Football: Greene County’s Mitch Moore takes job at Des Moines Roosevelt
By Brandon Hurley
The 2018 District 9 coach of the year is moving on.
After two seasons at the helm of the Greene County football program, head coach Mitch Moore has officially taken the same position at Des Moines Roosevelt, confirmed Friday afternoon.
“It’s a really unique setting and centrally located in Des Moines. There’s tremendous upside,” Moore said. “I don’t know if there’s ever the right time to make the jump, but I think it’s an opportunity for me to go to a place that I think can use a guy with the energy and the passion that I can provide and someone that wants to build a winning football program.”
In two seasons as the lead man, the Greene County High School activities director guided the Rams from a 1-8 record to 8-2 overall, a shared district championship and a return to the playoffs.
The chance to make the jump to a bigger school in the Des Moines metro was too big of an opportunity to pass up, the coach said.
“What jumped off the page for me was the leadership of their administration and their efforts that are going into making athletics and their football program really important,” Moore said. “I had a great connection with them and certainly had a lot of trust in them going through the interview process."
Moore came to Jefferson in the spring of 2017 after spending a handful of years as an assistant at Iowa State University. He’s a graduate of Ballard High School, going on to play college football at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He helped win a Division III championship as a wide receiver before latching on as an assistant following graduation. Moore also spent some time coaching at Southeastern Oklahoma State.
The Greene County job was Moore’s first head coaching stint at any level.
With the rigors of enduring a losing season his first year on the job, Moore had to take his lumps, but he used that as fuel and as a learning experience and transformed it into a record-setting second year.
He realized being the leader of an entire program won’t always be easy, but helping establish a new culture was a thrill.
“I learned what things are really important and what things aren’t. I continue to develop as a leader and and certainly how to develop a staff and how to build young men,” Moore said. “Football isn't everything in high school. It's just a part of what makes (the kids) and if you can really make that part unique, you can really have an impact on their lives.”
On the flip side, damage control and staying focused on the end goal no matter the circumstances are often a few of those difficult tasks. Trying to separate one’s self from getting too immersed with it all was a challenge, but something Moore feels he rose above.
“What I learned more than anything is to try and avoid some of the outside noise,” Moore said. “When you're at a university or you're at a bigger school, you're not as intertwined with with some of the negativity. In this place (Greene County) you are. It can really have an effect on your family and it can have an effect on the people around you if you let it. I learned to really value what was important and what's not.”
Des Moines Roosevelt, located a few miles west of downtown and just southwest of the Drake University campus. The Roughriders are in Class 4A, the largest class in the state of Iowa.
The metro school plays their home games at the historic Drake Stadium.
Roosevelt was 3-6 a year ago, including a 2-3 in District 2, a grouping that including a Ankeny Centennial, who held the No. 1 ranking for most of the year and ran the tables during the regular season, Southeast Polk who earned a trip to the state semifinals and record-setting Fort Dodge.
In two years leading the Greene County program, Moore compiled a 9-10 record. He engineered a seven-win turnaround in just a 12 month window. The Rams produced the best start in Greene County history this past fall, a 5-0 romp through the early schedule, finishing the regular season at 8-1, the most wins in the consolidated school’s history.
The toughest moment came when Moore had to address his players. Because he was a first time coach, the situation was entirely new to him. He’d never had to say goodbye to an entire program before.
“It was really tough,” the coach said. “There were a bunch of emotions and I certainly have not wavered from day one.
I have loved those kids every step of the way and I coached that way. They understood that and I knew that they would be mad and angry and upset and hurt.
Then at the same time, I think they were they were happy that I'm getting the opportunity to fulfill one of my aspirations as a coach.”
Roosevelt last won a state championship in 1958, but Moore believes there’s potential to return the Roughriders to glory.
“It was an opportunity for me at this stage in my career to be in Des Moines, that media market in Iowa and really generate a positive positive perception for Roosevelt High School,” the coach said.
Moore said he plans to stay with the Greene County High School as activities director through the winter and into the spring.
He hopes to have a hand in the hiring process for the next coach as well. He’ll officially be announced as the Roosevelt head coach in the coming days.