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November 29, 2012
One of the most decorated High School Football coaches in Virginia announced that he was stepping down on Thursday. Darnell Moore will no longer be the Head Football Coach of the Bayside Marlins. It marks the first official coaching change of the off-season in the Eastern Region following the 2012 campaign.
"Last year around this time, I was thinking that this would be my final year. I was thinking that if I still felt the way that I felt then at this time that it would be time for me to move on," Moore told VirginiaPreps.com. "I felt before the season, even when we were practicing over the summer, that this was going to be it for me. I feel that I've done as much as I can do at Bayside and maybe 12 years at one place is enough."
Known for grooming top-tier quarterbacks such as Aaron Sparrow at Wilson and most recently E.J. Manuel (Florida State) and Deion Stitt at Bayside, Moore put together a record of 176-96-4 in 26 seasons of coaching High School Football. Twice he won State Championships at Wilson High in Portsmouth, capturing those titles in 1989 and 1991.
After coaching the Presidents, Moore went on to be a College Football Head Coach at Norfolk State University, compiling a record of 26-26 overall in four seasons from 1994-98. In his first season at NSU, the Spartans scored a school-record 345 points. They topped that the very next season in 1995, piling up 360 points. Moore would develop another prolific offensive attack, venturing to Virginia Beach where he returned to his roots of coaching High School Football.
In 12 years at Bayside, Moore went 73-57, highlighted by their thrilling 42-40 Eastern Region Championship win over Oscar Smith in 2010. The Marlins won back-to-back Beach District titles in 2009 and 2010 under Moore, and have made the playoffs four consecutive years. Bayside finished 8-3 this past season, winning six straight games to reach the postseason, where they lost to Oscar Smith 35-12 in the regional quarterfinals.
After nearly three decades of coaching, there are aspects of coaching High School Football that no longer appeal to the veteran who goes about things with an old-school, no-nonsense approach.
"I looked at some things that are becoming apart of High School Sports and High School Athletics that I don't necessarily like, such as interference from outside people and things along those lines," Moore stated.
"Some of the things that I find distasteful about High School Sports are still going on, and there are some folks trying to undermine what you do as coach. I try to do things the right way in terms of what we do with our kids. I knew that this was it and that it's time."
Will Moore be a High School Football Head Coach again?
"Not likely. I never say never, but it's not likely. I look at it like this is not a retirement and that just I'm stepping down. I leave my options open. There's nothing in the fire. There are some things I've thought about and may decide to do my open little quarterback academy or something like that so I can continue to give something to kids, which I've always felt has been my calling.
While it remains to be seen if Moore returns to coaching again, he does feel he left his mark on the sport. The satisfaction goes beyond guiding Bayside to their first regional title since 1992 and establishing the program as a perennial contender in a Tidewater area full of talent-laden teams.
"I think I'm most proud of the fact we had kids who set examples for other kids to try to climb that ladder and do the same thing. They were examples of success, not just for football, but in the school. Some of them went to college. Some didn't go to college and did work in the military," Moore commented.
"For me to have seen those guys with smiles on their faces, that's what I'm proud of because everybody isn't going to be a Champion, and as a football player you know the air goes out of the ball one day and you have to do other things. I think I've meant something to their lives."
Matthew Hatfield has covered Eastern Region Football & Basketball since 2004 for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and don't forget to listen to him on High School Sports Talk from 10AM to Noon on ESPN Radio 94.1 plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.