From touchdowns to testimony

Former NFL running back Moore now Ga. Tech team chaplain

By Michelle Pope
STAR STAFF
mpope@starhq.com

   Former NFL running back Derrick Moore struck a chord with members of Milligan College's Fellowship of Christian Athletes Tuesday evening at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
   Brandishing the obituary section of a newspaper to drive home his point, Moore, the current team chaplain for Georgia Tech's football team, delivered his religious message to the crowd seated around him on the floor of the basketball court.
   "If you don't make the sports column, you will make the obituary page one day," Moore warned the student athletes.
   Moore, who played for the Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals, said he wasn't sure he could give an accurate explanation of how he went from playing professional football to serving as a chaplain at Georgia Tech.
   He just happened to be in the right place at the right time when the university was in search of a football team chaplain.
   "My passion has always been Christ, and the Lord in His sovereign way opened the door," Moore said. "I was available and there we were. I knew I wanted to be a minister after football, I just didn't know in what capacity."
   Moore totaled 457 rushing yards in 1993 and 1994 with Detroit, and ran for a crushing 740 yards in 195 carries with the expansion Panthers in 1995. He scored 11 touchdowns in the three-year span.
   Today, Moore says he can still run 40 yards in 4.29 seconds and bench press 420 pounds. He was named as NAIA All-American his senior year at Troy State and took MVP honors in the 1992 Hula Bowl.
   The motivational speaker said he had help in maintaining a Christian image under the pressure of the public eye during his years playing for the NFL.
   "I think early on, it's always a challenge, but I think the thing I had instantly was a group of people that were like me," Moore said. "They kept me encouraged and kept me around the right things, and as a result of that, I had focus."
   The former running back wrote a book with a collection of stories from his life and ministry called "The Great Adventure." Directed towards high school and college students, he wrote the book to help guide young adults to find their place in life.
   "I wrote it in June of 2003," Moore said. "It's been out now nearly a year and we're excited about "The Great Adventure." Moody Publishing is the book publishing company that did the work on it and it's a message for high school and college kids. It's a great read for college students. I travel the country speaking to universities and even high school groups."
   Allison Murray, a sophomore education major and member of the FCA staff, organized the event. After former Milligan student Chris Eger led praise music, Murray gave a personal testimony and spoke about how the FCA impacted her life.
   "It was one problem after another, after another, after another," Murray said about the coordination of the FCA event. "I actually had a different speaker lined up and she canceled on Thursday night, so I had to call up Derrick. Derrick came through like a champ and helped me out.
   "Today, we had to move locations with about an hour's notice. That's why we're here instead of the chapel, but it couldn't have worked out any better. I'm happy with the way it went and I couldn't have asked for anything different."
   Murray said she called every contact she could think of before she came across Moore.
   "A friend of mine goes to Georgia Tech and she recommended him and gave me his phone number, so I called him up," she said. "He really helped us out."