The sudden death of Mike Moser, beloved member and reigning national scoring leader of the 1974-75 Waterloo Warriors men’s basketball team, brought his teammates together in a way that will be forever remembered.

“When we lost Mike, it gave us more purpose. It really drew everyone in together. We had a commitment to win it for Mike,” says Phil Schlote (MSc ’78), a Faculty of Applied Health Sciences alumnus who played alongside Mike, both with the Warriors and at Kitchener’s Forest Heights Collegiate Institute.

After Mike’s death, the Warriors finished their regular season with 11 straight league victories and another Ontario championship. Then came two decisive victories in the national quarter- and semifinals, setting up a national championship showdown with the University of Manitoba Bisons. The Warriors took the win.

Today's students continue the legacy

More than 40 years later, Mike’s legacy continues in our campus community, providing support and opportunity to the student-athletes who came after him. The Mike Moser Memorial Award is just one of the ways that we honour his life. The annual scholarship is awarded to a student-athlete with exceptional talent, academic success and contributions to their team.

One of the exceptional recipients of the award is Kristian Vandekemp (BASc ’19), a former student-athlete. Like many others, Kristian chose Waterloo’s mechanical engineering program for the valuable co-op experience. Being part of the men’s basketball team was a huge support as he worked through the challenging academic program and work terms.

“My first year was definitely the toughest,” he says. “I didn't have anywhere near the work habits that I needed. But it was nice because I had a really good support system with my teammates. The older guys would check in on you, just to make sure that you were doing well. We were like a family.”

The Mike Moser Memorial Award provided additional support, and it helped him get the most out of his student-athlete and co-op experiences. It provided a financial safety net while he was searching for his early co-op jobs.

“The first couple of jobs are really tricky to get, especially when you're playing a varsity sport,” he explains. “You’re really tied to finding a job in the local area, and that means you can’t apply to as many jobs as other students. The monetary support was really helpful because I didn’t have to worry about taking a lower-paying job. I knew I would be fine.”

Even if there was no financial aspect – the legacy involved with Mike Moser ... would be enough.

KRISTIAN VANDEKEMP, scholarship recipient

Thanks to those local co-op jobs, Kristian is still working in the Waterloo area. After a couple of work terms at Teledyne Dalsa, he took a full-time position as a mechanical engineer in the space and defense department. He landed the job after graduating in 2019.

For Kristian, receiving the Mike Moser Memorial award was an amazing support, but also a way to celebrate his place in the Athletics community: “Even if there was no financial aspect—the legacy involved with Mike Moser and what the 1974-75 team means for basketball at Waterloo—that would be more than enough.”