He’s the winningest boys tennis coach in school history by a landslide, notching 135 wins in his now 24-year career. Moore considers himself “Bobby Knight without all the yelling,” a meticulous savant of the sport valuing the details and “the right way of doing things.”
At 52, he decided this season will be his last. Next fall, Moore will pursue an environmental engineering degree from Colorado State University; furthering his education is something he said has been in the back of his mind for some time.
Moore reflects on the night he drifted off: his car swerved off the road, into the ditch and flipped. The collision fractured the cervical 5, 6 and 7 bones in his spine. He was rushed to the emergency room in the Quad Cities, where he would spend weeks in recovery. Pieces of bone damaged his spinal cord, and when he awoke in the hospital, he was paralyzed from the neck down.
His days of winning tournaments, of amazing the young local tennis wannabes, of lining up shot after shot of technically precise strokes, ended.
“Before the accident, I was starting to get some big numbers,” Moore said of building the Clinton tennis program. “I had 50 kids out that year. I was starting to build kind of a dynasty. I don’t know if my accident set anything back or not.”
Moore also coached basketball for Clinton. Right away, he said, he gave that up.
“But I didn’t want to give up tennis. I really enjoyed coaching tennis.”
He decided to work harder than he ever had on the tennis court. Moore said he was “fortunate” his spinal cord wasn’t completely severed.
“The doctors said I would never regain anything. I’m glad they were wrong. It’s a combination of being fortunate and working hard at it.”