Spotlight on Former Athlete: Larry Moore Jr. Track & Field 1990-93, Coaches 2012
Stellar leaper Moore
started track on a dare
By Bruce Brown
You'd think with all the track and field records Larry Moore Jr. holds at the high school, junior college and university levels that it was a lifelong dream for the Ragin' Cajun Athletic Hall of Fame member.
But the Virginia Beach native sings a different tune – literally.
“I was in the band all through school,” Moore said. “My junior year, I was captain of the drum line in the marching band.
“One day at school, we were watching members of the track team work out. Those guys couldn't high jump, and we were laughing at them. So one of them said if we could do it better, to come try.
“I got into a jump-off with them, and the coaches were watching us. I think I cleared 6 feet, which was higher than any of them could do. The coach told me, 'You could be good.' So, I went out.
“There were only three meets left in the season, but I won the high jump and long jump in the city meet.”
That unlikely dare set the 9th grade Moore on the fast track to success.
He was soon jumping 6-6 in the high jump and 24-6 in the long jump. By his junior year, he was the No. 1 high school triple jumper in the nation,
But, in retrospect, it shouldn't have come as a surprise.
“We used to jump over cars before it became popular on YouTube,” Moore said. “My friends bet their friends that I could jump over cars. In band camp, that's what we'd do. That started it, and it sparked everything.
“I wrote a paper that said the best athletes aren't in football, basketball or baseball. They're in track.”
It's hard to argue with success, a journey that took Moore to Blinn Junior College and in 1991 and 1992 to the Ragin' Cajuns of coach Charles Lancon.
Moore was an NCAA All-American Indoors in 1992 in both the 55-meter hurdles and triple jump. His 54-8.25 leap remains the UL school indoors record some 26 years after he finished.
He clocked a blistering 13.66 time in the 110-meter hurdles as well as a 53-4.5 triple jump outdoors. The 4x100 relay quartet of Grady Labbe, Moore, Darrell Granger and Troy Tauriac holds third place in Cajun history with a 39.76 time.
Moore won the American South Conference 110 hurdles in 1991 at 14.14 as he helped sow the seeds of a program on the rise.
In the Sun Belt Conference, he won the 1992 Indoors long jump (24-4.5) and triple jump (51-3.5) then dominated SBC Outdoors with wins in the 110 hurdles (13.86), long jump (24-6.5) and triple jump (52-2.5) to pace UL to the team title.
He became a Ragin' Cajuns after a fateful meeting with USL assistant coach Tommy Badon, who recently returned to the school's staff.
“My junior year in high school, I was at the National Scholastic Meet in New Haven, Ct., and I met Tommy Badon,” Moore recalled. “He was there with Troy Tauriac. I was triple jumping.”
As a senior, Moore won the Gatorade Track and Field Performer of the Year at the state and regional level, then was the national runner-up to a javelin thrower, earning the attention of college programs.
“It was pretty cool,” he said. “I won a lot of awards.”
He also jumped 52 feet as a member of the U.S. Junior Olympic team.
Choosing a next step was a challenge.
“I wanted to go to UCLA, wanted to train with Bob Kersee,” Moore said. “Then (Blinn coach) Steve Silvey called the house and told me about their program. UCLA traveled to 8-9 meets a year. Blinn went to 24, and they went all over to places in the U.S., Mexico, overseas. They would compete with anybody.
“I took it. I was eventually with Tommy (Badon) at Blinn. When he left for USL, Boo Schexnayder coached me. How can you lose?”
Times of Transition, Success
When it came time to select his four-year university, Moore considered nearby options.
“I looked at LSU, and asked Tommy why he wasn't recruiting me,” Moore said. “He said he wouldn't come in on someone who had made their decision. But I wanted to go where my coaches (Badon, Schexnayder) were.
“Tommy told me I could be among many who may or may not have an impact, or go somewhere and start something big. I think there were 6 of us who went to USL from Blinn.”
Moore led the way for Cajun indoor and outdoor American South titles in 1991 and Sun Belt indoor and outdoor crowns in 1992. That springboard led to 6 outdoor and 3 indoor SBC titles from 1993-99.
He truly helped start something big.
“I wanted to focus on the hurdles,” Moore said. “But I sacrificed for the team. I did the 4x100, high jump, long jump, triple jump and 110 hurdles. We became a powerhouse pretty quickly. The transition was easy.”
Almost as easy as marching band to track back in middle school. It turns out Moore had a drive to excel, no matter his endeavor.
“I believed before Tommy Badon did,” Moore said. “I was a fighter. I competed, no matter where you're from.
“My high school coach cared about track. He got me to read the performance lists in Track & Field News, to see how good others were around the country, soI could measure myself against the best.
“I took the same mentality to college. My junior year, I was the No. 1 triple jumper in the country, was No. 1 my junior and senior year. My senior year in college, I was No. 1 indoors in the nation.
“You see you're the best at what you do, so you work harder.”
Moore served as a volunteer coach at UL in 2012 when the Cajuns nearly returned to the Sun Belt throne, and applauds the intensity that Badon will bring to Lon Badeaux's program in his comeback.
But Moore, who worked successfully to help Beau Chene's Helena Tibbs into a 38 foot triple jumper and two-time state champion before she joined UL, has not made coaching his life's work.
Instead, he is maintaining his musical roots established long ago by Larry Moore Sr.
“My father has been an inspiration to me all my life,” Moore said. “He's a musician, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004 and is in the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.
“He has spent his life playing music and singing. He chose to follow his heart and has traveled the world. He has lived the life he dreamed of and loved.”
A 1993 UL graduate in contemporary media programming, Moore taught at Elizabeth City State in North Carolina before returning to south Louisiana and to Lafayette.
Moore, who served for some time as worship director at Our Savior's Church, will come out with a new Gospel CD soon, is teaching at community college level and wants to help create digital media courses.
“I want to help kids in some shape or form,” Moore said. “I'm techno savvy. So are they. I'd like to give them courses that tap into that skill and knowledge.”
Moore is also about to become engaged – a leap of faith that tops jumping over cars on a dare.
Larry Moore Jr. shown in action in 1992. To view the 1990-93 Track & Field photo galleries, click on Photo Gallery of left side of AN home page, Cross Country and Track & Field, then the year of your interest - 1990-93.
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