Coach Orwell Moore – Eulogy
November 25, 1917
May 19, 2009
Good afternoon everyone
we gather this day as family, friends and neighbors
to pay final
respects and to celebrate the glorious life of Orwell Moore.
Many of you may not know me.
My name is John Molina and I am a
historian of women’s basketball.
I am very blessed to have had Coach
Moore as a very dear friend and
mentor in my life. He was a great many things to all of us.
of Orwell, I need to break out different facets of his life.
While he enjoyed many sports, basketball became his
Coach Moore was originally an English Teacher who also coached the girl’s
back in the 1940s. In 4 years while teaching, he
coached these teams to 120 wins and only 4 loses.
it was during a game he played in when his men’s team took on a
barnstorming women’s basketball team called
the All American Red Heads.
Just prior to the tip off, the center of the Red Heads came over to
bent down and planted a red lipstick kiss on his forehead.
It was destiny.
A few years later, the
owner of the Red Heads would approach Orwell
about becoming the Coach of the Red Heads. His only condition was
have his beautiful wife, Lorene, play for the Red Heads.
For 7 Seasons Orwell traversed across the country
with Butch before the
Moores bought the All American Red Heads and moved them to Caraway.
For the next 3
decades, Orwell ran the All American Red Heads, some
seasons having as many as 3 teams on the road at the same time,
playing over 200 games each.
Yet, while statistics may make the front page of the sports section, if
that is all one looks at, they do not get to know who Coach Moore was.
Ask any player and I think they will
all tell you he expected the best
of them, both on and off the court at all times, and could be a stickler
how he wanted things done.
And yet to become an All American Red Head was like waking up every day
it be Christmas morning.
He provided opportunities for women to play professional basketball when
opportunities existed for women to play basketball after high
He taught the players the 4 D's
These qualities these women learned
in their days as a Red Head would go
on to become a part of their lives and who they are to this day.
had a great love for his player as women as well. He got to know
them, their parents and so on. Decades
later, I say Coach must have had
a photographic mind, as anytime a name was mentioned, he could tell you
the player was from, what their parents did for work and what kind
of people they were.
He even went on
to live one of his own dreams, by creating Camp
Courage. A place
for the Red Heads to coach some of the younger girls
that had the dreams of one day playing professional basketball
Red Heads, and some of them did.
Alas, with changes in society and the evolution of the game, the
American Red Heads would take the court for their final season in
1985-86, being coached by Orwell's son,
Although the games are no longer, Coach Moore never stopped promoting
the Red Heads.
Moore and the All American Red Heads are legends. I have spoken
with many professional and Olympic players.
Virtually all of them know
of the All American Red Heads.
Rebecca Lobo would send autographed pictures to
the players at a
reunion. Billie Jean King herself wrote a letter to the players and she
All American Red Heads "Her Heroes".
The women’s basketball hall of fame has a display on the
Red Heads. A
Red Heads uniform in on exhibit at the Basketball Hall of Fame in
Interest is growing in Orwell and the All American Red Heads and it has
become his legacy.
thing I haven't done is to mention any players specifically other
I know this is how Coach would
have wanted it. He always said the Red
Heads were about a "team" and not the individual.
a historian, I have been asked many times who is the greatest women’s
basketball player. I don't like to
answer that one. What I do tell
people is that the women who played basketball for Orwell Moore and the
American Red Heads were some of the greatest women to ever take the
The All American Red Heads would
play 32 minutes a game before the time
keeper would blow the final whistle.
This week, the ultimate time
keeper, our Lord, called a timeout and
invited Coach Moore to take a place beside him.
Yet as much as his
life was the Red Heads, he was so much more.
His love for Caraway and community was unlike most people I've ever
After talking on the phone about the Red Heads, Coach would always start
talking about the
townspeople. How much he loved them and how helpful
and supportive they were.
When I visited Caraway
for the first time, he drove me around town,
giving me a personal tour, stopping by the bank and stores to introduce
me to the people that were important to him in his life.
Thanks to all of you for being a part of his life
and looking out for
him. He always had the highest praise for you.
Now I come to what was most dear
to him in his life.
Although the Red Heads took up much of his time, at the core of his
heart for his love
for his family and faith in the Lord.
There wasn't a single conversation I ever had with him in which he
speak of family and its importance.
He cherished the time he had with both the Moore and Adams families.
They completed the happiness in his life. Loving the laughter,
fellowship, and even competitive leisure
games like cards and dominoes.
His love for his children, Tammy and Burnie. Tammy's kids, Cassie and
Colby and Tammy’s husband, Johnny. I could feel his heart lighten in his
voice whenever he spoke of them.
Of his never ending love for his beloved Butch. The many happy memories
of her, often to be replaced
by a quiet moment of his reflection on
May we all be as blessed to have a love in our life the way
He would even talk with me on Linda-Kay. The daughter of Orwell and
who passed away at a very young age.
And like almost every conversation I had with Orwell, he would be of
strong faith in God.
And just as we were saying goodbye, Orwell would say
that's all I Know".
"May God Bless you John and your family".
And if Orwell was here
with us right now, I think he would say"
"May God bless all of you and your families".