New book of old columns tells story
of Coach Gus Moorhead
His grandson, Jared Roders,
compiles book on late coach
(December 2017) – Madison, Ind., and Ripley County high school alumni and basketball fans have the opportunity to relive their successful runs in high school basketball and reminisce about other Indiana basketball highlights in the words of William “Gus” Moorhead in a new book compiled and published by his grandson, 28-year-old Jared Rogers, and promoted by his son, 53-year-old Rob Moorhead.
“The Ol’ Coach Sez” is a compilation of highlights of 15 years of award-winning newspaper columns written by Coach Moorhead for the Versailles (Ind.) Republican Newspaper. Moorhead always wrote with a “conversational style that every basketball fan, young and old, will enjoy,” observed his son.
WORX Radio DJ Jordan Bear (center) poses with author Jared Rogers (left) and Moorhead’s son, Rob, following an on-air interview about the new book on Nov. 24.
Rogers remembers his grandfather, “Paw,” as a phenomenal storyteller. Growing up, he always enjoyed visits with “Paw” and grandmother, “Gigi.” Although Rogers had played basketball as a young athlete, in high school he focused on golf.
“Paw” was instrumental in developing Rogers’ skill and progress as a competitive golfer. Being calm under pressure and having cool confidence are essential to every athlete, he advised. Rogers found that “Paw” knew what he was talking about when he shared insights and advice from his years of coaching.
Later, when his grandfather’s health issues slowed him down, Rogers enjoyed spending time with the coach and listening to his stories. Rogers graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Exercise Physiology and moved to Chapel Hill, N.C. It was there he began writing a monthly health and wellness column for 97.9 WCHL, a local radio station. Soon he became hooked on writing.
Rogers recently moved back to Indiana, where he is now a reporter for the Ripley Publishing Co in Versailles. As a result of his interest in writing, his mom, Jane Rogers, showed him a box of clippings of her father’s newspaper columns titled, “the Ol’ Coach Sez” and “Double Dribbles.” The columns were written for Ripley Publishing Co. newspapers from 1991-2006. Writing was a “retirement job” for Coach Moorhead. His daughter saved about 250 of her favorites over the years. She said to her son, “There’s something here.”
Intrigued, Rogers researched all of the columns his grandfather had written. Reading those articles was just like listening to his grandfather tell those stories when Rogers was growing up.
Rogers focused on the “Indiana Basketball” themed columns and pulled those stories together with about 75 photos to compile the book.
While players from the Madison Dream Team of 1950 are older now, the lessons learned by those players are timeless. It was those lessons that Coach Moorhead taught his own players through the years. Many of the stories involve the annual trips to the Indiana High School Athletic Association tournaments. Coach Moorhead attended almost every tourney from 1944 through 2005. Those state tournament memories are a common theme of anticipation, challenge, exciting wins and crushing defeats – repeated each year.
Photo courtesy of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
Gus Moorhead is pictured above, both as a player and a principal and coach.
The premier release of the book, “The Ol’ Coach Sez: Essential Indiana Basketball Collection,” will be held at several local events in December. Rogers will be available to sign purchased copies of the book at the following events:
Rob Moorhead credits his nephew, Rogers, with having the vision to select and compile the newspaper columns into a book. Coach Moorhead always wanted to write a book. This is really his book, written one column per week over 15 years Some of the articles illustrate life in the 1940s and 1950s. At that time, fans of the Madison Cubs would walk over to the Inglis Drugstore to see the result of the annual Thanksgiving Day game between Madison and Scottsburg. Moffet Inglis would paint the score on his storefront window. Rob Moorhead said his father’s stories about the world and the game were just taken for granted as he was growing up. Those stories now live on as hi father’s legacy, following his death in 2008 at age 79. Rob Moorhead said he is grateful that MCHS and other venues are promoting the book.
n Saturday, Dec. 2, from 4-6 p.m. at the Versailles “Holiday on the Square” celebration.
n Friday, Dec. 8, at the Madison Consolidated High School lobby before and after the 7:30 p.m. Madison Cubs vs. South Dearborn basketball game (10 percent of the proceeds that night will be donated to the Madison Cubs Basketball program.)
n Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. - noon at the Tyson Library in Versailles,. Ind. (5 percent of proceeds from the Versailles events will be donated to the Ripley County Basketball Museum.)
n Monday, Dec. 11: Formal presentation at 6 p.m. at the Madison-Jefferson County Library in Madison. (Books to be signed are available to purchase at the G.H. Coffee Co. nearby before and after the event.)
The 222-page book is also available to purchase for $20 at select Madison shops, or it can be ordered from Amazon.com.
Moorhead was a very demonstrative and animated coach – sometimes to the point of kicking his folding chair, his son recalled. The Coach’s version of the story and the rebuttal of his mother, Mary Margaret Moorhead, are fond memories for son Rob Moorhead. Mary Margaret still resides in Madison.
After graduating high school in 1947, Moorhead played for Hanover College, where he graduated in 1951. He coached high school basketball for 15 years at Versailles and two more in consolidated South Ripley. After coaching, he served as principal of South Ripley High School for 23 years until his retirement in July 1991. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.
The younger Moorhead was a talented basketball player himself, both in high school and at Hanover College. His own basketball highlights include having his father watch him progress from a player to a coach. Furthermore, he followed his father’s footsteps as a teacher, principal and administrator. Today, Rob Moorhead is the superintendent of South Ripley Community School Corp.
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