Youth Mentors: Coach Mike Moran
Coach Moran discusses strategy with his players and coaches at John Carroll University.
By Mary Flenner
If you were involved in the world of Cleveland youth basketball anytime over the last four decades, you probably recognize the name Mike Moran.
Moran was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020. With a prolific coaching career at St. Joseph High School (now Villa Angela St. Joseph), John Carroll University, and over 40 years of training youth at his Mike Moran Basketball Camps, he is one of the most renowned basketball coaches in Cleveland.
“I’m a Cleveland native. Growing up I played high school basketball and football at St. Joe’s and played football at Xavier. I guess I wasn’t tall enough to be a good basketball player,” he laughs.
He looks back on what inspired him to get into coaching and says, “I think a lot of it was instilled by my dad. He was the athletic director of our elementary school, St. Catherine, when it was still around. I was lucky to have an older brother who let his little brother come around and play with the big kids. When you’re in that position playing with older kids it improves your position and attitude toward the game.”
“I’ve also been blessed with a lot of good coaches. Tom Banks and Bob Anderle were pretty influential and competitive. Being a part of a good high school that had a great winning tradition was important. Competition was great back then. I went to an all-boys Catholic School with over 2,000 boys in the school. It was a tremendous accomplishment just to make a team. More than 200 kids would try out for freshman football and over 100 would go out for basketball. It was very competitive. You had to be very dedicated and devoted to your game.”
Moran started coaching basketball at Cincinnati Elder High School after he graduated college, but quickly returned to his alma mater, St Joseph High School, where he was the head basketball coach for 11 years.
“I left St. Joe’s in 1992 after winning the state championship in 1991 and 1992. When we won the state championship in 1991 it was the first time a Cleveland area team had won in about 50 years.”
At St. Joseph his teams won nine district championships, four regional championships and two state championships. After he left St. Joseph High School, he went on to be the head basketball coach at John Carroll University, where he racked up 460 wins to just 230 losses. Moran led John Carroll University to 14 OAC titles, 12 trips to the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament and one Final Four appearance.
Through the years he coached many players who later went on to play professionally, including Clark Kellogg, Elvis Grbac, Kevin Edwards, Stan Kimbro, Eric Riley, Travis and Jason Kelce, and Desmond Howard, who won the Heisman Trophy and then later won the Super Bowl MVP award.
Moran says he keeps in touch with many of his old players, including Elvis Grbac, London Fletcher and Clark Kellogg.
“We’re very, very proud to be able to say that these guys came to our camps and knew them back when they were youth. It was great to watch them get better and better and blossom into professional athletes.”
Which brings us back to the camps.
Soon after he returned to the Cleveland area and took the St. Joseph head coaching job, he started the Moran Basketball Camps, which at 40+ years are one of the longest running basketball camps in northeast Ohio.
“Our purpose was to offer an affordable camp that the average family could afford. Our goal was to make this a teaching camp where campers learned the game not just played it. Coach Bob “Baron” Straub and Clark Kellogg were early organizers who deserve a lot of credit.
“All of our camp instructors are guys who have been head coaches and other successful coaches. The type of people who have made their living coaching basketball. We take a lot of pride in the amount of instruction we offer. Our camp is really geared to kids who love basketball. We’re going to break down the game and teach it to them. We’re able to work with kids with higher level. Since 1978 till the present, we have instructed over 20,000 boys and girls.”
The camps run each summer for boys and girls ages 6–14 and are open to players of all levels. They are held at the Lost Nation Sport Park in Willoughby. Call (440) 338-8092 or visit
MoranCamps.com for more information or to sign your child up today.
Coach Moran has also coached golf for John Carroll for 29 years, a team which also boasts a successful record with national rankings as high as third and fourth in the country. “I’m very proud of our team’s accomplishments. I’m just a very average golfer myself but over the years we’ve had a lot of All-Americans and have a great program.”
Aside from coaching golf and leading his basketball camp, he stays busy with his six children and 20 grandchildren. Basketball remains a family affair for many of them.
Sons Pete and Pat Moran are the head and assistant coaches at John Carroll, respectively. His son Matt Moran is Lake Catholic’s head basketball coach. His daughter Bridget also played basketball. Moran’s grandson Luke Chicone is nominated for the 2021 Mr. Ohio basketball award as a player at Mentor High School. “He’s an outstanding player, we’re very proud of him,” Mike shares.
Mike even met his wife JoAnn, through basketball. “Her father was a coach. I met her through playing for her father Pat Flowers, he was kind of a legend in Cleveland when it came to CYO sports.”
“Coaching is a very rewarding job. There’s no better feeling than to work hard in preparation for games, and for the season, and having it come true. There are a lot of sleepless nights you have when you lose a game or things don’t go well. But I’ve been blessed, I’ve had a lot of great talented kids. I think I’m the most spoiled coach ever in the Cleveland area.”