Moore creates winning atmosphere

Women’s cross country and track and field head coach Darlene Moore’s persona and coaching style can all be summed up in one word, “Aggressive.”

Coach Moore is a 12-year coaching veteran who was brought to Florida A&M after short stints with Fort Valley State University and her alma mater, Albany State University.

“I got my coaching start at Fort Valley State University. The women’s team had been finishing in the lower tier of the conference and they felt the men’s coach, who was coaching both teams, had been putting more emphasis on the men’s side,” Moore said.

It was her first coaching job and she credited her husband’s assistance in making the transition a smooth one.

 “I had never coached anything, but the transition wasn’t as hard for me as it would be for some.” Moore said. “I was coming into the profession at an older age and my husband was the head basketball coach at the university. It allowed him to give me tutelage and advice so that I could avoid some rookie coaching mistakes.”

Moore’s achievements and aggressive approach to recruiting were two reasons that helped her land the job as Florida A&M’s coach last year.

Her resume itself includes:  12 straight conference championships, 71 conference champions, two NCAA national champions, 7 NCAA runner-up champions, 15 NCAA track and field All-Americans, being the eight-time SIAC (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) Coach of the Year and three-time NCAA region coach of the year.

“I was brought to FAMU because of my winning record and being a top recruiter in the country,” Moore said.

She was also Georgia Female College Coach of the Year in 2002, beating out the University of Georgia’s Gymnastics coach and the Georgia Tech women’s basketball coach. During the same year she clinched the National female track coach of the year award.

Upon Moore’s arrival at FAMU, she was asked to coach the men’s and women’s teams.  In order to avoid the same mistakes as her predecessor at Fort Valley, she used a motto that she learned at a young age.

 “What you do for one, you must do for the others. So when I played a mutual role, I had to treat the athletes all the same,” Moore said.

Being a former student athlete at Albany State, she has used what she learned to grow closer to her athletes in ways other than being a coach.

Sophomore Lamere Buchanan praised Coach Moore and her ability to sooth her athletes.

“I love coach. She was the best coach I ever had, even if it was only for a year,” Buchanan said. “She treats us just like a mom, and she cares like one too.”

Junior Shuaib Winters credited Moore for part of his development as the MEAC cross country individual champion.

“She was an athlete, a good one at that. She knows how to win, and because I listened so do I,” Winters said.

Moore and her husband elected not to have kids, so to her the athletes garner the attention and take the role of her children.

 “I credit my success to my student athletes. If it weren’t for them I couldn’t have accomplished the things I did,” she said. If they need something and as a coach I have to go lacking, then I will go lacking.”