A Texas native who began his college coaching career in his home state, Jerry Moore jokes about the challenge he faced in learning to speak in a Southern manner after Appalachian State hired him.
Nearly 30 years later, the long-standing North Carolina resident with the familiar, endearing drawl has received the state’s highest civilian honor.
Moore was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine on Friday night during the Legends Gala hosted by App State Athletics at Camp Yonahnoka in Linville. Conferred by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper, the award recognizes “exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.”
Moore is a Hall of Fame football coach who won 215 games at App State from 1989-2012. He led the Mountaineers to three straight national championships from 2005-07, directed the historic 34-32 road upset of Michigan to begin the 2007 season and helped Appalachian capture 10 conference championships in 24 seasons.
“The thing that happens to you when you stay some place for as long as we have, it becomes dear to you in a lot of ways — a lot more than wins and losses,” Moore said. “There’s so many things that happen in your life, so many things you have memories of that are everlasting, more and more so with 34-32 in front of 109,218 people.
“My family and I can’t thank you enough for an honor like this. It truly is an honor.”
Long-time Yosef Club member Robert Fox presented the award to Moore, who was greeted by hugs from family members and friends as the sold-out crowd stood to applaud. Moore first arrived in Boone following stints as a coach at five colleges, including time as the head coach at both North Texas and Texas Tech in the 1980s.
He has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the Southern Conference Hall of Fame and the Appalachian State Athletics Hall of Fame.
“I can remember when I first came here, they were teaching me how to say and pronounce Appalachian,” Moore said. “Once I found out where it was and how to spell it, (my love for it) just grew stronger and stronger.”