From Construction Worker to College Football Player at 61

Alan Moore in uniform.In 1968, Alan Moore played in the National Junior College Football Championship as a freshman kicker for Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Miss. The next year, he shipped out to Vietnam, ending his athletic and educational career. After completing his tour of duty, Moore became a construction worker and spent 37 years as a building superintendent in Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina and overseas.

Now 61, Moore has finally returned to college and the game of his youth. This season, he is the placekicker at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala. He's also the oldest college football player on record, according to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Moore is staying in the athletic dorm and "living the life of a student athlete," he says. But he's the only player who has five grandchildren cheering in the stands at every home game. While returning to classes after so many years has been stressful, he says he's "having a blast."

Going back to college was not his original game plan.

When the economy tanked several years ago, Moore was laid off in North Carolina after almost four decades in construction. He and his wife retired to Homestead, Fla., to raise avocados. But on a trip to visit grandchildren in Mississippi in 2009, he went to watch a football game at his old junior college -- and began itching to kick again. Returning to football "wasn't a dream or anything," Moore says. "Their kicker wasn't doing well that night, and I just joked to some people that I thought I could kick for them the next year."

After receiving encouragement from his friends, Moore built makeshift goal posts in his daughter's backyard and started kicking, just to see if he still had it in him. He did. It seemed like a perfect way to complete his life's circle by playing one more season at his old college, using up that last year of eligibility on the junior college level. Once he got his groove back, he tried out for the team at Jones. But even though he "out-kicked their recruits," the coach wasn't interested, he says.

However, the coach at nearby Holmes Community College was interested and asked Moore to play for him. As a player at Holmes in 2010, Moore found that he not only enjoyed being back on the field but also relished the opportunity to mentor his young teammates.

"My whole focus is to encourage these kids not to give up on their education like I did 42 years ago," Moore says. "The more kids we educate, the less we incarcerate."

When the 2010 season ended, Moore began looking for a four-year college. His coach at Holmes introduced him to a coach at Faulkner, and "we just bonded," Moore says. On Sept. 10, he kicked the Eagles' first extra point of the season in the opening game against Florida's Ave Maria College.

His teammates call him names like Moses, Old School and Grandpa. "All those kids out there have got my back," he says. "It's really not about me; it's about them. At the end of last season at Holmes, one kid came up and put his arms around me and said, 'You changed my life.' That made it all worthwhile."

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