NCAA DIV II hall of fame!  

shadeofpink 43F
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5/25/2006 4:53 am

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5/25/2006 7:23 am

NCAA DIV II hall of fame!

Ronald Moore
Running Back
Ht/Wt: 5-10, 220
Born: 1/26/1970
College: Pittsburg State
Drafted: 1993, round 4, by the Phoenix Cardinals

Moore picking up another award in Florence

13 years after winning Harlon Hill Trophy, former PSU star to be inducted into NCAA Division II Football Hall of Fame

Morning Sun Sports Editor

Ronald Moore made a lot of memories during his four years at Pittsburg State University.

There was the 379-yard rushing performance against Portland State in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs in 1992. There were the back-to-back five-touchdown, 32-point performances in the '92 playoffs - against North Dakota State and Portland State. There was the 99-yard kickoff return to open the 1992 national championship game, the first time in championship game history that any player returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. There was his acceptance of the Harlon Hill Trophy as the top player in Division II on the eve of the '92 championship game. There was his role on the 1991 Division II championship squad. There were his three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, his 2,585 yards in 1992, his 5,776 career yards, his 1,477 rushing yards in the playoffs.

But the thing that Moore remembers most about his days at Pittsburg State had nothing to do with statistics or moments of accomplishment.

"I think the thing I remember the most about college was the relationships we built," said Moore, who tonight will be inducted into the NCAA Division II Football Hall of Fame during Hall of Fame/Harlon Hill Trophy ceremonies in Florence, Ala. "The players, the coaches, the fans, that's what I remember most."

Moore will be inducted tonight in the Class of 2005 that also includes Chris Hatcher, an All-American quarterback at Valdosta State, Ga., and the 1994 Harlon Hill Trophy winner, and Donnie Shell, a standout linebacker at South Carolina State in the early 1970s who went on to star at free safety with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Moore is the first Pittsburg State representative in the 7-year-old Hall of Fame and is the first player from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association to go into the hallowed hall.

Moore, who last week graduated from the Oklahoma Police Academy, is a police officer in his hometown of Spencer, Okla. He came to Pittsburg State as a walk-on freshman in 1989, earning playing time on special teams and as a back-up running back. He spent the 1990 season in a rotation in the backfield, splitting time with Darren Dawson and Kelly Lawson, and rushed for 1,233 yards. In 1991, as a junior, he ran for 1,576 yards. Then, as a senior in 1992, he set school records with 2,585 yards and 39 touchdowns en route to winning the Harlon Hill Trophy.

"To be honest, I don't know if I had any expectations, especially being a walk-on," Moore said, looking back on his collegiate career. "You never know how things are going to go."

They went fairly well for Moore and the Gorillas. He wound up at Pitt State because Division I schools lost interest in him when he didn't have an early ACT score posted. Moore recalled that was because he missed one of the national testing dates because he didn't realize he needed the score - used as a college entrance standard - so early in his senior year. He also attracted some attention as a standout wrestler at Spencer but was under the radar in football recruiting.

"Things have a funny way or working out sometimes," Moore said. "If I expected anything, it was to earn a chance to play. That's all, I think."

Moore made the most of his opportunity. After winning the Harlon Hill Trophy, unanimous All-America honors and a spot in the Hula Bowl all-star game as a senior, he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals and rushed for 1,018 yards as a rookie in 1993. He spent three seasons with the Cardinals and had a seven-year NFL career that also included stints with the New York Jets, St. Louis Rams and Miami Dolphins.

"The NFL isn't always what it's cracked up to be," Moore said. "A lot of times, there's more disappointment than excitement."

In Arizona, he got his rookie opportunity after Cardinals' first-round draft pick Garrison Hearst suffered an injury. But when Hearst became healthy, Moore became the backup. He never found his NFL niche again, never getting a serious opportunity at a starting spot even after a remarkable rookie season.

"The business can leave a bitter taste in your mouth," he said. "It can make you lose your desire for the game."

Being at Pittsburg State, though, was much more palatable.

"I think only now I see how good we actually were," Moore said. "I think a lot of times, that was overlooked. When I was playing, I really didn't look at it that way. That's the way we were supposed to be. But we had some great teams at Pittsburg State. I'm very proud to have been a part of that."

He also is proud to be wearing a different uniform these days, as a police office in Spencer.

"It means a lot to be back in my hometown," he said. "You have a lot of respect for the people you knew way back when. But now, it's more important because of the fact that the younger kids look at you, and the role model you're able to set.

"It means a heck of a lot to me to be back in Spencer and doing something worthwhile."

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