By Colby Gable
The Appalachian State Athletics Department has announced plans to honor Hall of Fame football coach Jerry Moore with a plaza and statue dedicated to his years of success and key role in the development of the Appalachian football program. Moore will be recognized during football alumni reunion festivities on Aug. 31 before the Mountaineers’ season-opener against East Tennessee State, and will also be a featured guest at the 2019 App State Athletics Hall of Fame breakfast.
As the 2019 season approaches, with it arrives a benchmark in Appalachian State’s football history marking the 30th anniversary of Jerry Moore’s first arrival in the coaching staff. Moore departed from Appalachian in 2012 after becoming the winningest football coach in Appalachian State University and Southern Conference history, crafting a 215-87 record in his 24 seasons at Appalachian State (1989-2012), as well as 10 SoCon championships, 18 postseason appearances and an unheard of three straight NCAA Division I FCS/I-AA national titles (2005-07). In 31 years as a head coach, including years he served at the University of North Texas and Texas Tech University prior to joining Appalachian, Moore ended 242-135-2, coming in at the top 15 all-time among NCAA Division I coaches. In 2012 alone, Moore passed coaching legends Bo Schembechler (234 victories) and Woody Hayes (238) on the all-time wins list. His list of notable accomplishments primarily within the role of coach of Appalachian State include: SoCon Coach of the Year (1991, 1994, 1995, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010), North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame inductee (2009), Southern Conference and College Football Hall of Fame inductee (2014), and induction into the Appalachian State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.
Aside from the numbers, however, Moore established a legacy at Appalachian State through the athletic program that led to the foundations of Appalachian being what it is today; a university that has grown increasingly in the last decade and a football program with an established history that has continued to build on the success he found in 2005. Even going beyond the football impact of winning three Division 1 championships in a row, Moore was able to give back to the community and to utilize his success to grow and help Appalachian as a whole.
After beating Michigan in The Big House, Moore was featured in “Appalachian Perspective” in 2007 and talked about some of the positive aftereffects of the win coming through the form of fans nationwide looking for autographs, merchandise, and the heralded Sports Illustrated cover deeming the win an “All-time Upset.” As a result, many of the items were used for churches, charities, and auctions, all which combined to both helping communally as well as drawing attention to the university. During the talk, Moore is able to neatly summarize why he felt the program was able to do well, and on the Michigan game, “I tell our players, maybe a guy didn’t even make the trip, but he’s a part of our squad. The reason we’ve had some success is that we’ve had good players, but we’ve also got people who really care. It’s like when we won that first national championship, I said ‘This is for every player who has ever played here.’ And that picture on Sports Illustrated represented every player who has ever played here at Appalachian. It represented our whole school and campus. There’s just a lot of pride.”
Apart from successes on the field, Moore became a standard of sorts for how coaches can do great things without having to compromise the integrity of the game. Giving back to people, emphasizing education and personal development, these are some of the hallmarks that Moore chose to build on, and the legacy of his contribution to the world of Appalachian will always be in part that these great aspects of what a team’s identity can be, went past his tenure and still impacts the program today.