Wednesday, July 18, 2007
No Slowing Down: Moore, 68, as energetic as ever in wake of back-to-back national championships at Appalachian State
By Tommy Bowman
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Jerry Moore has been the football coach at Appalachian State since 1989. (AP File Photo)
Two national championships behind him and a big game ahead of him, Coach Jerry Moore of Appalachian State isn’t about to rest.
Not that he ever really has.
“I went to sleep on the couch last night and woke up at a quarter to 12,” Moore said from his office one day last week. “Later I went to bed and got up at 5:30.”
About six hours of sleep is typical for Moore, who turns 68 today and seems as energized as ever just six short weeks away from a Sept. 1 opener at Michigan.
Once the season begins, Moore will typically be in his office before 5:30 a.m.
He’s not necessarily working that early, but making use of rare quiet time reading Psalms or Proverbs, then working out on an exercise machine and preparing for a daily schedule that’s anything but routine in his eyes, which light up at the thoughts of what another new season might bring.
More than 100 players are already on campus for voluntary workouts in the weight room or self-conducted drills on the field. Preseason camp will begin Aug. 2.
One result of the national titles is that the offseason demands on Moore’s time have increased significantly. Moore is in demand, for everything from speaking engagements to youth camps to rounds of golf with friends. He said he tries to accommodate all requests.
“It’s not even close to the way it was a couple of years ago,” Moore said. “I don’t know how Tom Osborne and Urban Meyer and Pete Carroll and those guys do it. For one thing, they have jets. They probably don’t drive.”
Moore has logged a lot of highway miles recently, but he said that it’s worth it. He said he tries to view invitations as opportunities rather than have-tos.
That doesn’t mean that it’s easy. He recently canceled a hotel stay on a Sunday night to stay at home for a Father’s Day celebration, and headed to Bryson City early the next morning to speak to a group of junior-high players.
“I was driving out there thinking, ‘What in the world am I doing?’” Moore said. “I was beginning to wonder if it was worth it. But as soon as I parked my car and saw all those junior-high kids out there with their helmets on and their matching shirts, I knew why I was doing it. That got me all juiced up, and I wound up talking too long.”
He added, “It’s great to tell our story.”
In 18 seasons at ASU, only one of Moore’s teams has had a losing record. A 6-5 mark in 2004 had some fans suggesting that it was time for Moore to retire, or be retired, but his program began a title run the next season that hasn’t ended. And there’s no sign of slowing down.
“I don’t even think about long hours,” Moore said. “I enjoy this too much. It’s amazing that I get paid to do what I do.”
He found time in May to spend three days of leisure at Pawleys Island, S.C., with his staff.
“That’s the first time in 18 years we’ve done that,” Moore said. “We had a great time. We golfed. We ate. We laughed.”
And Moore said he got away by himself for part of one day.
“I went to a golf shop to nose around,” he said. “I got away from them to let them do what they wanted to do. I bet they appreciated that. Probably the most underrated thing about this program is our staff.
“Three or four of these guys have had chances to go on to other places but this staff has basically stayed intact for several years now. That, in itself, is rewarding.”