It rests at the head of the table as though it has no business at all even being in the room.
Patent leather. Chrome legs. Emanating excellence.
Randy Moore’s chair out front of the rectangular table in the Anderson Training Center room in which several reporters congregate for typing fit his stance on the beat. After 41 years covering all things orange and white, he’d earned it.
InsideTennessee’s editor-in-chief passed away as he should have — on a Saturday. His stories were profound, his words respected, his work well thought out.
From his first message board post here in June 2002 when we were Rocky Top News to his last Friday and the other 14,551 in between, he kept site members and readers informed.
Administrators, coaches and coordinators came and went. Randy stayed the course, piling up several awards along the way from time at The Knoxville Journal, Rocky Top News Magazine and InsideTennessee.
However, his legacy extends far beyond the mashing of keys.
Randy made the 2-hour roundtrip from Greeneville to Rocky Top countless times for many years so he could do his job. He stayed there to be close to his failing mother Edna Moore who herself passed Oct. 6, 2013.
Like wide-eyed children around a campfire, he gained complete silence amongst us reporters when he chimed in about the Vols of yore.
Educating us recently about some of the best athletes ever covered during his four decades of work, he pointed at the athletic Carl Pickens, “Lord have mercy, he could play.”
In spite of being the leader of the pride, Randy never roared at questions from young journalists working for The Daily Beacon. He was a helpful hand with an extreme amount of patience.
As an edited injury policy grabbed headlines amongst us this week, Randy had a story about former Tennessee coach Johnny Majors jumping on him for reporting that one of the Vols walked with a limp at practice. (Note: Majors had already reported that his letterman had a sprained ankle). “I don’t want Pat Dye to know that!” Majors hammered at him.
After seeing his name in print for years, it was a tremendous honor to place a face with a name when we headquartered at the same interview station at Tennessee’s Media Day in August 2005. With Gridscape creator and former Rocky Top News publisher Chuck McCollum at his side, Randy had his notepad in one hand and a camera in the other.
He stayed old school from start to finish. IT co-workers told him about UTStats.com, but he stuck to charting each game at Neyland Stadium by hand.
From Dave Hart to Jon Gilbert to Chris Fuller to Butch Jones to Roger Frazier, it’s been a day of disbelief for staff members at Tennessee. The written word of Randy Moore flowed in and out of Rocky Top like the Tennessee River. His trotting onto Haslam Field for gathering notes on the Volunteers practices were as commonplace as the airhorn and whistles.
The beat has lengthy hours at the strangest times. At 63 years old, he came home after exiting Interstate-40 to plenty of silence. In spite of it all, he never uttered a single, solitary “Woe is me.”
He was my chief, my teammate and my AP stylebook, but above all else he was my friend.
Credentials for Mr. Moore were approved Saturday morning. He has a parking pass in the heavens.
Enjoy your front-row seat, Brother.