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Friday, August 14, 1998

Moore is only due Hall-of-Famer for HSU and McMurry

By Al Pickett / Sports Editor

Wilford Moore is the only person to be inducted into the athletic halls of fame at both Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University.

With a twinkle in his eye, Moore said he once also had a offer to join the Abilene Christian University Sports Hall of Fame.

Moore told the story Thursday following a press conference to announce the creation of the Wilford Moore Trophy, a traveling trophy to be given each year to the winner of Abilene's collegiate cross-town football rivalry between the Cowboys and Indians.

"We were riding high," Moore said. "We had beaten ACC (Abilene Christian College, as it was known then) my first three years at McMurry (1947, '48 and '49). When we played them in 1950, that was Garvin Beauchamp's team that went undefeated and won the national championship. They kicked us good."

Moore said he was feeling low after the lopsided loss as he was walking off the field when the late J.B. Jordan, a loyal McMurry booster, came up and put his arm around him.

"No matter where we played - in Tulsa or Houston or wherever - J.B. was always there," Moore said. "He was a great fan. No one was saying anything to me after the game, so when J.B. came up to me, I thought at least I had one friend.

"J.B. put his arm around me and said, 'If this happens again next year, I think I can get you in ACC's Hall of Fame.' "

Well, Moore may have lost that game in 1950, but he didn't lose many in his career.

A three-year letterman at HSU, the Cowboys were 25-3-1 from 1938-40, including the school's first unbeaten season in 1940. He played guard and linebacker.

Moore still owns the winningest percentage as a football coach in McMurry history, compiling a 45-28-5 record from 1947-55. He captured at least a share of four conference titles - more than any other Indian coach - and took McMurry to its first two postseason appearances.

His overall coaching record in both high school and college stands at 100-69-10.

At HSU, he played alongside Bulldog Turner, who later starred in the NFL. At McMurry he coached players like Les Cowan, Brad Rowland and Grant Teaff. Five of Moore's players earned all-America honors, and he was named the Associated Press Coach of the Year for the Texas Conference in 1948, '49 and '53.

Oddly enough, Moore was only involved in one HSU-McMurry game. That was in 1946, when he was an assistant coach at McMurry. It was the first meeting in football between the two schools. The two didn't play again until 1961, '62 and '63, the final three years that HSU fielded a team before dropping the sport in 1964. The series resumed in 1990, when HSU re-instituted football and joined the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (now known as the American Southwest Conference) with McMurry.

So which school's colors will Moore be wearing when the Cowboys and Indians meet on Nov. 14?

"I'll be like the San Diego Chicken, half maroon and half purple," he said. "They could find a whole bunch of guys to have the trophy named after, but I appreciate it being named for me."

Al Pickett can be reached at 676-6772 or picketta@abinews.com

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