Longtime Tribune sports writer Bob Moran, 55, died at his Chandler home Tuesday after a 3½-year battle with stomach cancer.
Moran covered Arizona State athletics for the Tribune from 1987 until 2004 when he was diagnosed with the disease.
Opinionated, knowledgeable and personable, Moran left a lasting impression on virtually everyone he met.
“He was the first person to teach me how to tie a tie,” former Arizona State and NBA star Fat Lever said. “We were going to a dinner event and I didn’t know how to tie a single loop, a double loop, nothing.
“But that was Bob. Always going the extra mile. He was like another family member to me.”
Moran attended Ohio University where he worked for the Ohio University Post (two years) and the African-American Affairs (four years). He graduated in June of 1974 and started a sports writing career at the (Tucson) Arizona Daily Star in July.
Moran was the backup Arizona football writer that year while also covering junior college sports. He became the main Arizona football beat writer the following year and also covered the Cleveland Indians in spring training.
In 1980, the Star became one of the first papers in the country to open a sports bureau outside its main circulation area and Moran moved to the Valley to cover area sports, concentrating on ASU. He was the backup writer for ASU football that first year and he took over the following year.
He started at the Tribune in 1987 and covered every ASU-UA football game from 1975 until 2003.
“Bob was an institution around here,” Tribune executive sports editor Bob Romantic said, “and not just because of his incredible knowledge of college sports. Bob was just a warm, infectious person you couldn’t help but feel comfortable around. He absolutely loved coming to work every day.”
Arizona State and Arizona recently decided that the MVP of the Territorial Cup game between them would win the Bob Moran Most Valuable Player Award.
“The thing I remember about Bob is that what I told him he wrote,” former ASU and Ohio State football coach John Cooper said. “He was one of those sportswriters where you never had to wonder what was going to appear in the paper.
“He never misquoted me or took me out of context. He was a consummate professional and I have a great deal of respect for him.”
In the Tribune offices, Moran took a good deal of ribbing because he rooted for five college teams: Ohio University, Ohio State, LSU. Clemson and Southern.
But his knowledge of college sports was never questioned. In fact, he was known more by his nickname — “Coach” — because he knew more about the game than just about anybody.
“When (ASU athletics director) Lisa Love came here I sat with her and said if there’s one person with perspective you talk to, I recommend you talk to Bob Moran,” Arizona State baseball coach Pat Murphy said. “I said ‘You will not get a wisp of bias or personal agenda. You’re gonna get 100 percent wisdom.’
“He was just a genuine man with a bunch of information.”
Moran is survived by his mother, Esther. Local memorial service information has not been announced. Moran’s funeral services will be held in Baton Rouge, La. at a date to be determined.