Following the tragic passing of Missouri Southern State University assistant football coach Derek Moore this past weekend, coaches at Ames High School in Iowa, where Moore coached in 2002, are now discussing how he made an immediate impression that still lasts over a decade later.
Addie Olson of ABC 5 News reported on the matter, gathering perspectives from several coaches still at the school today, including head coach Bruce Vertanen.
"He had a tremendous impact on us, just in that one year," said Vertanen.
The head coach recalled taking on Moore when he was merely a volunteer assistant. That wasn't evident, though, because of the enthusiastic way in which Moore approached his job.
"The kids probably wouldn't have known he was volunteering at the time because of the way he poured himself into the job," said Vertanen.
Assistant coach Mike Shane also gave his insight into how Moore was not only an asset on the gridiron, but also a great person away from it.
Not only was he a competitor, but he was a great guy, and a lot of fun to be around...The kids knew one thing, that he cared. Not only about winning and competing and doing the best you can on the field, but about being a good person and doing things the right way.
The report notes that Shane was a coach at Morningside College and recruited Moore as a player. In 2002, they coached together at Ames.
Moore is survived by a seven-year-old son, which Vertanen and Shane both discussed.
"He's not going to get to see those things and be around and I think that's the most tragic thing here," said Shane.
"A 7–year–old boy who had a great dad and that's kind of the first thing that comes to mind. It kind of goes away from football immediately and back towards relationships," said Vertanen.
Ames' coaches are preparing for an impending playoff game against Urbandale with heavy hearts and Moore on their minds.
The impact that Olson alludes to in Moore's brief time at Ames was evident in the legacy he left behind with his latest coaching stop. Missouri Southern State head coach Daryl Daye intimated that sentiment in providing his thoughts on the tragedy, per the Lions' official athletics department release:
Derek was new to Missouri Southern but he was embraced by our campus and community. He was a very likeable person who always had a smile on his face and made friends easily with our staff and players. This is an unspeakable loss for the MSSU athletics family.
Moore, 37, was shot outside of a Joplin, Mo., movie theater on Friday and passed away from injuries he sustained. It was his first year on the Missouri Southern State coaching staff, where his specialty was the offensive line.
Olson notes in the report that 39-year-old Jeffery Bruner has been charged with Moore's murder, and that police believe it was "not random, but the motive is still under investigation."
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