December 10, 2014
by Kevin Gorman
Wrestling lost a legend with the death of Ty Moore.
I lost a cousin.
Ty, a four-time PIAA champion from North Allegheny, was one of the greatest high school wrestlers ever. And not just in the WPIAL or even the state.
In 2005, Intermat Wrestling named Ty one of the best high school wrestlers of the past 20 years. Ty is a member of the WPIAL Hall of Fame, inducted in 2009 as a member of North Allegheny’s national championship team and a year later for his individual accomplishments: Setting a then-WPIAL record with 146 wins and only one loss at North Allegheny and a PIAA record for most career pins with 113, including 34 in 1990.
For me, however, Ty was the kid who always won the egg toss contest at the family picnic. Long before Ty became a household name in wrestling circles, he was just a fun-loving kid with a wicked smile who I saw every summer at the Moore family reunion. His father, Jack Moore, and my mother, Mary Catherine (Moore) Gorman, were first cousins. That made Ty my third cousin, twice removed. But, really, who was counting?
Cousins are cousins, and he was family.
Ty and his younger brother Teague Moore could toss eggs to each other from 20 yards away, cupping their hands to catch them without a crack. We were always amazed at the agility of these tiny, muscle-bound kids. We knew they were wrestlers. And good ones, too, because Ty would sometimes miss the picnic while traveling to faraway places like Turkey for an international tournament. But I had no idea how dominant Ty was until his freshman year at North Allegheny, when I saw his name atop the 98-pound rankings.
“Hey, that’s funny,” I told my mother. “He has the same name as my cousin.”
Imagine my astonishment when she replied, “That is your cousin.”
That was always a source of pride in my family, as well as in my profession. The mere mention of being related to Ty and Tigger Moore brought smiles to our faces and instant credibility to a conversation, even though I haven’t watched much high school wrestling, let alone cover the sport, and my knowledge of it is fairly basic. After an absolutely dominant high school career, Ty surprised many by spurning some of the nation’s top programs to attend North Carolina, where his 80-31-2 record, including 26 pins, was viewed as disappointing.
Even so, he was always respected by his opponents…
…as well as the wrestler who broke his record for most victories:
In the fall of 1996, I spent some time with Ty while he was living with his sister in Dallas and I was an intern at the Dallas Morning News. He confided that he was going through a bit of an identity crisis now that his wrestling career was over. After a lifetime of being Ty Moore, Wrestler, he was just another college graduate looking for a job. Imagine that feeling, of worrying that you might have reached your peak in your teenage years and what it must be like to try to recapture that euphoria of being the best at what you do.
But Ty took great pride in the success of Teague, who won three WPIAL titles, a state title at North Allegheny, an NCAA title at Oklahoma State, finished third in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials and now is the head coach at American University. Ty and Ray Brinzer , his former teammate and good friend, founded the Angry Fish Wrestling Club, which produced a handful of NCAA champions.
The sign of a great coach:
I was stunned to learn of Ty’s sudden death. My first thoughts turned to his mother, Pat, always quick with a smile and so proud of her kids (you can see both while holding his trophy in the highlight video); and to Tigger, who shared the sad news on social media, calling Ty “a mentor to many” and “my idol.”
Ty Moore, my cousin first and a wrestling legend second, is gone from us far too soon.
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