Fenwick’s Jordan Rucker runs the ball during their football game against St. Francis DeSales Friday, Sept. 27 at Bishop Fenwick High School. St. Francis DeSales won 42-22. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Meet Fenwick’s new football coach, a longtime assistant who also coaches softball

George Moore didn’t necessarily feel like he needed to become a head football coach to accomplish his goals, but when the opening arose once again at Fenwick High School, he knew he needed to step up and apply.

The Falcons were looking for their third new coach in four years after Dan Haverkamp resigned in November to follow his wife’s career path to Texas. Haverkamp replaced John Aregood after one year as interim coach and went 14-8 in two seasons.

Moore, who has spent most of the last decade as an assistant for the Falcons, wanted to give the players some consistency, and Fenwick athletic director Michael Coleman agreed he was the best for the job. He was hired in late December.

“I wanted the kids to have consistency and someone that would be there long-term,” Moore said. “I don’t have to be head coach to feel satisfied in what I’m doing, but I love the kids and wanted what’s best for them.”

Moore, 42, first came to Fenwick in 2011 as an assistant for the freshman team, but left in 2013 to join Lockland’s varsity staff. He returned to the Falcons the next year as a varsity assistant and became defensive coordinator in 2015, a position he’s held ever since under three different coaches.

When Joe Snively left unexpectedly in May 2017, Aregood stepped in as interim coach but Moore said he would have applied then if the job was open. He did apply the next time around when Haverkamp was hired but was encouraged to re-apply if the job came up again.

Coleman said he was glad Moore didn’t give up on the idea.

“Sometimes it’s tough when you get a ‘no,’ but I told him to stay in the hunt,” Coleman said. “We value coaches that put time into the program and he’s had a successful history, worked under four good head coaches, so he knows football. We knew going in we wanted to use him as a benchmark. Through the process, he continued to hold his own and stand out, and he showed he was ready to take over the program. When it came down to it, we felt across the board what he was able to bring to the table was more valuable than what any other candidate could bring us. He was the best fit.”

Moore, who works for the Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities, went to Roger Bacon High School for two years before graduating from Elder and went away for college but returned to the area in 2000. He and his wife, Heather, have three kids, including a daughter who graduated from Fenwick last year and a son who is a junior there now.

This is Moore’s first head coaching job in football, but he’s been Fenwick’s head softball coach since 2015, a position he will continue in this spring before potentially passing the torch to someone else next year. The Falcons are coming off back-to-back league softball titles under Moore. He also was a head wrestling coach at North College Hill prior to his time at Fenwick.

“Quietly George has been building his resumé and earning this all along, and he’s been patient and always kept Fenwick and the student-athletes as the center of his focus,” Coleman said. “He’s done well with softball, so he knows how to run a program, and he’s been in a major role with football as a defensive coordinator. He was ready. I was more than happy to see him rise up through the process.”

The Fenwick football team went 5-5 last year after a 9-3 finish in 2018, but Moore said the program is in good shape with several young players set to return, including seven starters on defense. He hasn’t put together his coaching staff yet but wants to have a well-balanced team that plays fast and physical.

Defense won’t be his only focus, despite that being his background. He hopes to marry the spread offense Haverkamp ran with the Wing-T that his first head coach at Fenwick, Fred Cranford, used.

“In 2015 – I will forever reference that because that was the best team I’ve ever been a part of – we were very defense focused and we had probably the best defense in the state, but we struggled some offensively and that cost us in the state semifinals,” Moore said. “I don’t feel I can be a defense-focused coach and put the offense in jeopardy. We have to be balanced, run a balanced attack and be as aggressive as we can on both sides of the ball.

“I think we’re in pretty good position. We were young last year, and I think we were better than a 5-5 record showed us to be, so I hope to be able to build on that. I look forward to the opportunity.”

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