HARTSELLE — Bryan Moore and his wife Lindsey were enjoying the holidays with their three sons when he received a phone call New Year’s Day that changed everything.
The call was from Hartselle asking the Jasper head football coach if he would be interested in making a move.
“I came to Hartselle for what was really more of a conversation than a job interview,” Moore said. “Then things started moving fast.”
The 34-year-old Moore accepted the job as Hartselle’s new head football coach on Jan. 4. He was approved by the school board last Tuesday. He hit the ground running Wednesday. The plan is to have the family moved and the boys enrolled in Hartselle schools by Jan. 21.
“Jasper was incredible to my family,” Moore said. “We loved it there, but when a place like Hartselle calls, you have to listen.
“Academics are huge to my wife and I. Hartselle has Blue Ribbon schools, and that’s important to us with three young sons (Parker, age 9, Baker, 6, and Tucker, 3).”
Hartselle was searching for a head coach after Bo Culver resigned after one season with a 4-7 record. Culver followed Bob Godsey, who was head coach for 16 years before moving to Madison Academy.
“The tradition of Hartselle football and what Coach Godsey did here is amazing,” Moore said. “How can you not want to be a part of something that successful?”
Success, tradition and great coaches have been key to Moore’s coaching career, which started in 2007 after the Lanett native graduated from Auburn. Coaching legend Spencer McCracken hired him as a ninth grade assistant coach at Opelika. In 2009 he was a varsity assistant coach at Opelika for head coach Brian Blackmon, who is now an assistant coach at Troy. Moore was named offensive coordinator in 2012.
Moore was 29 when he became head coach at Class 6A Eufaula in 2015. The Tigers went 48-12 in three seasons with three playoff appearances. He became head coach at Class 5A Jasper in 2018. In two seasons, the Vikings went 22-3 with two region championships.
Last season, Jasper was ranked No. 1 in Class 5A for 10 weeks. After opening with a 21-19 win over Cullman, Jasper had shutout victories over Dora, Corner and Hayden. The Vikings caught a lot of attention around the state when they traveled to defending 5A state champion Central Clay and won 35-34 in double overtime.
Jasper closed out the season undefeated and opened the playoffs with a 55-14 win over Madison Academy. That set up a second-round rematch at home with Central Clay. This time the Volunteers won 20-7.
For Moore that’s five seasons as head coach with a 48-12 record, two region championships and five trips to the playoffs.
“To me there are three things you need to be successful,” Moore said. “Having good players is foremost. If you don’t have the players, it doesn’t matter if Nick Saban is the coach.
“Community support is second. Third is having great resources, and then all three have to work together.”
Two area coaches have firsthand experience with Moore. Will McDaniel was on Moore’s staff at Jasper in 2018 before leaving to join the staff at Austin, his alma mater.
“He’s highly organized, motivated and driven,” McDaniel said.
Lawrence County was a region rival of Jasper’s the last two seasons. Jasper beat Lawrence County 28-7 in 2018. Last fall, Jasper had a 42-20 win Lawrence County. The Red Devils were the only team other than Clay Central to score 20 points or more on Jasper.
“He has a high football IQ,” said Lawrence County coach Rich Dutton. “He uses his resources effectively and his teams consistently had high energy. They were extremely disciplined defensively.”
Moore said his philosophy is to run the football using a fullback and tight end to help with the blocking.
“I don’t like the term spread offense,” Moore said. “I want our team to establish physical dominance at the line of scrimmage. I want to win with defense. I had rather win 10-7 playing smart football.”
First impressions have Moore excited. Cal George returns at quarterback. Drew Cartee is back at linebacker.
“There are a lot of pieces coming back,” Moore said. “Just about everybody who touched the football last season returns. Most of them were around in 2018 when they won 11 games, so they know what it takes to be successful. That’s a great place to start.”