.05 seconds). On Saturday in a dual against Boston, Griffin’s best finish of four events was fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:49.81).

Hannah Griffiths Boston (junior, Portland women’s soccer) scored her team-leading eighth goal of the season Oct. 21 in a 2-0 win against Pacific and started again the next game, but she has not played the last two games for the Pilots (9-6-3 overall) because of an injury. Team spokesman Adam Linnman said there is no timetable for her return.

Liam Huffman (senior, George Washington men’s swimming) snared two second-place finishes Saturday against Howard in the 200 freestyle (1:46.98) and the 1,000 freestyle (10:02.23).

Nick Jessee (senior, St. Louis men’s swimming) captured first-, second-, and third-place finishes in the 400 freestyle relay, 1,000 freestyle, and 500 freestyle, respectively, during a dual meet with Western Illinois on Oct. 21. Earned first, second and third in a dual Oct. 22 with McKendree in the 200 freestyle relay, 100 freestyle, and 200 freestyle, respectively. On Oct. 29-30 in a three-team meet with LaSalle and St. Bonaventure, he helped the 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay finish second, and of his three individual events, Jessee’s best finish was sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:45.76).

Sonia Johnson (junior, DePaul women’s soccer) saw her team go 2-1 the last two weeks to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament. The DePaul coach used more than one reserve in one of those three games, so Johnson has not played the last two weeks. DePaul plays in a Big East Tournament semifinal on Nov. 4. FS1 is scheduled to broadcast the Big East championship at noon ET on Nov. 6.

Cory Moreno (junior, Old Dominion men’s diving) earned Coastal Collegiate Sports Association Diver of the Week on Oct. 18 after winning the 3-meter springboard and taking second in 1-meter during a dual Oct. 14-15 with UNC-Wilmington.

Austin Parrish (senior, Eastern Illinois men’s swimming) finished eighth in the 200 individual medley Oct. 21 at IUPUI, but an ailment forced him to withdraw from his other races. He remained unable to compete in Saturday’s meet.

EJ Proctor (junior, Duke women’s soccer) went 1-3 with her team the last two weeks, including Sunday’s loss in penalty kicks against No. 5-ranked/No. 6-seeded Florida State during the ACC tournament quarterfinals. Duke (12-4-3 overall) was the No. 3 seed and ranked No. 6 nationally. Proctor recorded a career-high 10 saves in Sunday’s loss. The NCAA tournament field will be announced Nov. 7.

Cavender Salvadori (redshirt junior, William & Mary men’s cross country) helped the Tribe men’s cross country team capture its 17th consecutive Colonial Athletic Association championship by finishing sixth on the team and 10th overall in the 8-kilometer race (25:46.29). By finishing in the race’s top 12, Salvadori earned all-CAA honors.

Max Showalter (sophomore, Purdue men’s diving) finished fourth in both springboard competitions in a dual with Miami (Ohio) on Oct. 21, and he again finished fourth in both springboard events at the Indiana Intercolletiate on Oct. 22. At Notre Dame on Friday, Showalter took fifth on 3-meter springboard and sixth on 1-meter.

Jack Thorne (sophomore, Northwestern men’s swimming) finished seventh in the 200 backstroke (1:56.23) and helped the 200 medley relay take fourth in a four-team meet Oct. 22. Thorne helped the 200 medley relay get fifth Friday at N.C. State along with seventh individually in the two backstroke races. His best finish in three events Saturday at Duke was fifth in the 200 backstroke (1:57.89).

Kenzie Tillitt (senior, Colorado women’s soccer) played as a reserve in three of four games the last two weeks as the Buffaloes went 2-2. No. 22-ranked Colorado (14-5 overall, 8-2 Pac-12) sits third in the Pac-12 with one game remaining after losing to No. 4 Southern California 3-0 on Sunday.

James Finley (head coach, Seattle women’s volleyball) went 2-2 with his team the last two weeks. The Redhawks (12-12, 5-6 WAC) sit sixth in the eight-team conference with three home matches remaining before the conference tournament.

Lee-J Mirasolo (assistant coach, Harvard women’s hockey) saw her team go 1-2 to open the season with a season-opening win against Dartmouth before losses to a pair of top-10 ranked teams.

Jessica Smith (assistant coach, Kansas State women’s soccer) ended its season Oct. 20 with a 2-0 loss to Illinois State. The Wildcats (4-9-3 overall) finished their inaugural season without losing a game by more than two goals.

Division II

Austin Olivares (senior, Lindenwood men’s swimming) opened his season in a four-team home meet Oct. 22 with an 11th place in the 200 freestyle (1:47.12) and 14th in the 100 butterfly (54.66 seconds).

Noah Ratliff (sophomore, Mercyhurst men’s water polo) played in all six games the last two weeks as the Lakers went 2-4 to end the regular season. Ratliff scored two goals in the 10-5 win against Salem International on Oct. 23, and he scored a goal in the 13-11 overtime loss to Gannon also on Oct. 23.

Division III

Chloe Anderson (junior, UC Santa Cruz women’s volleyball) saw the Banana Slugs (10-12 overall) go 2-0 the last two weeks. She did not play in either match.

Chris Cassingham (junior, Mary Washington men’s swimming) opened his season with second-, third-, and fourth-place finishes in his events Friday against Frostburg State with his best finish the 500 freestyle (5:09.00). On Saturday against Randolph Macon, he earned a win in the 1,000 freestyle (10:45.99) in his only individual event. Ricardo Vazquez (sophomore, Mary Washington men’s swimming) is spending the year in Germany, and he said he plans to return to the Eagles next season.

Alec Donovan (sophomore, Centenary men’s cross country) finished 37th (34:55.5) during Saturday’s 8-kilometer Colonial States Athletics Conference Championships as the Cyclones’ men’s team took fifth in the 10-team field.

Jason Hadley (sophomore, Mount Union men’s cross country) and Josh Thorne (sophomore, Mount Union men’s cross country) helped the Raiders men’s team to a second-place finish at the Ohio Athletic Conference Championships. Thorne finished 22nd (26:59.6), and Hadley came in 72nd (28:36.0).

Sam Johnson (freshman, Whittier men’s soccer) played in two of the last three games as the Poets went 1-2, and he played both games as a reserve. Whittier (4-13-1 overall) ended the season Saturday.

Ryan LaVigne (sophomore, Lewis & Clark women’s rowing) opened the fall season Oct. 22 during the Charlie Brown Regatta. Lewis & Clark doesn’t include in press releases which boats athletes compete in during competitions.

Michael Martin (sophomore, Wilson men’s soccer) did not play as the Phoenix went 1-1 the last two weeks. Wilson (6-9-2 overall) finished the season Sunday. Martin played goalie in nine games and made 25 saves this season.

Taylor Reifert (sophomore, Lawrence men’s soccer) started all three games the last two weeks as the Vikings went 1-2. Reifert scored a goal in a loss to Monmouth on Oct. 22, and he had a goal and an assist against Ripon on Oct. 25. Lawrence (6-10-1 overall) ended the season Saturday. Reifert scored a team-high eight goals this season and was tied for third on the team with four assists.

NAIA

David Gilbert (senior, Lewis-Clark men’s cross country) took 37th (29:51.1) during the 8-kilometer University of Great Falls Open on Oct. 21.

Jesse Taylor (redshirt junior, Dakota Wesleyan men’s basketball) said he has decided “to be done” playing the sport collegiately. The team opened the season Friday.

Jesse Moore can be found on Instagram or Twitter @CoachJesseMoore.

Erik Hall can be reached via email at hallerik7@gmail.com or on Twitter @HallErik or on Facebook. If you are an out LGBT athlete or coach and want your accomplishments recognized, please email Erik.