One of the most accomplished coaches from Cherokee County will take his place among the other local greats Friday when Matt Moore is inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame.
Moore will be inducted at a ceremony Friday at First Baptist Church — Canton, along with LaShonda Stephens Tucker, Danielle Donehew and Mickey Swims.
“I was just really flattered,” Moore said. “Growing up there and knowing how many really good players and coaches have come through that area, it was just really flattering to know someone nominated me and they accepted me.”
Moore, the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at West Virginia said he first fell in love with football as a student at Holly Springs Elementary.
He played his high school football at Cherokee, and while his teams were not the most successful in school history, he said he still remembers the influence those coaches had on his career.
“As a youth player, I had some really good coaches,” Moore said. “They gave a lot of time and were always really giving. They taught me that. Playing for Richard Armstrong and Larry Prather at Cherokee, I really liked how they coached and did things. They cared and made differences in their players’ lives.”
Coming out of high school, Moore, a fullback from a triple option offense, did not have many options, so he walked on at Valdosta State.
He made the most of the opportunity, though, and after moving to guard, he became an all-conference player.
“Once they gave me a chance, I turned it into a successful career,” he said. “It helps me let kids know they believe in them. When you’re coaching a player, and he knows you really believe in him, they’re going to work for you that much harder.”
After his playing career, Moore became the head coach at Pickens county. He won four state championships as an offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Alabama’s Hoover, and he spent a year as the head coach at North Gwinnett before moving to the college ranks.
He said the actual coaching does not change much between levels, but the way he spent his offseason could not have changed more.
“The recruiting is the biggest difference,” he said. “It’s such a huge time consumer. You have to be away from your family and be organized, but at the same time, you can’t let it overwhelm you. There are a lot of great high school football coaches. The coaching doesn’t change that much. It’s when the season is over, and you have to put all your time into recruiting.”
Collegiately, Moore got his start at Troy before coaching the offensive line for Mike Leach’s air raid offense that regularly led the nation in passing at Texas Tech.
He had stops at Middle Tennessee State and Louisiana Tech before returning to a run-first offense for the last four seasons at Troy.
Moore followed head coach Neal Brown to West Virginia in January, but he said the different styles he has coached under should help him transition back to the Big 12.
“Offensively, having played and coached in an air raid offense, I know we can have a lot of success,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot of pass protection stuff. When I came to Troy with coach Brown, we ran the ball a lot more. That helped me expand my repertoire to improve the kind of coach I am. At the end of the day, it all comes down to having good players and being fundamentally sound.”
His success as a coordinator has made Moore a sought-after assistant throughout the college ranks, but he said he would like to run his own program one day.
“I would definitely love to be a head coach down the road,” he said. “You can hope and wish for it, but it has to be set up right. If you have success, it can help, but you have to be what someone is looking for age-wise and background-wise. Hopefully, that day comes. If it does, I’ll be ready for it, but if not, I’ll enjoy being an offensive line coach and offensive coordinator.”