DEDE MOORE: The fourth quarter

AS ONE WHO helped Jim Walden introduce the spread offense at WSU, DeDe Moore was a linebacker trapped in a split end's body. "For that offense to work, the receivers had to know how to block and throw crackbacks -- DeDe was one of the best," says John Breland, a fellow receiver. Remembers QB Ed Blount, "He would punish folks. DeDe was good." Today, DeDe is trapped inside a body that's stolen his ability to walk, speak or even to move. And it's also robbed the community of a tireless do-gooder.

Irvin Demetrius Moore Jr., known to family and friends as DeDe, who lettered for the Cougars in 1982-83, is battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS is an insidious neurological malady with no cure --- insidious because the mind is often completely unaffected while the body deteriorates.

Moore's disarming smile and winning personality are gone now, hidden by the ravages of ALS. But his friends are by his side. A group of Cougar teammates gathered at DeDe's house earlier this year.

"That's when it really hit everybody, just how serious it was," said Blount.

Blount earned Pac-10 player-of-the-week honors orchestrating a near flawless 34-14 dismantling of undefeated, No. 9 ranked USC back in 1986. After his Palouse playing days, he returned to Southern California where he owns a couple of businesses and got together with his friend DeDe about once a week over the years. In 2005, he launched the Moore Hope Foundation to help defray DeDe's medical bills.

"I saw an opportunity to raise some money for him and his family," said Blount. "I'm one of those people who doesn't know much about ALS. I do know that I'm watching my friend go through it. And it's a terrible disease."

The organization's first big event, a golf tournament, was fueled by help from Breland and old teammates James Matthews, Tracy Adkins and Jerald Waters. Dozens of others, from the Rev. Junior Tupuola to Cougar assistant coach Mike Walker, played in the tournament. More than $10,000 was raised.

But additional money is needed, say Blount and Breland. They want the Cougar Nation to know one of its loyal crimson soldiers needs a helping hand.

"Every single dime of it goes to DeDe," says Blount in a quiet voice.

You can send contributions to:
Moore Hope Foundation
16747 Magnolia Blvd.,
Encino, CA 91436

During his WSU career, DeDe Moore caught 22 passes for 323 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Jim Walden's Cougs.

MOST OF THE MEMORIES Breland and Blount have of DeDe are from off the field. The recruiting trip Blount and DeDe took to Washington State, and the ensuing snowball and water fights. The countless road trips that freshman year, when every three-day weekend meant a drive home to California. And the time DeDe accidentally drove a car off a small cliff coming back from a game in Spokane.

And there was the time DeDe, perhaps illustrating his prowess as a wide receiver, dove head first into an elevator. Later that night, DeDe was doing his DJ duties at a party -- but from the closet -- apparently so the guests wouldn't be scared off by his two black and blue eyes and Mummy-like headdress.

ONE NOVEMBER, a group of California players decided seven days wasn't adequate for Thanksgiving Break. DeDe, Blount, Kitrick Taylor and Cedric Brown decided they'd stay home an extra week, catch the WSU-UCLA hoops game Thursday and then return to the Palouse -- after missing a week's worth of classes. It was a fine plan.

As the group stretched out in expansive Pauley Pavilion, who should be sitting across from them but Walden and some of the coaches. Walden was glaring directly at them. The stare was bad enough, but there was more waiting for the foursome back in Pullman.

"There's coach Walden, coach (Ken) Woody and coach (Lindsay) Hughes and we're not in school," laughs Blount. "And I remember Walden, after the meeting Monday morning, screaming, 'I want to see DeDe, Kitrick, Cedric and Ed in my office...RIGHT...NOW!' He got us in there and just chewed out like you wouldn't believe."

"There's more of those kinds of stories that I remember than the football ones," says Blount.

BEFORE AND AFTER he was stricken with ALS, DeDe was extremely active in the Altadena/Pasadena community. He operated Moore II Moore, the family owned salon/barber shop.

"I think everybody that came in contact with the guy liked him," said Breland. "There was this homeless person that would come into his barber shop asking to wash cars. DeDe would give him his own money to go wash his customers' cars. That's the kind of guy he is. It is so sad that this happened to him."

DeDe was involved in raising money for Sickle Cell Anemia in the area, organizing an annual fundraiser in 1999. His last fundraiser was in 2003. He participated in the activities despite being in a wheelchair.

"He was still doing things for Sickle Cell Anemia even then," said Blount. "He's just an all around good guy."

DeDe would also go to schools in the community, doing underprivileged kids' hair for free, every year.

"And he never told anybody," said Breland. "I just found this out. They'd be over there for eight or nine hours. Everybody loved him in the community. I'm just now finding out how truly generous of a guy he was."

Breland's fondest memory of his entire WSU career is going into Seattle to beat the Huskies in 1983 and the look on DeDe Moore's face in the locker room as he celebrated.

DEDE MOORE IS DEEP into the fourth quarter now. While some afflicted with ALS live a normal life span, most lose their battle within 2-5 years. DeDe was diagnosed about five years ago.

"We'd like to find a doctor or doctors who are involved in stem cell research who want to take DeDe on as a patient," said Breland. "Things are getting critical."

DeDe was one of those guys who made the offense go at Washington State, but he probably isn't remembered as one of the headliners of those Cougar teams of the early 80s. At least not on the field.

Before he fully lost the ability to speak, Breland was telling DeDe about the golf fundraiser to be held in his honor. DeDe's eyes lit up. After a few tries, he was able to form the words and ask Breland a question.

What can I do to help?

Having given back so much to so many, unable to move and barely able to speak, DeDe Moore was still asking that same question.

"I couldn't believe it," said Breland. "And he was serious."

If you remember nothing else about DeDe, remember that.

John Breland calls it his fondest memory from his playing days, as Washington State (7-4) defeated Washington 17-6 in 1983 to knock the Huskies out of the Rose Bowl for the second straight year. LEFT TO RIGHT: Sam Burris, Mike James, John Breland, DeDe Moore, Kitrick Taylor and (kneeling), John Marshall

Moore Hope Foundation
16747 Magnolia Blvd.
Encino, CA 91436

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