Derrick Moore: Mentoring and CLIMBing

When we met with Georgia Tech chaplain Derrick Moore earlier this spring, he was getting ready to make a move. No, he wasn't leaving Georgia Tech; he was vacating his office in order for the football program to upgrade their facilities with a new player meeting room. Derrick is also looking to upgrade the services he's able to provide for Georgia Tech's student-athletes.

Derrick Moore's name is synonomous with motivativing young student-athletes. This fall will be Moore's 10th year on campus mentoring the chaplaincy program. It will also be Derrick's 4th year under Coach Paul Johnson. "It's been an unbelievable experience for me being able to service the players and his staff."

Moore has described his ten years of mentoring players as a humbling one. "I wouldn't trade any of them for anything." Moore praised Coach Johnson for going above and beyond to make it possible for him to mentor the players.

Derrick arrived at Georgia Tech in 2002. Communication between Coach Chan Gailey and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes about the possibility of bringing in someone to mentor the athletes opened the door for Moore's arrival at Tech.

Moore was doing some public speaking at the time having recently retired from a seven year career in the NFL. The FCA recommended Moore to Georgia Tech and after extensive interviews he was came to Tech to fill the mentoring role.

A board of directors oversees Derrick's work and time but he answers directly to the athletic administration. "I primarily focus on football but I provide services for any team that needs it."

With 117 student-athletes associated with football, Moore knows he could spend a whole year going through the team. "We've made it so we're flexible to serve the athletic department." The experience has been a comprehensive one for Moore in terms of sports served.

The spiritual end of things with the athletes is entirely voluntary. The mentoring end of the program allows the athletes to get help in working through life's problems. "They're still growing up and learning how to be successful." Derrick has tapped into his own life experiences to assist with the mentoring.

The program deals with a cycle of four or five years. "My job is to work within the context of their experiences while they're at Georgia Tech." The freshmen group are always a primary target for Derrick as they'll be there the longest but he's well aware that life's problems don't stop after the freshman year.

Moore's mentoring program is not funded by the school. "We raise our funding. We are not hired by the school; we are assigned to the school." Donors are a key part of the funding that allows the program to exist. The FCA is a non-profit organization which allows the donations to be tax deductable.

The program has a website GTChaplain.com that allows those that want to contibute to find information about the program. Information about the team and individual players can also be found there.

One of the new programs that Coach Paul Johnson and Derrick have started is a program called CLIMB (Championship Leadership Is My Behavior). "Coach has a passion for developing leadership on his team." Moore was asked to start the program and it has been in operation for six months now. "It's a strong accountability program that takes a team to do it."

The funding to keep programs like CLIMB going is a continual process. The mentoring program has a funding goal they must reach each year to maintain the program. As the only current staff member Derrick must maintain a yearly budget as any department would. "I think I'm ready to have a staff person that can be here for the long haul."

All donations to support the program are made via the FCA office in Kansas City. Once the donation is received, the donor is contacted and the FCA then distributes the money to meet budget needs. "The donation card has specific material that tags or designates the money for Georgia Tech."

Ask any student-athlete, coach, or administrator about Derrick's value to the mentoring program and they'll tell you how important a role Derrick Moore plays in the growth of the student- athletes at Georgia Tech.


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