News file photo Former Mount Vernon boys basketball coach Dave Moore, center, reacts to a play during the Yellow Jackets’ game against Whitehall on Jan. 29, 1982. Moore, who went 244-95 in 15 seasons with the Jackets, passed away Monday. He was 77.
News File Photo Former Mount Vernon boys basketball coach Dave Moore.
News File Photo Former Mount Vernon boys basketball coach Dave Moore.

Former Mount Vernon boys basketball coach Dave Moore who went 244-95 in 15 seasons with the Jackets, passed away Monday. He was 77.

 

MOUNT VERNON — Good coaches have a huge impact on their athletes, especially those at the high school level.

But, some have an even larger impact on those players off the court. Mount Vernon lost one of its best Monday when Dave Moore passed away at the age of 77.

 

“I got to know coach over the years. He was a staple for Mount Vernon basketball. He had tremendous success on the floor, but if you talk to any of his former players, his impact on them off the court was tremendous.”

Nick Coon, current MVHS boys basketball coach

 

“This is very sad, for him and his family and the people in the community,” said Scott Dapprich, who played for coach Moore in the 1990s. “He was fun to be around. For me, I know he made me into a better person besides a better player.”

Moore was the head varsity boys basketball coach at Mount Vernon High School from 1981-96, accumulating an incredible record of 244-95. His teams won nine league titles and three district titles. Moore was known as a very disciplined coach, and his teams reflected that.

“Dave was very team-oriented. He had a winning program, but he preached family first, win as a group and be positive,” said Jim Nussbaum, who was on his last team at MVHS. “If you tried hard, played hard and was dedicated to the program, Dave would slap you on the back and give you kudos. We had a great father-son type relationship. He was proud of your accomplishments. When you did well, he would tell you.”

Moore was an assistant coach to Keith Merrin when he first arrived in Mount Vernon from Chillicothe. He took over a successful program in 1981 and kept things going, finding success quickly and recording only one losing record in 15 years.

“After my junior year, coach Merrin stepped down, so we went into our senior year not knowing who the coach was going to be. There was a lot of anxiety,” said former player Gary Bastin. “Fortunately, Mount Vernon hired coach Moore. I think that turned out to be a pretty good decision.”

Moore won 18 games and the league championship in that first season, laying the groundwork for a tremendous career. He also spelled out pretty quickly to his new team how he was going to coach.

“One time in practice, I stole the ball and went up for a dunk. I missed. He wasn’t a big fan, said I wasted two points,” Bastin said. “I thought practice would be a pretty good time to try it (dunking) — it wasn’t.”

Practice was definitely the time Moore used to mold his young players. He was very organized in his practices, planning things out to the last detail. And if things went off track, he let the players know about it.

“He kicked us out of practice my junior year. We were getting ready to play Worthington Kilbourne in the tournament and in less than 20 minutes, he kicked us out,” Dapprich said. “He said we were just going through the motions and lights us up. He said, ‘Get out of my gym.’

“By kicking us out, it motivated us and woke us up. We won the next game against a really good team.”

He worked his players hard during practices, as well as in the classroom. But, he also enjoyed his time with them, taking them to Mr. Pizza or bringing in donuts for early morning practices.

It wasn’t just the high schoolers who Moore taught, though. He ran the Sunshine League for kids in fourth and fifth grades, helping them learn the fundamentals of basketball while also having fun. It’s where many of his future players learned to ply their trade, then learned how to give back once in high school as they helped out the younger Jackets.

He even had a huge influence on some who didn’t play for him.

“He’s the biggest reason I developed a love for basketball,” said current MVHS coach Nick Coon. “My dad (Eritt) was his assistant coach, so I grew up in the gym, grew up in The Hive.

“I got to know coach over the years. He was a staple for Mount Vernon basketball. He had tremendous success on the floor, but if you talk to any of his former players, his impact on them off the court was tremendous.”

One reason behind Moore’s success was the assistant coaches who helped him. From Eritt Coon and Doug Savage to Kent Miller and Bob O’Hara, there were many who helped guide these young men.

“He asked us as assistant coaches to contribute thoughts and ideas,” Savage said. “If you had something on your mind that might help the team, he wanted you to make sure to convey it to him. He may not always use it, but he always encouraged that, asking us what we thought. I modeled my baseball and basketball programs the way he ran his programs. I probably incorporated a lot of his ideas into both of my programs.”

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Fred Main: 740-397-5333 or fmain@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @http://twitter.com/mountvernonnews