BOONE, N.C. — Jerry Moore, the former Texas Tech coach who led Appalachian State to an unforgettable upset of Michigan and won three straight FCS national championships, won’t return to the Mountaineers next season, athletic director Charlie Cobb said Sunday.
Cobb said he and Moore — the winningest coach in school and Southern Conference history — agreed following last season that this year would be his last, but Moore didn’t want to make the decision public during the season because he wanted to keep the attention on the field.
Moore, a Texan who was born in Bonham and captained Baylor’s 1960 Gator Bowl team, is 73.
“During his 24 years of loyal service to Appalachian State University, Coach Moore’s contribution to the institution is far greater than his success on the field,” Chancellor Kenneth Peacock said. “He touched the lives of many young people and made life better for them. He will be missed but never forgotten at Appalachian State.”
Appalachian State’s season ended Saturday with a 38-37 overtime loss to Illinois State in the second round of the playoffs. The Mountaineers finished 8-4, won their seventh SoCon title in eight years and made the playoffs for the eighth straight year.
Moore was 215-87 in 24 seasons with the Mountaineers and won three straight national titles from 2005 through 2007. He’s perhaps most famous for shocking the then-fifth-ranked Wolverines in the 2007 opener — the first win for an FCS school against an AP Top 25 team.
That remarkable run all started after a major letdown in his second head-coaching job. Moore, a former Nebraska offensive coordinator under Tom Osborne and then a head coach at North Texas, led Tech to a record of 16-37-2 from 1981 to 1985.
Then Tech athletic director T. Jones fired Moore after five straight losing seasons. In Moore’s last year, the Red Raiders went 4-7 with four losses by a total of six points.
“You can word it any way you want to,” Moore said in a 2005 interview with the Avalanche-Journal, “but at that particular time, I — or we — were a failure. That hadn’t been my makeup very much.”
Moore spent two years in private business, yearning to get back into coaching.
He joined Ken Hatfield’s Arkansas staff in 1988 as just a volunteer assistant, but knew he was back where he belonged.
“Margaret taught, and we got a $200-a-month apartment like you get when you’re in college,” Moore said in the 2005 A-J interview. “But we had more fun.”
After Arkansas came Appalachian State, where Moore found a perfect fit though he had no ties to the area or small-college coaching beforehand.
He was 242-135-2 in 31 seasons as a college head coach, ranking him 15th on the Division I all-time list, and won 10 SoCon championships with 18 postseason appearances.
Moore said in 2005 that winning with the Mountaineers led to potentially bigger paydays, but he always passed.
“These guys here gave me a great opportunity when I thought it was all over with,” Moore said. “I would talk to (other schools) and would say, ‘I’m really happy right where I am.’ There was a time where money wasn’t even close (between) what we make here and these other schools.
“But I was happy to be right here, and I just let it go at that.”
The school said assistant head coach Scott Satterfield will serve as the interim coach while it launches a national search to find Moore’s permanent replacement.