Staying or going?
As expected, folks got real interested in N.C. Central coach LeVelle Moton after he guided the Eagles to their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa State beat NCCU 93-75 in the second round of the Big Dance back in March. That game was in the same AT&T Center where the San Antonio heat melted Miami the other night in the NBA Finals.
NCCU this past season won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament. That’s how the Eagles got into the NCAA Tournament and was the school’s first team title on the Division-I level.
Moton’s aura was getting bigger and bigger.
“It's a difference between looking for jobs and listening for jobs,” Moton said Friday after he was honored as a distinguished alumnus at Raleigh's Daniels Middle School, his alma mater. “North Carolina Central and my agent, they've been in contact, and I’ve really stayed out of those discussions and tried to enjoy myself and just go recruit and stay out in the community, and when it happens, it happens.”
Moton gave similar advice to a Daniels student, an aspiring singer, who asked the coach to tell him when his budding dream would come true.
Don’t chase the dream, Moton counseled the kid. Just live and do right, and things have a way of falling in place, Moton said.
Before this past season, Moton, responding to a question about one of his players who transferred to Colorado State, said both players and coaches alike at historically black colleges desire to play and coach at higher levels.
Moton’s success opened some of those doors after the NCAA Tournament.
“Some NBA teams called. Some college teams called. Some (athletics directors),” Moton said. “So you just listen. I think you owe it to yourself just to listen as a professional — as a young professional in the business, because it changes ever so often.
“I love who I am and my team and my staff and the kids, so we'll see what happens,” the coach continued. “Money is not the luring factor for me, because I've been broke far longer than I ever had $3 in my pocket. Everything that comes across the board, my wife and I, we sit down and talk, and if it's in the best interest of our family, we'll entertain it.”
NCCU spokeswoman Ayana Hernandez said Moton did not get a pay raise after the Eagles' very successful flight this past season.
There are incentives in Moton's contract that put extra money in his pocket when he hits various benchmarks.
Moton was due $10,000 after NCCU won the MEAC Tournament and got into NCAA Tournament. He was the coach of the year in the MEAC, and that earned him another $1,500.
NCCU finished the season with a 28-6 record. A 20-win regular season put an extra $2,000 in Moton’s bank account. The Eagles actually won 20 games in a row before losing to Iowa State.
The five-year contract Moton signed in 2009 was to pay him $100,000 a year.
In April 2012, NCCU officials agreed to both increase Moton’s annual salary to $140,000 and add an extra year to his contract.
Herald-Sun sports writer John McCann on Twitter is @johntmccann; email him at email@example.com.