Coach Moore honored
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Former Appalachian State football coach Jerry Moore heart still lies in the Southern Conference. On Thursday, the SoCon repaid his loyalty to their league.
Moore was selected for the Southern Conference Hall of Fame by the league Thursday. Southern Conference commissioner John Iamarino informed Moore of the league's decision.
Moore is a first-ballot selection.
"I'm excited about it," Moore said. "I'm a Southern Conference guy. A lot of people think I'm against (App State's) move to the Sun Belt and that's not what I mean. I came here not knowing a lot about (the SoCon) at all. We got into the playoffs after a couple of years and we won the conference championship and it was fun. The playoffs were fun. I think it's been a good, strong league."
Also included in the 2014 SoCon Hall of Fame class are Furman women's basketball player Rushia Brown, Furman men's soccer player Clint Dempsey, former Duke football and men's basketball coach Eddie Cameron and Wake Forest's former baseball player Charlie Teague.
Moore, who coached at Appalachian State from 1989-2012, made the Mountaineers one of the strongest programs in the SoCon. He had a record of 215-87 at App State, and guided the Mountaineers to 10 Southern Conference championships and 18 postseason appearances.
He also led Appalachian State to three straight Football Championship Subdivision national championships from 2005-07. The Mountaineers went 14-1 during the 2006 season. After losing the first game of the season to North Carolina State, the Mountaineers won 14 straight games, including Massachusetts 28-17 for the national championship.
App State's 21-16 win over Northern Iowa in the 2005 championship game marked the first time a football team from North Carolina had won a national championship. Appalachian State also beat Delaware 49-21 in 2007.
The Mountaineers also won 26 straight 2007-10, which was the second longest streak in the league's history. He also earned the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year honor, which is given by The Sports Network.
Moore also coached two-time Walter Payton Award winner Armanti Edwards and two-time Buck Buchanan Award winner Dexter Coakley. Both of those awards are also given by The Sports Network.
"I'm flattered, to tell the truth, about being in that hall of fame," Moore said. "I had never given it any though. When John called me, I had no idea what it was about. He started asking me how things were going and then a couple of minutes later, he told me they were inducting me into the hall of fame at the next conference basketball tournament."
But with all the championships and victories, the win that received the most national attention was the Mountaineers' 34-32 shocking upset of then No. 5 Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Mountaineers took a 28-14 lead in the first half, fell behind 32-31 late in the fourth quarter. App Sate kicker Julian Rauch got the lead back for the Mountaineers with a field goal with 26 seconds left.
App State preserved the victory when Corey Lynch blocked a Jason Gingell field goal as time expired. It is considered one of, if not the biggest upset in college football history.
"It goes without saying that this is a well-deserved honor for coach Moore," Appalachian State athletic director Charlie Cobb said in a statement. "His body of work throughout his 51-year coaching career and, in particular, his 24 years at Appalachian State is unrivaled by any other coach in the SoCon's esteemed history."
Moore said that he has built great relationships with other members of the conference over the past 24 years. He is close friends with Wofford coach Mike Ayers, and also has a close friendship with former Chattanooga coach Buddy Nix.
"The matchups with Furman and Georgia Southern and Chattanooga and later against Wofford the last 10 or 15 years were always fun," Moore said. "It's why I say I'm a SoCon guy. We had a good mix of teams and it was fun. Sports are supposed to be fun and football is supposed to be fun."
Moore also gave credit to his wife, Margaret, for being a big part of his success at App State. He said, "It will be fun to accept this together," as they did when he won the Grant Taffe Lifetime Achievement Award.
At that ceremony, he took her by the hand and they went up to accept the award together.
"It's not just me," he said. "It's been Margaret and
I. Margaret has been a big part of us here.
She tends to get overlooked, but she's had parents and kids at our house and when she retired from teaching, she would sit at the stadium and watch us practice. Even on a day like (Friday), she'd be out there watching a practice when I wouldn't watch it for anything."
The Hall of Fame ceremony is March 10 at U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville during the SoCon's men's and women's basketball tournament.
Moore is the fifth overall inductee into the SoCon Hall of Fame. Other App State inductees include women's hurdler Melissa Morrison (2009), women's basketball player Valorie Whiteside (2010), distance runner Mary Jayne Harrelson (2010) and Dexter Coakley (2011).