A man of deep faith, Mesa High football coach Kelley Moore felt he’d written on his own wall it was time for a change last year.
Instead, he came back for the 2013 football season, and after a 3-7 record and Mesa administration’s support to return, the writing was still there.
Moore called it a career at Mesa late last week, resigning as the school’s football coach after seven years and a state championship game appearance (2009). Moore was 32-44 in his seven seasons at the school, but without a winning season since that magical run to the Class 5A Division I title game.
He’ll stay on until the Jackrabbits find a new football coach – he was doing weightlifting at school at 5:30 a.m. on Monday - and he plans to continue coaching (head coach or assistant) in the Valley moving forward.
“Everything about our program is good and healthy – character, grades and community service - there was no pressure at all,” he said. “I believe a tremendous amt. of responsibility including winning. I feel great about what we’ve done, but not about winning. I owe that to the kids and they deserve best opportunity possible.
“A lot of good kids are coming back. The cupboard’s not bare for whomever is coming in.”
Moore came to Mesa after coaching at Glendale Independence, and was widely praised and revered for his professionalism, class and working with any number of extraneous facets which go beyond the field, wins or losses at the school.
The program up-ticked its community involvement and community service under Moore, in-season and off-season, something he insisted upon his players and staff. He was also unwavering in his kids’ understanding of the school and community history, and didn’t provide much leeway in terms of discipline.
The Jackrabbits struggled competitively the past few years on the field, though he believed another 1-2 wins in 2013 might have earned the team a Division I playoff spot, “and maybe we’re not having this conversation.”
Mesa lost three games this season by a touchdown or less (Highland, Skyline, Surprise Valley Vista).
“Faith and what I feel in my heart is where I’m being led,” he said. “It’s time to back off. I want to walk the walk that I talk.”
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.