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Kashif Moore on returning to UConn as an assistant coach
The former Husky captain spent some time in the NFL before getting into coaching and is now back at his alma mater.
From last year to this year, Jim Mora’s staff has stayed mostly intact. The only new guys in major roles are at the running back and wide receiver assistant positions, and the new WR coach is a familiar face: former Husky receiver and captain Kashif Moore.
“It’s almost unreal to come into work every day and walk into this facility that I was once in, I’m super grateful,” Moore said after a recent practice. “At this level, a lot of coaches don’t get the opportunity to come back home or go back to their alma mater.”
Moore played at UConn from 2008 to 2011 and was part of the best Husky teams in the program’s FBS history, serving as a captain in his final season. He also won multiple Big East championships as a member of the indoor and outdoor track teams in Storrs.
Originally from Burlington, New Jersey, Moore is a typical kind of UConn football player: overlooked and undersized with a sharp competitive edge. He posted 1,699 receiving yards with 13 touchdowns in four seasons on teams that were incredibly run-heavy, making three bowl appearances with two wins.
Though he was not picked in the NFL Draft, Moore signed with the Indianapolis Colts in the fall of 2012 as a practice squad player and later signed contracts with the Steelers, Texans, and Chiefs. When he was cut by the Chiefs in 2016, the leadership of that franchise recommended he pursue coaching.
Moore admits that this career path was not on his mind at the time.
“Throughout my playing career I never really thought about it,” he said. The conversation with Chiefs leadership planted the seed, he explained, but Moore didn’t start his first coaching job until three years later.
That was at Conard High in West Hartford, under Matt Cersosimo, his former WR coach at UConn who was an assistant for the Huskies from 2006-2013 before taking the Conard job.
Moore said once he got there, he “knew right away” that coaching was right for him.
He quickly landed a job at the college level, joining Division III Wesleyan in 2020 and then moving up to Division 1 to coach running backs at Cornell in 2021. He started at the University of Albany the next year, where coached receivers on the No. 15 passing attack in FCS before joining Mora’s staff. His recruiting areas for the Huskies are Central and South New Jersey as well as Philadelphia and Delaware.
Though it’s his first FBS job, Moore brings a ton of legitimacy to the role.
“I think it helps my word resonate with these players,” Moore said, of his NFL and UConn experience, “having them understand I once sat in that meeting room, I’ve shed my blood, sweat, and tears on this practice field, at the Rent, in the weight room.”
Beyond just having a strong pedigree, Moore’s coaching experience at different levels has helped him out, he says.
“Starting out coaching at the high school level really helped me, because you have to know what motivates these young men,” he said. “With that experience, I'm able to share my knowledge and my experience playing at the highest level.”
One of the newest members of the team, New Mexico transfer Geordon Porter, agrees.
“You’ve got a guy that’s played in the league for several years, so as a receiver I’ve gotta have open ears with him,” Porter said, adding that Moore is “very detail-oriented.”
Porter, who started his college career at Arizona State, is one of many incoming transfers on this year’s roster vying for playing time. The receivers in particular have been bolstered by new additions, including Porter as well as Brett Buckman and James Burns from FCS schools Delaware and Austin Peay, respectively.
They join a room headlined by Cam Ross, 2019’s breakout star who is returning from two years of injuries, and Keven Clercius, last year’s leading returning receiver, at just 288 yards. Last year’s top receiver, Aaron Turner (and his 527 receiving yards), transferred to Cincinnati.
“No starters are set at the moment,” Moore said, though he did say that the transfers will be “valuable assets to the passing game.”
He specifically named Buckman as a standout through camp, saying he’s “been great.” Mora and teammates have said the same of the Delaware transfer who’s originally from New Jersey, where he played at St. Joseph’s High.
“He’s been in multiple systems, he’s very cerebral, picked up the offense right away, and he can play multiple positions,” Moore said.
UConn’s new WR coach also named a redshirt freshman, Kylish Hicks, as someone who’s “made a lot of plays” and continued to improve after being involved in spring practice. We’ve highlighted Hicks’ potential as well.
This group is also hoping for a boost from Ross’ return. Offensive coordinator Nick Charlton suggested that he would be a starter and Moore called the St. John’s College High (DC) product “a great leader for us in the room.”
“I told him Day 1, when I got hired, that I’m gonna look to him for that leadership…he has a lot of experience, a lot of adversity that others can learn from.”
In terms of how the group as a whole will be different from last year, Moore points to increased versatility as well as “the ability to make a big play.”
With a true freshman QB and many injuries across the board, UConn’s passing attack was not at its best in 2022. With an improvement in talent, depth, and health, we should see a lot of different guys get involved and have plenty of reason to believe in a big jump in overall productivity for the receivers this season.
It’ll also be nice for fans to see a former Husky standout leading this group.