Since being dismissed as head football coach at McNair High School on Aug. 27, Roderick Moore sat in when McNair principal James Jones met with parents and booster club members the following day. He also attended McNair’s season-opening football game–a 42-0 loss to Stephenson on Saturday at Hallford Stadium.
Even as McNair’s football program has moved on–Jones has appointed athletic director John April as interim head coach–Moore is concerned for his former players.
“My heart is tore up,” Moore said Saturday, Aug. 29. “It’s hard to tell a bunch of 15- 16- and 17-year-olds that life is like this. Eighty kids have been affected by this and I hope they’re resilient.”
Moore was fired after meeting with principal James Jones about a miscommunication over a team meal Aug. 22. He has been reassigned to Redan Middle School.
The football team had planned to have its pregame meal Aug. 22 at Panthersville Stadium before its preseason scrimmage. When told that the county buses would be two hours late, Moore decided to have the meal at McNair. Parents and booster club members had a cookout for the team on school grounds. Jones had an issue with the use of grills, Moore said.
“I assumed Mr. Jones was informed (of the change), but he wasn’t,” Moore said. “I don’t believe this justifies me being dismissed. I’ve never been written up once. It’s not fair to the kids.
Jones has not returned phone calls. DeKalb County spokesman Dale Davis said, “There were some concerns and as a result the principal has exercised his right to move in a different direction.”
April, the McNair athletic director, was on the sideline Friday. He said he invited all of McNair’s assistant football coaches to remain on staff, and 75 percent accepted.
“The kids are disappointed because they believed in (Moore) and cared a lot about him,” April said. “We’re in the process of keeping the ship going and keeping upbeat as far as the kids are concerned. People are emotional about the whole situation.”
April said he did not know how long he would remain interim coach or what the timetable is to hire a new coach.
“They want to stabilize everything and then sit down and put calmer heads together,” April said.
Moore joined the McNair staff in 1999 as an assistant coach and was 26-18 in four seasons as head football coach. He also sent about 60 players to college on scholarship during his tenure.
“I’ve been so overwhelmed by the support in the community,” Moore said. “I have to accept this, but I let my character and integrity speak for me.”
Moore said he has spoken to Tucker coach Franklin Stephens and Southwest DeKalb coach Buck Godfrey since the dismissal, but has not been offered an assistant coaching job within the county.