Haley Sawyer/The Signal

Matt Moore makes return to Hart football

Matt Moore is wearing red and black once again.

But instead of the football uniform he wore when he was the quarterback at Hart in the early 2000s, it’s a t-shirt, shorts and the white ball cap with the unmistakable “Hart” lettering in cursive, red writing that nearly every coach dons.

Moore is in the process of becoming an assistant coach for the Indians, although he’s been observing practices for two days now.

“This is a traditional program,” Moore said. “History speaks for itself, to be a part of that was awesome and to maybe be a part of stuff in the future is exciting to me too.”

Moore graduated from Hart in 2002 and afterward played at UCLA and Oregon State before beginning an 11-year NFL career with the Carolina Panthers and the Miami Dolphins.

After his final season with the Dolphins in 2017, he took on a role as a scout for the team for about six months. When his NFL tenure ended, he picked up the phone and called Bryan Martuscello, an assistant coach at Hart.

“I was just like, ‘Hey I think I’m going to come out and see what it’s about,’” Moore said. “Just be around the game and be around the guys. It wasn’t a hard process to get through to get out there.”

Moore spoke with head coach Mike Herrington immediately after, who had no hesitation in bringing his former quarterback aboard.

In Moore’s two varsity seasons at Hart, the team went 25-2 and won two CIF titles. His senior year, he threw for over 3,300 yards and rushed for more than 400 yards. In total, he had 40 touchdowns.

“That would be awesome,” was Herrington’s response to Moore’s phone call. “Someone with his experience to get a different look on different things, aspects of the game and it just gives us another qualified person out there to help make adjustments and give some finer coaching tips to these athletes.”

Although he is unable to directly interact with the players until he officially is named a coach, Moore has been offering encouragement to coaches and suggestions on how to improve different aspects of the game.

He’s watched this season’s starting quarterback, Zach Johnson, in games prior to this season and has a positive opinion of him.

“I like him. The kid is tough. He’s a really smart kid, plays the game the way the game should be played,” Moore said.

Moore’s family is still in the area, along with his wife’s family. With two younger brothers who have gone through the Hart program, Moore has stayed in touch with the coaching staff and has attended games as he progressed through his college and professional football career.

“He’s been probably one of the best alumni to stay in touch with the coaches,” Herrington said. “During the offseason, when he was in college and when he was even in the pros, he would come around here quite a bit.”

Moore said he is unsure if he’ll make a career of coaching or if it’s something he’ll dabble in. At the end of the season, he’ll decide what his next move is.

Regardless of how long he’s with the Indians, his goal is to make the team better and learn a little about himself in the process.

“I’m probably going to learn a lot,” Moore said. “I hope that anybody that I come in contact with out here, hopefully I can pass something along to them that’s going to make them a better player. I just hope to help Mike in any way that I can, not that I have all the answers because I definitely do not, but just little things.”

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