Fairfield Now - Summer 2008
Class of '85 profile
Patrice Wallace-Moore: Faith, Family, and Free Throws
By Meredith Guinness
(l-r) Shireyll Moore, former Stag Head Coach Dianne Nolan, and Patrice Wallace-Moore '85
Patrice Wallace-Moore's mother has a nickname for her daughter - Butterfly.
"She says I never land on a flower long enough to do anything but smell it and move on," says Wallace-Moore '85, laughing. "I keep busy. But I'm a woman of faith and I believe God gives me the energy needed to do what I need to do."
She's been drawing on that energy since she was a student at Fairfield, a psychology major juggling classes and social activities with a spot on the Fairfield Stags basketball team coached by her early mentor, Dianne Nolan. In fact, Nolan is the reason Wallace-Moore - fresh from clinching the 1981 New York state championship with her Mt. Vernon High School team - chose to come to Fairfield. Years later, she was overjoyed when her own daughter, Shireyll '09, won a spot on Fairfield's squad.
Wallace-Moore said she often thinks of Nolan when she meets a challenge at work, serving as chief executive officer of Arms Acres Inc., a Carmel, N.Y.-based, 146-bed drug and alcohol treatment center with 10 clinics across New York City and the surrounding counties. "When people think they're pushing me, I think they're not nearly as hard on me as Dianne Nolan was," she says with admiration. "What she gave me - the whole team - was the push. She taught us to fight through adversity. What she taught me as a player made me a better woman."
Wallace-Moore is living the Jesuit ideal of being a woman for others. She and her husband, former NBA player Lowes Moore, are both ordained ministers at Emmanuel Pentecostal Faith Temple in their hometown of Mt. Vernon, where she is also choir director. And she's back at her old high school, having taken the girls' varsity team to the county championships during three of her five years as head coach. They made both the semifinals and the quarterfinals once, too.
Basketball is a family affair for Wallace-Moore. At Mt. Vernon, she's coached Shireyll and is now coaching her niece. Her eldest child, Michelle, who graduated from Manhattanville College this month, was a cheerleader and now coaches the Mt. Vernon cheerleaders. And Wallace-Moore freely admits to being "the loudest parent cheering for all the girls" at Stags games.
Her husband, now the executive director of the Mt. Vernon Boys' and Girls' Club, played six years in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and three years in the NBA - for the New Jersey Nets, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the San Diego Clippers. Their teenage son, Lowes III, plays varsity tennis - and played basketball. And her youngest, 12-year-old Isaiah, who was born with spina bifida, plays wheelchair basketball with the nationally ranked Long Island Lightning. "We're a basketball family," says Wallace-Moore with conviction.
She credits shared passions - serving the church, helping others, and basketball - with fostering strong family values. Providing an example is crucial to raising healthy, happy children, she says. One Christmas, for example, the family decided to forgo presents and instead provided gifts and holiday trimmings for a family in need. "It taught them the value of not what they got, but what they gave," she says. "The more kids see you participate and work hard, ultimately, the more encouragement you give them to do right."
Wallace-Moore, who received her MSW from SUNY, Albany, has consulted on The Montel Williams Show and taken her common sense wisdom on the road through public speaking. She's very busy, but she believes her work and ministry are worth the time. "Sometimes I say we pay mortgage to be in the house just to sleep," she jokes. "But it's worth it. The rewards outweigh the costs."