When Dave Moore was on the sideline as a head football coach for the first time, he found himself on the short end of a 105-0 blowout loss. As head coach of a team on a New Mexico Indian reservation, the lopsided score was one point shy of a state record.
“We were 0-9 that first year and we went 6-3 the next year,” said Moore, a Williams Valley High School graduate from near Harrisburg.
Those seasons were on his resume when he came back to Pennsylvania with his wife Nancy, a New Bethlehem native. He took a job teaching history at Redbank Valley, a position that wasn’t a permanent position he was told initially. And after a coaching the Bulldogs’ junior high team to a 6-1 record in the fall of 1978, he replaced Greg Stine as head varsity coach.
The rest, as they say, is football history.
Moore’s varsity football coaching career spanned 18 seasons through 1996 and along the way, his Bulldogs compiled a 118-52-5 record with three KSAC titles, one Little 12 Conference championship and two District 9 titles.
And that resume garnered him strong enough credentials to be named to this year’s Class of 2019 Pennsylvania Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Moore will be one of five coaches inducted at this year’s ceremony on May 26 at the Best Western Premier in Harrisburg. The class will also be recognized at the halftime of Big 33 Football Game the next day at Central Dauphin High School’s Landis Field.
“When they called me on March 31, I thought it was an April’s Fools Day joke,” Moore laughed a few weeks ago when talking about his honor. “I didn’t expect it. I couldn’t believe the different emotions I felt, the mixed emotions.
“It took so many people and I started thinking about the people who I should thank, specifically the ones who made the biggest difference, my dad, Larry Shumaker. I really didn’t think I’d get in because Redbank Valley wasn’t really a football school and didn’t have a winning coach until I got there. It’s the biggest thing for me since the birth of my children and my wedding. It’s an amazing feeling.”
The rest of the Class of 2019 includes Robert Barbieri of Pittston, Ted Nypaver of Spring-Ford, Jim Morgans formerly of Parkland, Freedom, Salisbury and Pittsburgh Central Catholic, and John Hayes.
Moore joins a growing list of former District 9 coaches in the PFCA Hall of Fame, the most recent one being East Brady’s Terry Henry in 2017. Some of Moore’s opposing coaches already in the Hall include the late Rich Vidunas of Union in 2003, Clarion’s Larry Wiser in 2011, Clarion-Limestone’s Clyde Conti in 2005 and Brockway’s Ray Reckner in 2014.
“There was nobody to take a break against, because I knew they did as much or more than I did,” Moore said. “I wasn’t a complete genius in Xs and Os, but I figured I’d outwork them.
“The kids believed in me and I had great assistants.”
Moore’s first Bulldogs team finished 6-3 in 1979, landing in third place in the Little 12’s East Division behind Brockway and Clarion. His teams wouldn’t have a losing season until 1998. Prior to that, his Bulldogs won the Little 12’s East Division title in 1984.
Their only losses during the regular season were to second-place Shannock Valley, which also had two losses but a tie that was the difference in the final standings. That gave the Bulldogs a second matchup with West Division champion Union, which the Bulldogs beat 19-8 during the season. But in the rematch, Vidunas’ Knights bested Moore’s Bulldogs 34-12.
The next year, however, the Bulldogs flipped the script. They won the West Division with a 9-1 mark, their only loss coming in a 14-7 loss to the Knights. But in the conference championship game, it was the Bulldogs exacting revenge in a 17-16 win coming on a late field goal by Brian Dougherty.
In 1991 and now in the PIAA playoff era, the Bulldogs were the unchallenged Class 2A champion that advanced to the state playoffs before losing a 26-12 decision to Hickory of District 10. But in 1992, they won their first-ever D9 title, routing Brookville 34-8 for the Class 2A crown.
Moore’s final three seasons with the Bulldogs yielded three straight KSAC titles in 1994-95-96, with Moore’s career ending with a 25-game conference winning streak. In 1994 and 1995, the Bulldogs lost to Brookville in the Class 2A final.
In 1996, the “Flood, Sweat and Tears” Bulldogs blanked Port Allegany 7-0 in the district final before falling 19-0 to Wilmington in the state playoffs. The Bulldogs gave up 46 points during their magical 11-1 season that started not long after a flood ravaged the town earlier in the summer.
““I think the camaraderie and the love for each other is what was so big with them and they played with heart and love for each other and the game,” Moore said at halftime. “They would’ve played 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.”
“Those kids were undefeated six seasons up through out of seven and lost one game,” Moore said in a 2016 story prior to the 1996 team’s 20th anniversary. “I knew we had talent coming. When the seniors were sophomores, we lost our first game, tied the second and then ran the table.
“In 1995 and 1996 I told the coaching staff let’s not screw anything up. We knew we were loaded.”
Moore’s staff those final years included longtime friend and mentor Larry Shumaker, Mike Brown, recently retired Bulldogs coach Ed Wasilowski and Roger Miller.
In the late 1980s, Moore installed the famed “Run and Shoot” offense that became vogue especially in the USFL with East Brady native and Houston Gamblers quarterback Jim Kelly. It was a pre-cursor to this era’s spread offense.
“We ran the ball, but we could’ve set all kinds of passing records,” Moore said of his mid-1990 teams. “We had three top receivers. Coach Brown wanted to throw the ball all the time, but when you get into November and December you have to be able to run the ball. I didn’t think the run and shoot could do that and installed some I-formation sets.”
Moore called Shumaker, his defensive coordinator, a “father figure” on his staff and spent a great deal of time crediting his longtime friend and 19-year assistant at last fall’s inaugural Redbank Valley Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“All he did was work and work and work and hound me,” Moore said of his best friend in Shumaker, who died of cancer the previous fall.
But Moore had his own work ethic and it transferred to his successful seasons on the sideline and on the basketball court where he coached the Lady Bulldogs varsity team for 10 seasons, compiling a 136-85 record.
I thank all the people who made this possible,” said Moore, who counted up 50 sports seasons he has coached, including youth softball and baseball and elementary girls’ basketball. “Without the various people at the high school and town and the teams, I wouldn’t be here.”
“I came to the conclusion that heart plays an integral part in sports and success,” Moore said at the Hall of Fame ceremony last fall. “I don’t mean you have to have a large heart, but when you’re playing, you have to give heart.
“How many people who graduate from high school or college and played a sport and came to the conclusion that you didn’t give everything you have or wish you could do it over? When I started coaching, I promised myself I would never doubt myself again when it came to excellence. I would give everything I have. When I started coaching football, the philosophy was fundamentals, discipline and play with heart. I think that philosophy worked.”