Holy Cross High School didn’t have to look far to find its next girls basketball coach.
The school announced on Wednesday evening that it has named former player Olivia Moore as its new girls basketball coach, following the departure of Chris Jefferson to Oldham County High School this spring.
“With her being an assistant the past two years, she was definitely a candidate that we were seriously considering,” said Holy Cross Athletics Director Jody Thornsberry, adding that it helps that Moore is familiar with the school and feeder system from Catholic grade schools. “Once we opened it up we felt like she was the best person for the job.”
For Moore, it’s a job that she said she’s been hoping for ever since graduating from Holy Cross.
“This job is my dream job,” Moore said. “I literally walked in these girls’ shoes. I had some of the same teachers, walked through the same halls, wore the same colors, and represented the same school. And to have the opportunity to pass along all of the knowledge I have gained from my past coaches and mentors to these girls is truly an honor.”
Moore has deep roots at Holy Cross. She starred for the Cougars from 2006-2010 as a power forward and center, using her height and ability to lead her team to three All “A” State Tournaments, four district titles, and a runners-up finish in the 2010 All “A” Tournament. The 6-foot-2-inch Moore scored more than 1,000 points in her four years on varsity. Following her high school career, Moore played for Brescia University, an NAIA school, from 2010-2014.
But last season, with Johnson in charge and Moore in her second year as an assistant coach, Holy Cross went 13-15 and failed to win the 21st District for the first time in 10 years. Both Moore and Thornsberry said the goal for the team in the future is to compete for regional titles every season.
“Our hopes are high. Realistic but high,” Moore said. “I know we aren’t going to go out and win a state championship right out of the gate, but we will be competitors. My ultimate goal is to get this Holy Cross team back on the map and for the Lady Cougars to get the respect and the recognition they deserve.”
The Cougars lost four players from last year’s squad, including star guard Olivia Morabito and her 18.5 points per game, but they return a number of players expected to step up next season; Rising senior forward Beth Newton averaged 6.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, rising junior guard Kailey Reed averaged 3.8 points per game, and rising junior forward Halle Snyder averaged 3.2 points per game.
Thornsberry said she believes a lack of depth throughout the squad is the only thing right now keeping Holy Cross from rivaling Butler and Bullitt East at the top of the sixth region power rankings.
“We have a good foundation of juniors and seniors and a good group of young girls,” Thornsberry said. “We don’t have great depth, I think that’s the key we’re lacking for a sixth region title, I think we have a talented group of young ladies, but we just need more.”
In the coming days following the July dead period mandated by the KHSAA, Moore will meet with her team in her new capacity, and over the coming months, she and Thornsberry will put together the rest of the coaching staff. And despite of all the lost scoring from last year’s team, Moore is confident that her first season as a head coach can be a special one.