Jerry Moore may have been born in Texas, but as it turns out, he found his home in Boone, North Carolina.
Moore spent 24 stellar years there as the head football coach at Appalachian State, winning three consecutive NCAA Division 1-AA (now FCS) football championships and 10 Southern Conference titles during his tenure.
At this year’s home opener with East Tennessee State, Appalachian State recognized the 30th anniversary of Moore’s hiring and his many contributions to the school. During the festivities, the school announced that it planned to dedicate a plaza and statue in his honor outside Kidd Brewer Stadium.
In concert with that celebration, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame is also recognizing Moore as its Member of the Month for September.
Moore, who played wide receiver at Baylor, compiled an overall record of 215-87 at the Mountaineer helm, bringing his career total as a head coach to 242-134-2. Without question, though, there is one signature win among the many memorable victories.
That’s when Moore took his underdog Appalachian State team to Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Mountaineers shocked the Wolverines, then ranked fifth in the country, with a 34-32 victory in the 2007 season opener.
Granted, Appalachian State was coming off its second national title – and had won 27 of its last 31 games, including 15 straight heading to Michigan. But until that September afternoon at “The Big House,” no Division 1-AA team had ever beaten a nationally-ranked 1-A (FBS) opponent.
The Mountaineers led 28-17 at the half but Michigan clawed its way back on top 32-31 with 4:46 remaining. Michigan intercepted a pass on the next series only to see a field goal attempt that would have given the Wolverines some breathing room blocked.
Appalachian State wasn’t finished, though. The Mountaineers drove 69 yards without a timeout to set up the go-ahead field goal with 26 seconds left – then sealed the improbable victory by blocking Michigan’s own 37-yarder on the final play of the game.
“Someone said it might be one of the big victories in college football,” said Moore, who was carried off the field by his jubilant players. “It may be the biggest.”
Appalachian State went on to finish the season with a 13-2 record, tying for the Southern Conference title and beating Delaware 49-21 for the national title. The Mountaineers’ other national titles came in a 21-16 win over Northern Iowa (2005) and a 28-17 victory over Massachusetts (2006).
Moore, who also was a head coach at North Texas and Texas Tech, was inducted into the NCSHOF in 2009. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Southern Conference Hall of Fame with both inductions coming in 2014.