Longtime Fruita coach back on sidelines for rival GJ
Bill Moore could not sit out for long.
The former Fruita Monument High School football coach is back on the sidelines this fall as a defensive backs coach at rival Grand Junction.
Tigers head coach Robbie Owens met with Moore to discuss philosophy and added the veteran coach to his staff.
“I really missed it that year I was out,” Moore said. “Robbie giving me the opportunity to get back into it has been a lot of fun.
“There’s nothing like the smell of a Friday night football game. ... The excitement of the fans, the players, the anticipation of the game. I don’t know if there is anything more exciting than a high school football game.”
Moore brings more than 25 years of experience to a relatively young staff in charge of the Denver Post’s second-ranked team in Class 5A.
“I thought we’d be very good this year and I wanted to make sure coaching-wise we improved as a coaching staff,” Owens said. “I sat down and thought about it, ‘here’s this guy with all this experience at Fruita, I’d be crazy not to take him up on it.’
“He came over to my house, we sat and talked. I think he’s been an amazing asset to us. He’s a guy I can rely on asking for advice. I can ask him for his input and I know he won’t be afraid to tell me what he thinks, and I appreciate that.”
Moore, who was the offensive coordinator at Fruita, is adjusting to being a defensive coach.
“It didn’t matter to me what I was going to do, I just wanted to get back into it,” Moore said. “That’s what they wanted. I can do whatever.
“It’s good to get back on the defensive side. It’s been a good learning experience. Old dogs can learn new tricks.”
Although he still teaches at Fruita, the Tigers’ players have welcomed his intensity and experience.
“He’s a good coach,” senior defensive back Chandon Rose said. “He definitely knows his stuff. Every time someone makes a good play, he’s in your face letting you know you made a good play. It’s definitely a good thing we got him here.”
“He teaches with high intensity,” senior cornerback Zach Lebsock said. “That’s what makes us focus. He gets us intense, we listen and learn.”
Moore started coaching in the valley in 1989 as the defensive coordinator at Grand Junction under Dave Warmack. The next year he was an assistant for Mike McDermott at Fruita Monument, then three years at Central on Jerry Pitzer’s staff.
He took a year off to get his master’s degree, then returned to coach the Palisade freshmen under Joe Ramunno in 1996.
He landed the Fruita Monument varsity head coaching position in 1997 and remained there until 2009, when he was fired. In his 13 seasons, Moore led the Wildcats to five consecutive Southwestern Conference titles, two state championship games and 34 consecutive wins in conference play.
“I see these kids have set goals and are working hard to achieve them,” Moore said. “I see good attitudes about working hard. They don’t complain. Robbie’s leadership has led them in a direction; they know what it takes to win and are making the sacrifices to do it.”
The Grand Junction-Fruita game this season might be a little awkward, but Moore just wanted to get back in the game.
“I’m coaching because I want to coach,” he said, “not to hurt Fruita.”