Hope you are well and eagerly awaiting Saturday’s game. I thought I’d do something a little different today. A few weeks ago, Allison George, the head of the athletic department’s sports information staff, introduced me to Josh Moore, who is a graduate assistant in football operations.
Most grad assistants are just out of college, starting their climb into coaching or sports administration by putting in a lot of hours in exchange for the work experience and tuition. Moore is married, 28-years-old and was a staff sergeant in the Air Force who had twice been deployed to serve as a meteorologist.
On deployments, Moore said he “basically forecasted (and) directly briefed all the pilots before each mission.”
Moore also worked for NASA, monitoring weather conditions for the space shuttle. He was recognized for his work and, when he wasn’t deployed, had a pretty good life. Serving in the military had paid for college. He often had three days off a week, time that allowed him to coach football, which he did as much as four hours a day and up to seven days a week at Cocoa Beach High School. It gave him thoughts about becoming a coach full-time.
However, last year, Moore was nearing 10 years of service, halfway to retirement. In the military, you are eligible retire after 20 years of service and receive half your salary for the rest of your life. He had a choice to make.
“A paycheck for the rest of your life for doing nothing is pretty tempting,” he said. However, “I knew it was now or never and I would never get this opportunity again.”
You obviously know how this worked out. Moore began to look for openings, going to a coaching convention and even googling colleges that were starting football teams. That led him to Georgia State. Last November, Moore drove eight hours for an interview with assistant head coach George Pugh, who, as you might imagine, was rather impressed that Moore wanted to give up being set up for life to work for free.
Said Moore, “I had a little pamphlet and he looked at it and he’s like, I don’t need to open that. Just what you’ve shown me alone is good to go.”
With the support of his wife Keri, Moore started this past summer, first starting in recruiting and then moving over to operations. He does a lot of logistics work, things like arranging food, transportation and meetings for the team. He’s also the visiting team liaison, setting up anything from hotel security, practice times and meals for teams when they come to Atlanta.
He works seven days a week, sometimes up to 18 hours a day. Keri brings home the paycheck these days.
“Some people might call it crazy, but it’s what I want to do,” Moore said.
After he earns a degree in sports administration, Moore wants to work in college administration, but ultimately wants to be a high school athletic director and coach in Texas, where he grew up.
He admitted he sometimes wonders about his decision, but he says small signs have helped him. The roster, rather improbably, includes a player from Moore’s high school, defensive lineman Kalan Jenkins. The back entrance to the team’s practice facility is on Moore Street. Perhaps more confirming is the experience he has received working for Bill Curry and his staff.
Said Moore, “It seems like every day that goes along, I know that I’ve made the right choice.”