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Final thoughts on the end of the story

And I'll take with me the memories ... To be my sunshine after the rainToday memos were publicly released related to the departure of the greatest football coach in App State history. We hope this almost ends the story. We say almost cause, heck, we just want to offer a couple thoughts.

The first is, we see both major players at fault for making a difficult situation worse than it should have been.

Second, we still love App State.

Back to the first. We don’t see a good or bad guy in this mess. Just two men dealing with a difficult situation.

We’ll start with …

AD Charlie Cobb
“People that matter” apparently told Cobb it was time for a change in the football program. Cobb acquiesced, and told Moore his contract would not be renewed.

In a memo Cobb lightly touched on some reasons – staff turnover, lack of chemistry among staff and “the lingering mood surrounding the program” – then went in-depth on a deeper one. Health concerns.

All arguably valid. But what mystifies us is, how often is a successful coach coming off a successful season (winning record, league title, postseason spot) not asked back?

Moore turned down the request. He wanted to coach in 2012. Cobb then wrote a memo to Peacock saying Moore wanted one more season before stepping down. This decision would be “announced publicly in the spring.”

Why wasn’t that done so? Who knows. But in the press release announcing Moore’s departure Cobb said Moore “didn’t want to make that decision public before or during the season because, in his typical humble nature, he wanted all of the focus to be on his student-athletes.”

Which seems to suggest to us there was another Cobb-Moore conversation following the memos. A conversation probably not put on paper or in a memo, but one that should have been straight forward – “this will be your last season.”

And Moore said, “Okay, but keep it a secret.” Which Cobb did …. until about 15 hours after the season ended. It’s nice to let sleeping dogs lie, but was this really not ever discussed prior to?

“Hey Coach, remember that conversation we had? How about we announce it before the Furman game, and pack a record 35,000 in this bad boy for a Rockin’ goodbye?”

Coach Moore
Jerry Moore loves to coach. When presented with an option to retire or coach one more year, he chose the one more year.

Cobb’s original memo included reasons Moore was to be dismissed. Moore probably thought that, if he could prove those issues no longer existed, and win a championship, he’d get an extension.

Again, when was the last time a winning coach with a record equivalent to Moore’s wasn’t retained? It just doesn’t happen.

Moore gambled. Keep the news quiet and hope for the best. Fingers crossed.

Season started. A young team struggled early. Yet it still won a title. It still went to the postseason. It still attracted a near-packed house on Saturdays.

When Cobb gave him that post-Furman hug, Moore musta thought his gamble paid off. He saved his job.

He didn’t. And never could.

Thus a FCS coach who beat a ranked FBSer, won three straight national titles, went 146-40 in conference, 215-87 overall, sent a bunch of guys to the NFL and had one losing season in 24 was just …. let go.

We’d call that blindsided. But really, Moore shouldn’t have been. He should have accepted the writing on the wall, or at least on the memo.

He wasn’t wanted. And nothing was going to change that.

We don’t think this is all to the tale. The details behind the dismissal of Moore’s son and the hoped for inevitable move to FBS probably played roles never quite outlined, but understood by everyone involved.

There’s also the recent history of what happened to the bball program, when “people who mattered” wanted to walk a path already traveled, and today we have a “lingering mood surrounding the program” few want to outline, but is apparently no big deal.

So what have we learned? College athletics is a cold business. Get it in writing. Don’t walk away from a good deal when the only alternative is crossing your fingers. Faith is for Sunday, not Saturday. And it’s so hard … to say goodbye … to yesterday.

We love Coach Moore. And we respect that Cobb faced a no-win situation. We don’t see any bad guys. We just see, as Moore might say, a bad deal.

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