Turning Point: Program's builder wasn't finalist for the job


Center Grove coach Eric Moore during the Trojans sectional championship victory over Columbus North Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, at Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Indiana. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

Every tradition has its starting point.

For Center Grove’s football program, it began one spring day in 1999 when Eric Moore, then 37, sat atop the hill near the southwest corner of the school’s football stadium pondering his future.

He was a divorced father of two coaching in Florida, his children having moved with their mother to Columbus a year earlier.

Moore yearned to be closer to them. He envisioned both this and installing his philosophies into a football program with one sectional championship to its credit.

Seven sectional and regional titles, two semistate crowns and one Class 5A state championship later, it’s safe to say what was and what is are drastically different.

Moore understood the Trojans’ program was a sleeping giant that, if awakened, could contend with the big boys on a consistent basis. With Center Grove part of the newly formed Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference that includes Carmel, Warren Central and Ben Davis, among others, it’s not like he had a choice.

“When I was coaching in Florida, Cam Cameron, who was the coach at Indiana (University) at the time and my teammate at IU, would always come by my school,” said Moore, then head coach at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, Fla., 100 miles south of Tampa.

Through Cameron, Moore would occasionally hear of job openings in and around central Indiana. Moore even interviewed at Lawrence North High School — “for about 12 seconds,” he said. That job eventually, and somewhat ironically, went to Kevin King, head football coach at Center Grove from 1991-98. King left Center Grove to accept the Lawrence North position.

When the Trojans’ position opened, 53 applications reached the desk of athletics director Jon Zwitt. Moore’s was among them.

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