Football runs in the veins of David Bryan Moore also known as “Big Mo.” His football roots go back to his great grandfather, and Moore has done his part to continue the tradition in his family. From playing with a U.S. Marine Corps football team, to coaching youth football and playing semi professionally before coming to Mar Vista High School - Moore has seen all aspects of the sport. As the new head football coach at Mar Vista High School (MVHS,) he is excited about the future, but Moore doesn’t just want to coach the kids. He wants to help them be successful individuals as they move past high school.
Moore is often referred to as “Coach Mo,” at MVHS. This nickname comes from the time when he played football and other players called him “Big Mo.”
Moore started at MVHS last year as the Varsity Offense Coordinator and Junior Varsity Head Coach. For Moore it was an exciting time to be at the school. He is quick to point out the program’s accomplishments - the team’s quarterback had the second most passings in San Diego and a receiver gained over 1,000 yards in nine games.
Last year was Moore’s first year coaching high school football. For the past 20 years he has coached football at the youth level, starting from the time when he was in the Marine Corps and played semi-professional football. On top of that, he had three young sons. “Looking back it was kind of insane, not only did I have little ones, I was coaching football and playing for the San Diego Thunder,” he recalled. “My schedule worked out, youth football ended at 7 p.m. and practice started at 8 p.m. I enjoyed my time playing football.”
Football has been a part of his family’s history for over 100 years. His great-grandfather, Dr. Leroy G. Moore, on his father side, played college football for Southwest College in Oklahoma and an article about him was published in the New York Times. His grandfather Dr. David Leroy Moore coached football and basketball, and a gym was named after him at Prairie View College in Texas.
Moore was in the Marine Corps for nine years and really enjoyed his time playing on a team with other Marines. “My last day in the Marine Corps, I played in the Best of the West game,” he said.
After moving to San Diego, he once again started coaching youth football at the club level with the Clairemont Youth Program, Otay Ranch Broncos, and Bonita Buccaneers among the many teams.
Moore is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and later moved to Hartford, Conn. and from there he joined Marine Corps. Since leaving the Marine Corps he has worked as a government contractor.
At MVHS, Moore was noticed for his enthusiasm and great work and when the former MVHS head football coach announced he was leaving, about 30 parents wrote to the athletic director to ask him to hire Big Mo for the job. Moore explains that while there has been a lot of turnover, with four head football coaches in the past four years, he is planning to stay. “I’m excited to get the coaching job,” he said.
Moore hopes that a new football field will be a reality soon, so that Mar Vista can play games at home. This year the majority of games won’t be held at home. “One of the challenges this year is that we have a lot of away games and the stadium lights have been taken down,” he said. Moore also has a way of looking at things positively. He explained that while last year the team was in the D4 division this year it was placed in the D5. “We are in the number two seed in the division, we are in the top of the D5. It should be a really be a good year for us,” he said.
While football is not in season, Moore is getting the team ready, working hard with about 20 players lifting weights at 6 a.m., while others go to the gym in the afternoon.
Moore has two personal goals. First is to make sure all the kids have good grades. Last year one MVHS player was offered a football scholarship, but he feels more students should have the opportunity of playing college football. Moore said that some college football coaches have come to the school and invited some of the players to visit the colleges. His second goal is to show students they have options after high school. “A lot of people push college, but I want to push options,” he said. Moore pointed out that while going in the military or attending college are ways to go, there are always other opportunities like going into a trade. Based on that belief, Moore has worked with Councilmember Matthew Leyba-Gonzalez and MVHS will hold a job fair in the gym on Friday May 20 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many trades will be represented from air conditioning to plumbing and roofing. Moore plans to target juniors and seniors for the job fair to give them an idea of what’s available in the future. He said many seniors have told him they don’t know what they want to do. “You can do a paid apprenticeship, get certified and you can double or triple your salary…there is so much talent in this community,” he said.
Moore would like the community to support the school and the players. He thought of a way to help the community and use the football players to be seen in the community doing positive things. Moore organized a beach cleanup through the Surfrider Foundation and 30 players helped pick up trash. The players wore MVHS football gear and many residents stopped by to shake hands with them and someone went as far as giving them money for ice cream. “It makes a difference when the community is behind the football team,” he said.
“If they grow up to be amazing men and women I’ve succeeded,” he said. “I’ve seen high school teams that won state championship and not one kid had a college offer. I love winning games but my number one goal if for these kids to be taken care of,” he said.
Next week he plans to have a meeting with parents and students to inform them of what they have to do to play college football, and the different divisions. He also plans on talking about life lessons. During his time on a semi-pro team he met players that were good enough to play in the NFL. “I asked ‘Why aren’t you in the NFL?’ and the answer was ‘I did something silly,’ ” he recalls them saying. Moore plans on speaking to the kids about mistakes that can affect their lives and their futures.
Apart from being a good player and football coach, Moore plays six musical instruments and started painting, something he took up as a stress reliever during the pandemic. He has painted large portraits of the most valuable players which are hung in the locker room as a motivator for other players.
Moore is not only a coach, but a motivator and inspiration for his team. But most of all he’s committed to the program and helping his players succeed.
Vol. 38, No. 20 - Thursday, May 19, 2022