Longtime App State coach the 11th Bear elected to College Football Hall of Fame
In 1960 — the same year Baylor yell leaders introduced the bear claw and “Sic ‘em, Bears!” yell — a young man named Jerry Moore served as a Baylor football team captain, helping carry the Bears to a Gator Bowl bid and a No. 11 final national ranking.
Moore’s leadership on that team should have been a clue as to where life might lead the Bonham, Texas, native. After marrying his college sweetheart, Margaret (BMED ’61), and earning his business degree from Baylor, Moore launched a coaching career that would last more than 50 years and culminate in his election earlier this month to the College Football Hall of Fame.
After five years in the high school ranks, Moore, BBA ’61, returned to the collegiate game; over the next 25 years, he would serve as an assistant at SMU, Nebraska and Arkansas in addition to head coaching positions at North Texas and Texas Tech. But it was at Appalachian State, where he landed in 1989, that Moore would truly make a name for himself.
In 24 seasons leading the Mountaineers, Moore compiled a 215-87 record, winning 10 conference titles, making 18 playoff appearances (including each of his last eight seasons), and claiming an unprecedented three straight NCAA D-IAA national titles. His 243 career wins rank 28th in NCAA Division I history.
Moore truly put Appalachian State on the national scene in 2007, when he led the Mountaineers to a 34-32 win at No. 5 Michigan in week one of the season. The victory marked the first time an FCS (I-AA) team had ever defeated a ranked FBS (I-A) opponent and led to App State becoming the first FCS team ever to receive votes in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Moore is the 11th Baylor Bear elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, joining such iconic names as Grant Teaff and Mike Singletary. Other Bears in the Hall: former Baylor head coach Morley Jennings and players Barton Koch, Bill Glass, James Ray Smith, Lawrence Elkins, Hayden Fry, Thomas Everett and Don Trull.
Sic ’em, Jerry!