Following his team’s state 1A first-round loss to Mount Baker in Bellingham in November, Hoquiam head football coach Rick Moore went around Civic Stadium and talked to each of his players. Many of them were emotional, but Moore got to just about everyone, especially the seniors playing in their final game.
For the Western Washington University alum, it was a bittersweet moment. It turned out to be his final game, too.
On Thursday, in a letter he submitted to the Hoquiam School Board, he retried from coaching Hoquiam High School football after four seasons as the head coach and 14 years overall. After 34 yards of coaching football at Hoquiam and Aberdeen, Moore will be on the sidelines when the games begin this September.
“I started mulling it over last spring and really thought about it during the summer,” said Moore, who will also retire from the school district from his high school physical education position. “I took everything into account — (son) Seth’s college graduation, Cindy (wife) retiring, my parents — and it seems like it is the right time to do so. The program is in great shape.”
Moore spent the majority of his coaching career as an assistant coach, primarily as a defensive coach and coordinator, for several Aberdeen and Hoquiam head coaches. At Aberdeen, his high school alma mater, Moore played for Al Eklund and coached with Ron Langhans and Robbie Longborg before becoming a head coach for four seasons from 1998-2001.
Moore moved up the ranks, starting as an eighth-grade football coach and moved up to the varsity to help out Langhans while teaching physical education at Aberdeen.
After a year off, Moore moved over to Hoquiam’s football staff as a defensive coordinator with Todd Hoiness and Jason Ronquillo before returning to the head coach’s chair for four seasons with the Grizzlies in 2013.
At Hoquiam, Moore guided the Grizzlies to an Evergreen 1A League title and a state 1A quarterfinals berth in 2015. He finished with a 26-16 record at Hoquiam and a 32-48-1 career record in eight seasons.
“It is not how you start, but how you finished,” Moore added. “That’s something we always taught our players.When I was at Aberdeen, there was one season when we won just one game. I believe that was one of my best years coaching, even though you didn’t see it. It was a matter of keeping the focus on positives, improvements and development and everyone stayed together.
“All of the years, all of those experiences helped out later on, the ups and downs are a part of the game,” Moore said. “I truly love and still have a passion for the game. But, it is time to invest in myself and my family.”
Moore noted that he had rotator cuff and foot surgeries in the past and marveled at how someone like his assistant coach, Ed Dawson, can keep going. He also thanked Hoquiam High School, the school district, youth football programs, all of his coaches past and present and the community itself for all of their support of the Grizzlies.
“Working with the kids and Friday nights, I’ll miss that,” Moore said. “There’s nothing like that under the lights, making the calls based on all of your preparations you’ve done that week, that season and the time before. I know when I go to that first game, I’ll get a lump in my throat. I’m not completely done coaching, but I need a little bit of water under the bridge to focus on family, being with Cindy and being around our parents. I’m at peace with it.”