You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who loves Gallatin High School more than Randy Moore.
Affectionately known around town as Moonpie, this 1974 graduate was awarded Most School Spirit his senior year and has always kept Gallatin close to his heart. It is where he raised his family, where he has served his community, and will always be the place he calls home.
However, the question looms, who is Moonpie, how did he get his nickname, and how did a Trousdale County boy turn into a Green and Gold man? To find that answer, you would need to go back to the fall of 1969.
He’s as happy as a Moonpie
Randy Moore grew up in Trousdale County, supporting the Yellow Jackets as a kid.
The love for competition was injected into his veins at an early age, always playing pick up games with his big family on the weekends.
His uncle decided to take him on a road trip to Gallatin to see their Yellow Jackets try and take down a physical Coach Jim Barron led football team one Friday night in 1969.
“I gravitated towards them because they (Trousdale County) were one of the best programs in the state. The atmosphere for home games was great, and it drew me in as a kid.”
What Moonpie did not realize was that car ride would be his last as a Yellow Jacket faithful.
Gallatin defeated Hartsville 28-18 that night, and while they were happy with the victory, what they didn’t know was they had just gained one of the most faithful fans their program will ever see.
“I was so impressed with the crowd that night,” he said. “I always knew Harstville was well-supported, but it was like Trousdale County on steroids when I saw Gallatin that night. It opened my eyes.”
Moonpie and his family packed their bags soon after that game and moved to Gallatin while he was in middle school. He decided he would try out for the football team once his sophomore season rolled around. The major problem with that was he had never played.
After tryouts, coach Barron called in 30 players into his office to break the news that they were further behind than Barron would like.
“He was candid with us and told us we were all behind for different reasons,” he recalled. “I respected him for telling us that upfront. He told us he would not cut any of us, but he wanted us to go home that night and come back Monday to talk with us individually to see if we decided we wanted to stay on the team or not.”
To Moonpie’s surprise, Barron asked him to hang back after everyone had left to have a personal conversation with him.
“He told me that he did not want me to leave the team regardless of what I decided to do. He told me I had the gift of leadership, and he needed that on his team.”
Moonpie went home that evening and thought about what Barron told him, and when he came back Monday, he was honest with himself and coach.
“I am far behind these guys, so how can I help?” “He told me he wanted me to relate to the players, so I started my role as manager, and I would say it worked out well for the next 23 years.”
Moore recalls walking back to the locker room one day where the varsity player was watching film, and as he walked through a former player shouted, ‘He’s as happy as a moonpie,’ and the name stuck.
The next day in the hallways, Moore was greeted with, ‘Hey, Moon’ or “How ya doing, Pie.” The rest was history.
Motivate, inspire, lead
Over two decades, Moonpie saw three state football championships, 16 seasons of either 9-1 or 10-0, three football state runner-up finishes, and one boys' basketball state championship.
“My job was to motivate the (football) team,” he said. “Motivation and enthusiasm are my gifts, and I felt like no one was better than us when we hit the field.”
Calvin Short inherited Moonpie when he came to Gallatin in 1976 to take over as head coach for Jim Barron, as Moore served as head manager. Short describes Moore as the like the 12th man at Texas A&M.
“He was an extra coach for us, an extra motivator and a guy who always knew what to say and when to say it,” Short said. “He would make these poster boards and write notes on them to the team, and the kids looked forward to that every Thursday or Friday. It is even bigger now looking back on it, and to be honest, the coaches looked forward to reading those posters. He truly inspired everyone.”
Moore would make anywhere between 8-12 posters per game to hang in the locker rooms, use old newspaper articles, anything he could get his hands on for motivation.
“If we lost to a team, I would drive back to their town and get a paper to see what they said about beating Gallatin in case we played them again in the playoffs (to use as motivation). I could relate to them, and they would tell me things they couldn’t tell the coaches. It was a pretty cool experience.”
For all that he gave Gallatin, Moonpie says Gallatin gave him so much more. Gallatin gave him an identity, a purpose, and motivation to become the person he is today.
“It’s funny, when you get a nickname like Moonpie as a kid you think how they come up with that and it aggravates you at first,” Moore said. “But that was my identity. It gave me a purpose. When you come from a broken home where you weren’t the most popular person, and you move around a lot, you get that identity all because coach Barron sat me down and gave me a purpose. Gallatin gave me much more than I could ever give them.”
Moonpie ended up leaving Gallatin High School with coach Short in 1993, deciding to spend more time with his wife and son.
“When that next season rolled around, and I wasn’t on the sideline, it hit me - it was hard,” he said.
Moonpie’s biggest honor
While Moonpie can bask in the three-state championship victories or the countless victories over Gallatin’s arch-rival, it was being chosen as pallbearer that will always be his greatest Green and Gold honor.
When Jim Barron passed away in 2009, Moore was the only non-player named a pallbearer.
“That was a huge honor for me,” he said. “Both Barron and Short are very important to me, but for different reasons. Coach Barron was a father figure for me - my stabilizing factor when I had no stability. He gave me a purpose.”
When Barron was diagnosed with cancer, he would still visit Moore at his house, sitting outside and talking about life. The two grew even closer during those moments.
“Seeing him before he passed was tough. The last time I saw him, he looked at me, held his hand out, and he told me he loved me, and he always had. I told him I didn’t know where I would be in life without our paths crossing, and he told me he felt the same way.”
Barron passed away shortly after.
Moonpie adds one of the great things about Barron was he didn’t see color, and that showed on the day of his funeral as he had four white and four black pallbearers.
“I believe it was Mr. Hosier who said it was a who’s who of Gallatin High School. I felt out of place, but it was an honor and I am so thankful for that.”
Gallatin High School Hall of Fame
For those around Gallatin High School at the same time as Moonpie, it is a no-brainer they think he deserves to be in the school Hall of Fame. For Moore, he wants that decision to be made by the school only if they feel he is deserving.
“I would be honored, but would it be the end all be all if I don’t get in? No. I had a different role in giving back, and I understand that. I bleed Green and Gold, so would I like to be in the Hall of Fame? Of course, but either way, I am okay.”
Rob Hosier describes him as an icon and one that deserves to be in the Gallatin High School Hall of Fame.
“His legacy with Gallatin is ongoing. He is as loyal as a person, supporter, and friend, you will find anywhere. The heroes of this town are the football players and coaches, and I would put him in the same category as Jim Barron, Calvin Short, and those people. That should tell you something. He is well-deserving of that honor.” he said.
Former head coach Calvin Short concurs, adding that Moonpie means everything to him and his family.
“We are still really close to this very day,” Short said. “He did all those great things but never overstepped his bounds; he always kept the right perspective. Hindsight is 20/20, and I look back on those days and recognize how amazing they were. At the time, I didn’t appreciate it as I should have, but the things he did for us were unbelievable.
“If anyone deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, it is him,” Short continued. “Nobody has had a greater impact over the number of years in that program than him. The great thing about it is he did all of this because he loves Gallatin High School.”
Jerry Vrandenburg adds to Hosier and Short’s praise of Moonpie being in the Hall of Fame, saying there is no question he needs to be inducted.
“You don’t find many fans and supporters like him,” he said. “He would be in my mind amongst the best of them. What he has done for Gallatin, and what he continues to do is remarkable. He is Green Wave all the way.”
As great of a supporter as Moonpie has been for Vradenburg, he adds that he is an even better person.
“One thing about Moonpie is he always has a smile on his face and is in a good mood. I was amazed at the things he did for Gallatin, and the best part was he did it all out of love in his heart. I am thankful for him.”
Randy “Moonpie” Moore currently works as an Advertising Consultant for the Gallatin News. You can find him at the Wave Yard on Friday nights and delivering newspapers around town Wednesday nights and Thursday mornings. You can also revisit the glory years from his days at Gallatin each week with his Moonpie Memories trivia questions.