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A Man for All Seasons

Practicing with 22 teams, dean at La Salle learned what it’s like to walk in college athletes’ shoes

Jim Moore took grounders with the baseball team. Moore says he was most impressed with student-athletes’ passion and dedication. MOLLY GALLAGHER / LA SALLE UNIVERSITY

Jim Moore never played organized sports in high school or college, but in the 2015-16 school year, he got to experience a snippet of life on college teams – all 22 of them on his campus.

Moore retired in August after a 43-year career spent mostly in student affairs on college campuses, the last seven at La Salle University in Philadelphia. He always has tried to make sure he understood not only the student-athlete’s perspective, but the administrators’ and coaches’, too. Embarking on a 22-practice odyssey, though, gave him unexpected insight.

The idea was sparked by a conversation with a member of the rowing team in spring 2015.

“I was curious about what the student-athletes go through,” says Moore, who retired from La Salle as the vice president of student affairs and dean of students. “I have always been a good supporter of athletics at all the schools I’ve worked at, but I didn’t know all the ins and outs of what the athletes do to get prepared for their season.”

Moore asked then-La Salle Director of Athletics Tom Brennan for permission to participate in practices with each of the Explorers’ teams. After Brennan ran it past all the coaches on campus, Moore took to the fields, courts, track and weight room at age 66, experiencing firsthand how workouts are conducted.

“I had already established relationships with most of the coaches on campus,” Moore says. “That’s what really made this happen. They already knew me. They were very creative and good sports to let me do this.”

His first workout was a preseason practice with the field hockey squad. With temperatures in the 90s, Moore took part in drills. When the field hockey team began a full scrimmage, he noticed the men’s soccer team was starting a workout, so he asked to join in for his own version of a two-a-day practice.

“One of the best parts about doing this was I got to meet more people – like the assistant coaches, graduate assistants and athletic trainers,” says Moore, who also has worked at Benedictine College in Kansas, Marian University (Wisconsin), Creighton University in Nebraska and Marquette University in Wisconsin.

Highlights of his workout tour included rowing in an eight-person boat, learning what it takes to box out in basketball, and taking grounders at shortstop.

“What I enjoyed is how each of the student-athletes found a sport that they were passionate about,” Moore says, “and that they are willing to put in the number of hours that it takes to prepare for their season.”

About Champion

Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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