Home Sports Local Sports Former running back succeeds because of mother’s love

Former running back succeeds because of mother’s love

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DonTrell runs for a big gain against Utah. (University of New Mexico Athletic Communications Photo)

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As DonTrell Moore was introduced to the crowd to give his acceptance speech on Friday evening at the Marriott in Albuquerque for being inducted into the University of New Mexico Hall of Honors. Moore did so with gratitude, graciousness and a humble heart.

The University of New Mexico running back DonTrell Moore in college carries his team to a victory. (New Mexico Athletic Communications Photo)

“It means the world to me,” Moore said. “It is the culmination of hard work and dedication and the support of my teammates. To the people that loved me from my family and friends — it means a lot. To me, it says that all those sacrifices that you made have come full circle and it is one of the highest honors you can receive as an athlete. It means a lot to me from a working hard standpoint and that my team goals were met.”

He thought about the long journey of hard work and perseverance. Moore thought about the setbacks he had suffered and how all of his haters and naysayers would one day have to admit he was the greatest running back to ever play at the University of New Mexico.

When Moore got up to give his speech, he had some tears in his eyes when he thought about how far he had come — growing up without a father and never knowing his dad. He looked out in the audience and saw the person that is his everything and that has been both mom and dad to him — and the main reason he has achieved where he is today — his mother, Angie Moore.

“My mother is my world,” DonTrell Moore said. “She introduced me to football because I was a basketball player. She (mother) said, ‘I want you to be well-rounded. I want you to try football, soccer and baseball.’ Football never defined who I was as a man, it only defined what I was doing and that was just as important to me as any touchdown I ever scored and I got that from her.”

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DonTrell Moore being inducted into the Hall of Honors on Friday. (University of New Mexico Athletic Communications Photo)

As he looked at her, he spoke from the heart and thanked her, about all of the people that have impacted his life. He thought about how his mother made him play football because she wanted him to be a well-rounded person. Moore loved basketball and hoped to one day play in the NBA. Moore was also dedicated in the classroom and graduated from Roswell with a 4.0 GPA.

“If I didn’t get A’s, I couldn’t play sports,” DonTrell Moore said. “My academics and the way I was treating people was more important to her than sports, that’s what allowed me to excel in football and that played an important part of her being a single mother. She figured out ways to give me opportunities to go play. She’s my world, my heart and she’s been my rock. She always has and always will be.”

As DonTrell Moore was speaking, he thought of playing in his only year at Mountain View Middle School and the impact his coaches made on him as they won the City Championship, and he remembered coach McIntyre and Hickey. What the middle school season taught him was how to be a leader and to lead by example — something he carried to high school.

DonTrell Moore recounted how in high school he would meet Jack Cisco, a coach that would change his life. DonTrell Moore said that Cisco wouldn’t allow him to play varsity as a freshman and was an old-school coach. DonTrell Moore enjoyed his freshman year and was proud that they won the Border Conference title that year.

He remembers getting moved up toward the end of his freshman year and getting to play against Goddard. He started his sophomore year and went both ways. The thing that he remembers best was winning the state title his senior year against Piedra Vista with a backup quarterback.

DonTrell Moore says that his team was down 31-7 going into the fourth quarter, but came back to win 35-31. He felt like people and even the announcers gave up on the team when they were down.

“There was a time when I didn’t know if I wanted to get up early and do football,” Moore said. “Coach Cisco would come to pick me up and take me to practice. What I learned from him is self-discipline and perseverance. I learned that self-discipline is doing what you’re supposed to when you’re supposed to be doing it, and doing it right the first time without being watched, because someone else wants you to do it.”

DonTrell Moore feels like the reason he is a successful businessman, person and human being is because of the self-discipline he learned under Cisco. To DonTrell Moore, that meant going to work out when no one else was around, or run or lift the weights when you don’t feel like it.

“Doing things on my own,” DonTrell Moore said, “is the biggest thing I learned from Roswell that allowed me to excel and go on and be successful at UNM. I had offers from all over the country. Roswell football and coach Cisco taught me a lot about self-discipline. I even had to change some of my habits because football came so easy to me. I wanted more and I wanted to be better.”

As DonTrell Moore was giving his speech, he thinks back to his favorite moment in RHS football. He noted the turning point in their season after losing three games was a movie called “Finer Things.” It was in 1987-88 Micky Reeves and his teammates won back-to-back state championships and that team created a video called “Finer Things.” In his senior year, he felt that his team was the best team in the state. They had started slow going 2-3, losing to Hobbs, El Paso, Franklin and Carlsbad.

“We used to watch that video,” DonTrell Moore said, “we said, we want to win our own state championship so we can create our own ‘Finer Things.’ There is a part in that movie that talks about a Wednesday practice. Coach Cisco references it. I remember it was a Wednesday practice before district. It was the most intense practice I ever had, even in the NFL. This was by far the most intense practice I ever had. We had players fight player and coaches fighting coaches. It was so intense because we all wanted to win and we were all mad. We all rallied after that practice and didn’t lose a game. We won seven in a row to win the state championship.”

After that practice, which was in shells and not in full pads, it turned their season around. RHS went on a winning streak as they beat Mayfield, Artesia at Artesia, Onate, Goddard, Moriarty, 66-14. Farmington and Piedra Vista. The team banded together and said nothing is going to break us. Nothing, not even being down 31-7 in the state championship game.

In that state championship game, Moore had one touchdown, two interceptions and 218 yards rushing. He also noted that the Coyotes were down 31-28 with one minute and a half to go in the game. He intercepted a halfback pass in the end zone and they drove 80 yards to win the game.

“I get to take my place in New Mexico sports history,” DonTrell Moore said. “When I played, I just wanted to help my team win. I look back now and see how special this is. I look back now and think it was a pretty special time for Lobo football.”

As Moore was thanking everyone for his success, he knew that if not for the village of Roswell and his mother, he would not be standing up there receiving this award.

“I’m more proud of the man he is,” his mother, Angie Moore said, “than the football player he was.”

A list of his accomplishments

Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology 2005

• Held Mountain West Conference career rushing leader record until 2017 with 4,973 yards

• UNM career rushing leader

• UNM freshman rushing record holder with 1,117 yards

• 51 rushing touchdowns and 59 total touchdowns — the most in UNM history and first in conference history until 2017

• Surpassed 1,000 yards rushing in the ninth week of the 2005 season to become just the sixth player in the history of NCAA DIA football to reach the 1,000-yard mark four times in a career

• 1,028 career rushing attempts are the most in school and Mountain West history

• 26 career 100-yard rushing games (UNM record)

• Averaged 103.6 yards in 48 career games

• Broke the UNM single-season rushing record in 2003

• UNM record for most rushing touchdowns in a season 2005

• 2002 Mountain West Freshman of the Year

• 2003-2004 Pre-season Honorable Mention All-America

• 2005 Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year

• First player in UNM and Mountain West History to be named First Team All-Conference four times

• Doak Walker Award semifinalist

• 2005 SI.com Honorable Mention All-America

• 2005 UNM Hall of Honor Male Athlete of the Year

• Program Manager at the Bernalillo County Youth Service Center

• Color Commentator for UNM Football 2014-Present