The son of well-known and longtime local sports writer Jimmy Moore, Marty Moore worked for the Times News for a time, earning his first bylines at age 16. He spent many a Friday night on the sideline with pen in hand.
“My first job wasn’t working at Pal’s or anything like that. My first job was working three nights a week from 6 to 9 o’clock taking calls and writing the scores down at the Times News,” Moore said. “Dad was writing a lot back then and I would go with him to the ballgame and do punt yardage on the sidelines. On the way back to the office, I’d total up his stats or transcribe his quotes and when we got there, he’d go to work.
“I started doing that when I was about 12 and when I got to be 16 and had my own car, I’d cover some of the games and write the stories. I did that for about 10 or 12 years, stringing for the Times News or Tri-CitiesSports.com. I think my last byline was probably in the early 2000s.”
Last week, his outstanding efforts in support of local athletics garnered Moore the TSSAA Distinguished Service Award for 2019-20.
“I was honestly really shocked and honored to even be nominated,” he said. “I grew up pretty much involved in sports all the time. Dad was organizing a lot of things in Church Hill like the T-ball league, youth basketball and other stuff, so I think I just took after him.
“Dad was very instrumental in our lives with sports and with writing. My brother, who is five years older than me, even did a few games when Dad had gallbladder surgery and walked him through how to do the boxscore, the game, stats and getting quotes.”
Moore himself had a solid athletics career at Volunteer, hitting the golf links and making the all-conference team once. Meanwhile, he was performing well in area junior tournaments.
He went on to earn his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Tennessee.
Coaching beckoned to him, and softball was his first calling. He coached in the middle school ranks at John Sevier for three years, then took over the baseball program when Ryan Wagner took over the Dobyns-Bennett program.
For 14 years, Moore helmed the Warriors baseball program, but he also started coaching the junior varsity basketball team.
“I was in and out of coaching basketball, but I was always doing baseball,” Moore said. “What’s funny is that a combination of myself, Mike Fulkerson and Aaron Gourley have been the basketball coaches at Sevier for almost the last 30 years.”
Son Matthew was born in 2002, and when his son was about 5, Moore said he gave up coaching for a little while. He had duties to fulfill as a dad and he wanted to coach him growing up.
When Matthew reached middle school, Marty got back into the coaching game and went four more years.
Among his notable coaching accomplishments was leading the Sevier boys basketball team to the middle school sectional championship in 2002-03, which served as a precursor to the state tournament.
“That team was absolutely loaded. The spring prior to that basketball season, we only started two eighth-graders and I remember Daniel Kilgore played third base,” Moore said. “Coty Sensabaugh played basketball but never baseball for me. I remember that we hadn’t beaten Liberty Bell all season and we met in the area tournament finals and lost to them by four.
“We came back and met again in the sectional finals and beat them by a point in overtime. That was such an awesome feeling and it is still the only middle school sectional championship that Sevier has ever won.”
Moore serves as the East Tennessee representative on the TMSAA committee and has helped progress middle school athletics into the forefront today. He’s the only member on the committee who is not in an administrator’s role. In addition to being Sevier’s AD, he is a full-time math teacher at Sevier.
“Even a few years ago, middle school sports weren’t really all that big of a thing. Now it has way more meaning,” he said. “This coming school year is going to be the first year of a girls softball and baseball state championship. Lots of school systems throughout the state are jumping on board.
“It’s bringing a whole different dynamic statewide to figuring out how districts, areas and sectionals are going to be set up. Two major school systems like Hamilton County and Nashville don’t participate in TMSAA-sponsored events because they’re more focused on education. With the enticement of a state championship, though, that’s a big game-changer.”
Moore also got to watch his daughter compete, though in a different arena.
Meghan was a member of the D-B band, playing clarinet, and Marty had the pleasure of attending the national championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
“Being a band parent was completely different and exciting experience for me,” Moore said. “No matter what happened, I could not give her any advice because I don’t have a musical bone in my body. The closest thing I had growing up was Dad playing a banjo. It was a change to say the least, but she definitely made the correct choice.
“Going to Indianapolis the first time D-B qualified for the national finals was as nerve-racking as any sporting event that I’ve ever been to. It was just a great experience overall.”
Moore has been the AD at Sevier since 2016 and enjoyed every moment of it.
“Being involved with athletics is instilled in me and it was from a very early age,” Moore said. “My wife (Sha) of 22 years knows that athletics is big for me and she’s embraced it. I wouldn’t trade anything for it.”