Moyer receives fitting farewell

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Sports Talk

By Robert Howey

Jeff Moyer, the late Buford High School coach and teacher who died from brain cancer earlier this month, was better known as “Coach Mo.”
“Coach Mo,” often related to colleagues, students and players, he was known as “The Legend.”
Fittingly so, “Coach Mo” was remembered as a BHS legend, one who could generate laughter, reverence and motivation, during a memorial service in the BHS gym on Sunday afternoon.
The day outside was beautiful as were many of the memories of Moyer in a building where he coached girls and boys basketball.
Buford High girls basketball coach T.J. Armbrust recalled a story about Moyer driving a bus to a Jackets’ road game.
Earlier in the day, Moyer and Armbrust had attended a region basketball meeting.
Later, on the way to the game, Moyer asked for a trash bag several times.
When he finally got the requested bag, he threw up in the tote.
“Must have been those mashed potatoes,” Armbrust said of Moyer referring to a meal at the region meeting.
Armbrust said he reminded Moyer the meal was shrimp and grits and he had two helpings.
“I really think he was allergic to the shrimp,” Armbrust said.
BHS athletics director Eric Funderburk, recalled a story from his days of coaching football with Moyer.
Moyer, as a line coach, was working with the Jackets linemen, having them fire out of a metal chute, a common preseason drill to help linemen stay low as they come off the line.
As a lineman fired out, his helmet bumped the top of the metal chute where Moyer was perched and focused.
The helmet contact with the chute aroused some wasps nesting in the chute and they took it out on Moyer, who Funderburk said was swatting and hopping around in an effort to shoo his winged assailants.
Moyer sought medical attention and filed workman’s comp.
Coach Wes James, a fellow assistant and witness to the incident, was asked what Moyer said.
“Ooh, ah, ouch, yikes,” James said.
When asked what could have been done to prevent the incident, James said, “Run faster.”
James said when Moyer showed up for a second practice that day his “forearm looked like Popeye’s,” the cartoon sailor character known for his huge forearms.
Jackets football coach Tripp Watts recalled his first meeting with Moyer, coming in the gym’s side door when Watts was a young assistant to start practice.
Moyer took a long look at the strapping Watts, not knowing who he was.
“Son, please tell me you play defensive line,” Watts said Moyer said to him.
Watts wasn’t joking when he talked of Moyer’s loyalty.
“He always had my back,” Watts said.
Funderburk also noted Moyer’s loyalty
“Two years ago, he was going to retire to the beach, but when he had a chance to come back to Buford, he did,” Funderburk said. “It says how much he loved this school and community.”
Rev. Randy Mellichamp, the BHS football chaplain, said Moyer won’t be forgotten.
A Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coach of the Year Award, the “Coach Mo Award,” will be presented by the Lancaster FCA chapter to a Lancaster County coach selected from nominations from the four county schools’ athletic directors.
Mellichamp said the award will be about the principles “Coach Mo” embodied.
Mellichamp stressed “Coach Mo’s” spirit will remain among many he touched and loved.
Moyer, a strong Christian who often referred to the Bible in life’s storms, was a cancer victim, but didn’t lose the battle.
“He is not lost, we know where he is,” Mellichamp said. “ ‘Coach Mo’ is in heaven!”