Update: Moore, Peacock react to decision
Three days after Jerry Moore was informed he would not be the
head football coach at Appalachian State, there is still some dispute about why the decision was
Amid the uncertainly, one thing remains certain with Moore: He says he wanted to coach one more season.
Athletic director Charlie Cobb stated in previous interviews that an agreement about Moore’s tenure had been reached during the 2011 holidays. Moore said he does not remember an actual agreement being made with Cobb in 2011, about 2012 being Moore’s final season with the Mountaineers, and that no contract regarding the matter was ever signed.
Moore, who talked Wednesday to select members of the media about the situation at the athletic complex and Kidd Brewer Stadium, said he did not want anything negative to come out of the recent events that took place since the decision was announced Sunday. He said he wanted to clarify his take on meetings that took place with Cobb during December 2011.
Moore said he talked to Cobb that December about how to improve the situation with the football program, but added that he never felt there was an agreement in place about 2012 being his final season as coach.
He did not blame Cobb for the lack of communication, saying it was both of their faults. Moore also credited Cobb for fighting for him to keep his job following the 2004 season. The Mountaineers finished 6-5 that season and did not play the playoffs for the second straight season.
The next year, the Mountaineers won the first of three consecutive national championships.
But Moore says there is a question to which he had not found an answer. Moore said he still has not been given a tangible reason why he was not allowed to return as coach. He said he was told “it’s time,” but was not given any other reason why.
“One of the things that has always bothered me, and I asked, was why?” the 73-year-old coach said. “It was like a recording that just kept saying, ‘It’s time. It’s time.’ All I wanted was an answer. Tell me I’m not going a good job. Tell me I’m too old or something. Just tell me something. Then it got to the word ‘they’ (as in) ‘they’ think it’s time. I don’t know who ‘they’ is, and I don’t know what ‘it’s time’ is.”
Moore said he met with Cobb Sunday morning, which was when the athletic director told Moore he would no longer be the football coach. Moore said he got a phone call at home around 8 a.m. and met with Cobb at the athletic complex about 20 minutes later.
“We started talking and he said we had this agreement a year ago that (I) would get one more year,” Moore said. “I remember us talking about that, but I never remembered it, or I never thought of it as an agreement like a contract. I never thought of it that way, and it was never mentioned since. It was never brought up. I would have thought at some point in time, if it was that kind of an issue, that it would have been brought up.”
Cobb was unavailable for comment Wednesday. However, he did say in a conference call Sunday that he and Moore did sit down in 2011 and that they talked about where the program was and where it was headed.
“I really think it’s more accurate is the fact we sat down and analyzed where we were in the long term vision of where we want the program to go and the proper thing for (Moore) to do is go out as a champion,” Cobb said during that call. “That’s what we’ve done. It’s never a great time, but there has to be a stopping point.”
Appalachian State chancellor Kenneth Peacock released a statement Wednesday that said Moore was offered a chance to stay with the athletic department, but not in the role of head coach.
“A year ago, Mr. Cobb presented coach Moore with a written communication telling him it was time to end his coaching career at Appalachian and offered him a three-year commitment in a different role at a six-figure salary,” Peacock said in the news release. “In a subsequent memo to me dated Dec. 31, 2011, Mr. Cobb indicated Coach Moore declined the offer and instead requested a final year as head coach for the 2012 season. Mr. Cobb recommended we honor Coach Moore’s request, and I accepted his recommendation. In a routine update with then board of trustees chairman G.A. Sywassink, I reported this decision.”
Moore said he was not trying to place blame on anybody, but he did not want anybody to think that he would agree to some condition and then not follow through on it.
“I never really told Charlie that, ‘OK, one more year and that’s great with me.' I never worded it that way,” Moore said.
Moore said that there were no reminders of any agreement from Cobb, or anybody else in the administration, during the season — be it after a big victory, such as ASU’s 35-27 win over Montana, or after a bad loss, such as a 52-28 loss to The Citadel.
Moore felt that after the Mountaineers beat Furman in the final week of the regular season, he would likely be returning for one more season. He said Cobb hugged him after the game, which Moore took as a sign that he would be returning.
“It was a great night, the crowd was great and we were winning a championship,” Moore said. “Out on the field, he hugs me and grabs me and I made the statement to him that I’ve been waiting all year for you to do that. I just, for a lack of better way to word it, I thought everything was fine. It was the first time that one of us showed any emotion to one another.”
Peacock said in his statement that one of the members of the board of trustees, Brad Adcock, said Moore was reminded of the situation in July when Adcock asked how Moore would like to announce his leaving after the 2012 season.
“Additional confirmation that Coach Moore was aware of this decision in advance of last Sunday was relayed to me by trustee Brad Adcock, a close personal friend of Coach Moore and long-time supporter of the program and Appalachian. Mr. Adcock said he spoke to Coach Moore this past July out of admiration and a desire to appropriately recognize him in his retirement. Coach Moore asked him when he should announce his retirement — at the start or conclusion of the 2012 season. Mr. Adcock deferred to the university’s administration.”
Moore’s final game was a 38-37 loss in overtime to Illinois State. The game ended when Illinois State blocked an extra point in the overtime period to preserve the win.
After the game, Moore told the Winston-Salem Journal that he hoped to be back for a final season. He said the call to meet with Cobb caught him by surprise.
“Getting back to that Sunday call, it was such short notice,” Moore said. “Twenty minutes after the phone call I’m here and I get another call that there will be a team meeting at 3 p.m.”
That was when the news was broken to the players.
Moore wanted to thank everybody at Appalachian State, including the students, fans, former players and administration for the past 24 years.
“By and large, the fans here and the people have been huge and really supportive,” Moore said. “The students, we do that Mountaineer walk and we’re giving out those Snickers bars and we go down to the gate and there are about 150 students waiting to get in. I say ‘Y’all are goofy standing out here three or four hours to get into this place.’ So I’ve had a lot of fun with them too.”
Moore also did not want anything negative to come out about Cobb or anybody else involved with the events that happened during the course of the last few days.
“I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed in the whole deal,” Moore said. “If we hadn’t of done well or done better — we were so young. … I’ve tried to do the things the right way.”
Moore also said he wanted to thank Dr. John Thomas, who played a role in Moore coming to Appalachian State. Thomas was the chancellor at ASU from 1979-93.
“Dr. John Thomas often gets left out. So much stuff has happened here. I didn’t give him a national championship ring and I’m going to try to make up for that. When I meet him or leave him, I always thank him for giving me the opportunity to coach again.”