Foley's Friday Mailbag: Tribute to Ty Moore

Ty Moore, four-time PIAA state champion, popular youth coach and the brother of American University wrestling coach Teague Moore, died this week. He was only 43 years old, but in his short time had a significant impact on the wrestling community. To honor Ty's life in wrestling, I've asked Teague to share his thoughts on his brother's life.

In wrestling,

By Teague Moore

Ty Moore and Teague Moore
Tuesday morning started like any other weekday morning should. There was the morning routine, but also something special as I was going to be the chaperone for my oldest daughter's school field trip. We've been talking about it for weeks and both of us were excited for the day.

When the phone rang from my mom, I answered as I moved through my finals steps a parent takes sending the family out the door.

The news she shared stopped me in my tracks. My head spun and I felt sick. It was a phone call I'd prepared myself for, but the reality was far more nauseating than I ever anticipated.

Ty was gone.

His death has closed a chapter of my life that had been filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. My hero, my mentor, and my biggest fan was now gone.

Ty Moore set a standard in Pennsylvania high school wrestling during the late 80s and into the 1990s. When Ty was wrestling in his prime a friend described him as the "Baryshnikov of wrestling" -- never in a difficult position. Always fluid.

Ty Moore won four PIAA state titles
In positions many feared to go, Ty would willingly step in and dare his opponent to strike. When he was ready, Ty would then turn his opponent's offense into a position of dominance. He'd usually find the fall.

When I was in middle school my brother couldn't lose. When Ty wrestled his motions were easy. Everyone loved to watch Ty wrestle. Parents in our area planned their evenings around North Allegheny High School wrestling matches. That school's Dream Team was exactly that as they dominated the competition around the state. Standing at the front was my brother. I was proud. I was Ty's little brother and to me he was the world.

When my wrestling career failed to compare with his, it was Ty who came to me and DEMANDED better. He wanted nothing less than the best from me and he would say and do anything to make sure that happened. When Ty would come home from college he would work with me on the little things. "Fix your hips," "Pressure forward," and "Stop acting like a wuss and do it, Teague."

Feeling sorry for his little brother never happened.

Ty Moore
Ty demanded that I achieve at the level he knew I was capable of. Over time my success came, largely when I started believing in myself like my big brother had all along. That belief in self, something that he'd given me, was what turned things in my favor. Ty was the catalyst and he had been the inspiration. I never stepped onto a mat without at least a small thought of hoping Ty would see me and give me that reaffirming smile and hug when the job was done.

The most impressionable thing Ty ever did for me was to sit me down during my ninth grade year and say, "Don't ever screw up another class again. You have to make the academics work for you. I'm struggling in college right now and your classwork matters more than the wrestling. DON'T BE LIKE I WAS."

It was the first time I ever heard my brother talk about schoolwork. But he was suffering in college at UNC. In high school he did enough to remain eligible and because his hand was raised at the end of almost every bout, he was allowed to get away with being subpar in the classroom. He would not let that happen to me.

When I wrestled in college my brother was always watching or calling someone to get the move-by-move action over the phone. The memory that still brings me to tears was in 1998 after my NCAA championship match. As I finished my ESPN interview I sprinted into the belly of the convocation center at Cleveland State. I was in a full sprint and screaming at the top of my lungs. I wanted to exit the belly and run up the back stairwell to see my family. The Moores traveled as a clan, and the clan was ecstatic. I just wanted to hug every single one of them.

Ty Moore and Jake Herbert
As I sprinted down the dark and empty hallway, who did I see coming at me at full-speed, somehow screaming louder than me? My biggest hero. My big brother, Ty Moore.

We hugged and we were crying tears of joy. Just behind him was my brother Tommy. How they passed security, found the stairwell and knew the hallway would lead to me? Only big brothers would know and only big brothers would make it happen.

The process and scenario repeated many times. If competing in California, Ty would be front row . . . Minnesota, Iowa, Arizona. Ty was there. My biggest fan, my biggest critic, my rock, my foundation.

As Ty moved into coaching his family grew. Suddenly guys like Jake Herbert, Coleman Scott, and Phil Davis became Ty's new little brothers. I remember coming home one summer while training internationally and Ty had 10 or 12 Angry Fish wrestlers sleeping at the house. It was a makeshift training camp of champions, trained killers, and the death cry was "The Russians will fear you. You are an Angry Fish."

He could motivate the group and he could motivate the individuals.

Ty loved his wrestlers like family. He wanted the best for his athletes and he wanted the best from them. I loved meeting the new kids every summer. He would point them out and say, "He's got it. He's going to be a hammer." Ty would call them over make them look me in the eyes, shake my hand, tell me their name and then just to make them start believing he'd say, "Now tell coach what you're going to win the season." The kid would shrug and say, "I want to win states." Ty would correct them, "Say it like you mean it!" The kid would repeat it back while puffing out his chest and pulling his shoulders back.

As he would walk away, Ty would smile and say, "Yep! The brainwashing has begun. He's got it!"

At the 2012 London Olympics Coleman Scott and Jake Herbert both represented Team USA. As Coleman took the mat and battled for his bronze medal, you can see a guy in the stands. He's in a bright yellow colored shirt. He's out of place because those seats were reserved for FILA members. But once again Ty Moore had worked his way into the front row at the Olympic Games. His little brother Coleman was going for bronze and was damned if a security pass, photo ID, or an official FILA licensing would hold him back from watching his little brother win that medal.

Teague Moore and Ty Moore
Over the last decade I watched Ty slowly fade away. The brother I'd idolized and loved was disappearing. Our father warned us many times about the dangers of alcohol and our family's history of alcoholism. It became tough to watch, tough do deal with. I loved him so much but issues were building up. What would he do or what would he say? Could he stay sober all day? The fear of what he would do next made me question if my kids should be around. We didn't want to have to explain why Uncle Ty did or said something that they couldn't understand.

I love my brother dearly. He taught so much in this short life. He showed me the right way by example and sometimes the wrong way, by example. But he never wanted me to make the mistake that he made. He always said to learn from his mistakes and I'd get the job done quicker. He was the epitome of an older brother. I thank God for the wonderful life he lived and for always allowing me to close to him.

Ty was a special person and maybe someone so special can't remain with us too long. Maybe they are needed for other purposes, higher purposes. I'm thankful that he will be watching over my family and my four children every day moving forward. To them Uncle Ty is gone but he won't be forgotten. My daughter Maryn Sophia cried for three hours straight today because we had to go through Uncle Ty's belongings. She just wants him back a little while longer, so do I Maryn. I want the Uncle Ty back who I can admire on top of the podium. The Uncle Ty who made arenas come to their feet in applause and amazement. I've wanted him back for so many years.

Ty, I love you and I miss you. You meant the world to me and you helped me prepare to take on the world. I will see you in time my brother and when that time comes it will have been but only a moment apart.

Ty Moore highlights

Teague: One of my most cherished memories is sitting with Ty at a Pearl Jam concert in Pittsburgh and both singing aloud to Just Breathe. Please take a minute and remember your best memories of Ty.

Obituaries and thoughts

Post-Gazette Obituary
Farewell Ty Moore
Eulogy for a Comrade by Rob Prebish

Facebook post from former Angry Fish wrestler and NCAA All-American Matt Storniolo

The world is a little less weird, a lot more quiet and a much sadder place without Ty Moore. I hope that Ty realized how instrumental he was in all of our lives at one point or another. There are so many reasons why I am thankful for having had known him. The first is for all the times Ty was looking out for me off the mat. I can remember trying to gratefully decline Ty's help because I felt it was too much or not his responsibility. He told me, "Somebody did this for me and someday you'll do this for somebody else." And I will ... I will forever be thankful to Ty for taking an eclectic group of individuals and bringing them together as more than just a team. The Angry Fish were like the brothers I never had. Ty knew that what made the group so special wasn't just the things we were accomplishing on the mat, but the people we had to share those moments with and all of the experiences we shared along the way. I'll never forget you Ty. Thanks for everything. "Sum Iratus Piscis"

Ty Moore with his Angry Fish brothers


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mcaroten (1) about 5 and a half years ago
quite a eulogy which only a close family member, friend and brother could deliver. Thanks for sharing Teague....quite a loss for the community at large
Ohio_Hawk (2) about 5 and a half years ago
A remarkable remembrance by a grateful brother, Teague. I got to see you win your national championship at Cleveland State in 1998. How could anyone forget that rare defensive pin! But, how little we appreciate the fuller human story behind every athlete that steps onto the mat. You've shared some of that with us, Teague. Blessings on all your family.
mikeski23 (1) about 5 and a half years ago
Very sad news. Such a beautiful, personal eulogy by his little brother. Well done posting this all Foley.

p.s. That highlight reel was just amazing. 7:49, enuff said.

farnham (1) about 5 and a half years ago
Gantry (1) about 5 and a half years ago
Great tribute Teague, that highlight video was amazing as well.

I first learned about Ty from his Dapper Dan match many years ago, which will live on forever.

Condolence to the Moore and Angry Fish family.
mac (1) about 5 and a half years ago
Phenomenal tribute as one of 4 brothers...May God richly Bless Ty and your family. What an impact your brother made to our great sport..
Jhiner (1) about 5 and a half years ago
I vividly remember my trips with my son and his Erie team mates to Angry Fish practices. Ty, always flamboyant, was great. Listening to his expert instruction and ramblings only a wrestler could understand, always brought a smile to my face. Ty was always willing to help any wrestler who was willing to give all at those practices. The world is a little emptier without this true LEGEND! RIP Ty Moore, your smile, wit and advise will be missed.
tmomartin (1) about 5 and a half years ago
An incredible tribute. Thank you for sharing.
scotts85 (1) about 5 and a half years ago
Incredibly sad news. He was one of the best ever. As a 119 pounder in 1990, Ty was this mythical beast that I dreaded running into if I made it to states.
dwhit (1) about 5 and a half years ago
I have coached and been lucky enough to see a lot of great wrestlers but when your brothers name was mention in a room of wrestling people everyone who saw him was in a loss for words I am very sorry for your families loss.
ofcrboob (1) about 5 and a half years ago
Condolences to the Moore family....the world needs more people like Ty....he is such an inspiration to so many....and will continue to be for a LONG time
JeffVasquez (1) about 4 and a half years ago
RIP, your memory and accomplishments will live on. You are missed but not forgotten. Jeff
tbianco (1) about 4 and a half years ago
I graduated in 1990 also & through my youth came to know many of the western PA wrestlers. Gus and NA was a special group... they were in fact the Dream Team and Ty led the way.
He's missed in the wrestling community, can't believe he's not with us and my his legacy live on.
rajatgaikwad7277 (1) about 11 months ago
I think this is an informative post and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article