61-Year-Old, Alan Moore, Kicks His Way Into College Football History

PHOTO: Student-athlete Alan Moore, 61, is trying out to be a place kicker for the college football team in this photo taken Aug. 26, 2011 at Faulkner University.
Share
Copy

Faulkner University jumps to a 24-to-nothing lead over Ave Maria University during an NAIA football matchup Sept.10. It was a game few were likely to remember until Alan Moore's number was called.

Moore, 61, is the oldest player to ever play college football, and on that night he stepped onto the field to kick his way into history.

"I knew I was going to do it," he said. "It was just something that I was going to do, and I didn't care if I died doing it."

Forty years ago, Moore was a kicker on his high school football team in Taylorsville, Miss.

"It just became a passion to me," Moore said. "I'm not bragging, but I was probably the most prominent kicker in the state of Mississippi."

In 1968, Moore kicked for one season at a junior college, but with the Vietnam war draft looming, he dropped out of college and enlisted.

He was 18 years old and believed he was ready to take on the world. When he returned, there was no time for football, only family.

"[I] just raised a family like everybody else would do," he said. "I worked and tried to send our kids to school and everything."

But two years ago in 2009, Moore, then 59, was laid off from his construction job and suddenly found himself with spare time on his hands.

"I went and bought a ball and a pair of shoes, and I started kicking," Moore said.

He practiced kicking every day, first on homemade goal posts in his daughter's backyard and later at a local high school.

"He just started kicking. I mean we knew he was practicing, but we didn't think it was for real," said his daughter, Brandi Welch. "It took him a couple of weeks to even get the ball off the ground."

"It was aggravating ... but every now and then one would be perfect," Moore said. "I said if I can do that every time, I'd be OK."

Moore kicked using the same straight-on style he'd mastered 40 years ago.

"It never went through my mind that it wasn't gonna work," he said. "It was gonna work. I could do it. It was gonna work."

All Moore needed was a place to play, and this July he toured the campus of Faulkner University, a small Christian college in Montgomery, Ala. He met with the coaching staff.

"I got straight to the point, I said, 'Alan, why are you doing this? What's the point in it?' Gregg Baker, told ESPN's E:60. "He said, 'I want to show people that no matter what the circumstances, what the deal, that they need to finish what it is they started.' And I said, 'Well, I can live with that. I can understand that.'"

Watch the full story at ESPN E:60's website

All he needed now was a waiver that would allow him a year of eligibility. In August, the NAIA, the governing body for small colleges and universities, granted Moore's wish.

And so at 61 years old Moore moved into the dorms, for the first time since 1968.

"[It] is the Hilton, the Alan Moore Hilton," he said.

He is in many ways a typical college student, and once he gets his football pads on, Moore blends right in with his teammates.

"At first, everybody thought it was kind of weird. They didn't know how to react to him. They didn't know how to respond to him," said running back Brandon Cheatham. "But then eventually he just became one of the teammates."

Only Moore's old-school kicking shoe stands out, with "believe" written on the toe.

"I wrote that on every shoe I got as soon as I started," he said. "That was the big thing in all this, about believing you could do it."

Which brings us back to Sept. 10. With the Faulkner Eagles leading Ave Maria 24 to nothing in the 2nd quarter, Alan Moore, Vietnam veteran, father of three and grandfather of five, stepped onto the field.

"I tied my toe up. ... They snapped the ball, and I kicked it," he said. The kick sailed through the uprights, making Moore the oldest player to ever score in college football.

"It made me feel good, it made me feel really good," Moore said. "It is something that has never happened, in the history of football, it's something that has not happened since god said let there be light."

"I think the main goal that Alan tries to teach us since he's been here is never give up on your dream," said Cheatham. "Whatever your dream is, you are never to old to pursue it."

For Moore, it's not his legacy in the box score that matters, it's about the impact he makes on his teammates and family.

"Never give up on anything. Never never give up," Moore said. "That's what I tell these kids out here, never give up, that's what I tell my grandkids, never give up. Believe in yourself, never give up."

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...