By Teague Moore
Ty Moore and Teague MooreTuesday 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 titlesIn 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 MooreTy 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 HerbertAs 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."
Lost one of my hero's today...showed me the passion for our sport like no other. You will be missed my man. #ripty— Coleman Scott (@CScott60kg) December 10, 2014
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 MooreOver 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
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