John Richard Moore was getting ready to start a new clinical treatment and felt that it was time to come back home last week.
He and his wife Judith packed up their car and were headed to Newton County, where Richard was born and raised and his family still remains. On their way from their home in Gallatin, Tenn. on July 17, the Moores reached the Chattanooga, Tenn. area before Richard started to get sick.
Richard then checked in to a Chattanooga hospital and never recovered before passing away on Sunday.
Although Moore didn't reach his home town last week and hasn't lived there or in Rockdale County, where his career started, since the 1970s a large part of his legacy was carved out in Rockdale and Newton Counties.
"He loved it," Judith said. "He absolutely loved Porterdale and Newton County. The last thing we did was try to go back."
Moore was born on April 2, 1941, and grew up going through the Newton County School system, including Newton County High School. While at Newton County, he starred on the baseball, basketball and football team, helping to pave the way for the next 50-plus years of his life.
"Richard was a great athlete," said Ron Bradley, Moore's high school coach. "I remember some of the great things about our times. He was there early in my career when I first started coaching. It was being around people like Richard that kept me coaching for 50 years."
It was being around coaches like Bradley and Milton McLaney that made Moore want to stick with sports and spread his knowledge on to young athletes.
From Newton County High, Moore moved on to Austin Peay University from 1959-63 where he led the Governors as quarterback of the football team.
While at Austin Peay, he received honorable mention Little All-American honors and broke 11 individual and career records before receiving a bachelor's degree in 1963.
Upon earning his undergraduate degree, Moore returned to Georgia where he was named head basketball and baseball and assistant football coach at Rockdale in 1963.
In 1968, Moore led the Bulldogs to a region championship and state-runner up finish, earning himself coach of the year honors. Also during 1968, Moore led Rockdale to victory against one of the state's best programs, Newton County coached by his former coach and mentor Bradley.
"He did an outstanding job at Rockdale County," Bradley said. "It was obvious he was destined to be an outstanding coach and administrator."
Moore led the Bulldogs to one of their most successful seasons in 1968, reaching the basketball state championship, falling by just two points.
"He was a great guy who everybody liked," said Dan Hill, a point guard for Rockdale from 1965-68. "We were very successful going to state tournaments and finishing second in 1968."
Hill said Moore's coaching style was one the Bulldogs loved to play for.
"His only fault he had was that he was too nice of a guy," Hill said. "He was a very popular guy."
While at Rockdale, Moore was influenced by several coaches who he would look to as mentors and influence the rest of his career such as Bradley, Robert Reid and Bill McCord.
"He was a fine, upstanding man," McCord said. "He was very likeable and did a great job of coaching here.
"I would speak very highly of him and thought the world of him."
Moore also thought the world of the Rockdale/Newton area, and would keep in touch with several of his former friends and coaches throughout the rest of his life. That life would lead him to more greatness on the fields and
courts, but first it took him back to Austin Peay, where he earned his master's degree in 1971.
Following his graduation, he joined Volunteer State Community College as Athletic Director and head basketball coach. While at Volunteer State, he also became head golf coach (1972-75), but it was on the court where he made his name. He was named Western Division Coach of the Year in 1973 before going about building a successful community college.
In August, he was named to the TCCAA Athletic Directors and Coaches Committee and has served on the Tennessee Board of Regent's Insurance Committee of College Athletics for eight years. Moore was inducted into the TCCAA Hall of Fame in 2002.
"He was a great man," said Moore's niece and former Covington Mayor Kim Carter. "He was a quiet and modest man, who never bragged about himself.
"He did a lot for his students and friends along the way."