BY: Shawn O’Brate

ETHETE – Aleta Moss, the Wyoming Indian Lady Chiefs basketball coach, has been succeeding in the sport for years and years, bringing her team to three straight 2A State Basketball Championships before placing third last year. 

Moss, who has done much more than coach basketball over the past 34 years, has been honored now with plenty of awards but on Wednesday night the Lady Chiefs’ coach was honored with one of the biggest and brightest trophies one can receive.

The National High School Basketball Coaches Association (NHSBCA) selected Moss as their recipient for the inaugural NHSBCA Wooden Legacy Coaching Award. The award goes to two coaches per state, the other being Stu Mullins from Lander Valley, making Moss the first woman to receive this prestigious award in the state of Wyoming.

This Wooden Legacy Coaching Award remembers the life of John R. Wooden, a well-respected and devoted basketball coach that changed lives on and off the court which is why Moss was the perfect candidate for the 2022 award. 

School district #14 superintendent Stephanie Zickefoose congratulated Wyoming Indian girls basketball head coach Aletta Moss as she received the John Wooden Award. Moss is the winningest coach in Wyoming State history and she is the first to win the John Wooden Award. (p/c Carl Cote)

Moss was selected because she has made it a point in her life to help anyone and everyone she meets, whether on the court or in the school or in her community, through any means necessary. In fact, Moss fully embodies the qualifications and qualities that go with the Wooden Legacy Coaching Award: Education, Longevity, Character, Service, and Excellence.

She has devoted her career to teaching others (education), she has stayed the course and made an impact over a long period of time (longevity), she has been a model of doing the right things the right way (character), she has always focused on things bigger than herself (service), and she has accomplished the highest success she can on the basketball court (excellence). 

The Wyoming Indian school Activities Director, Keith Bauder, who has known Moss since working together in the mid-to-late 90s said “if anyone deserves this award it’s [Moss].”

“She’s an outstanding person, a quality person, that does a lot of things for kids all around the area, not just on the court,” Bauder continued, “She’s a go-getter and she totally deserves this award.”

Aleta Moss posed for a photo with her assistant coaches and former players (L-R) Jasmine Bowstring, Aleta Moss, Josephine Friday, Lavita White Eagle (p/c Carl Cote)

When asked about the award she was receiving Coach Moss said:

“I was surprised, it was unexpected…I express gratitude to the Wooden Family for the award. I have had great Assistant Coaches and colleagues including the Boy’s Basketball staff who have supported our teams and have been an inspiration.”

Coach Moss was surrounded by former players, her assistant coaches, and her colleagues at Wyoming Indian High School when she received the award and it obviously got to her just a little as she teared up just before taking pictures with her assistant coaches.

Congratulations Coach Moss! And good luck on another successful basketball season this upcoming Winter!